History of fingerprints

History of fingerprints

The history of fingerprints dates back thousands of years. Ancient civilizations such as the Babylonians, Chinese, and Indians used fingerprints for identification purposes. In Babylon, fingerprints were used on clay tablets for business transactions, while in China, fingerprints were used for official seals.

However, the modern history of fingerprints began in the late 19th century with the work of Sir Francis Galton, a British scientist and cousin of Charles Darwin. Galton studied fingerprints and developed the first classification system for them based on their unique characteristics. He also argued that fingerprints were an infallible means of identification.

In 1892, Juan Vucetich, an Argentine police official, used fingerprints to solve a murder case. He lifted a bloody fingerprint from a doorpost at the crime scene and compared it to the prints of the suspects, ultimately leading to the conviction of the killer.

The use of fingerprints for identification purposes gained widespread acceptance in the early 20th century, particularly in law enforcement. In 1901, the first fingerprint bureau was established in Bengal, India, followed by similar bureaus in Scotland Yard in London, England, and New York City, United States.

Today, fingerprints are used for a variety of purposes beyond law enforcement, including border control, employment background checks, and as a means of personal identification for mobile devices. The science of fingerprint analysis continues to advance, with new techniques and technologies being developed for better accuracy and more efficient processing of large numbers of prints.