Francis Galton.

Supplementary chapter to 'Finger prints'. Decipherment of blurred finger prints online

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Online LibraryFrancis GaltonSupplementary chapter to 'Finger prints'. Decipherment of blurred finger prints → online text (page 1 of 16)
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Distinction between creases and ridges 1

Origin of the inquiry 2

Summaries of the subsequent chapters 3-21

Viz. of ii., 3; iii., 4; iv., 5;
v., 5; vi., 8; vii., 10;
viii., 12; ix., 13; x., 14;
xi., 16; xii., 17; xiii., 19;



Superstition of personal contact 22

Rude hand-prints 23

Seals to documents 23

Chinese finger marks 24

The _tipsahi_ of Bengal 24

Nail-marks on Assyrian bricks 25

Nail-mark on Chinese coins 25

Ridges and cheiromancy - China, Japan, and by negroes 26

Modern usage - Bewick, Fauld, Tabor, and G. Thompson 26

Their official use by Sir W. J. Herschel 27



Impression on polished glass or razor 30

The two contrasted methods of printing 31

General remarks on printing from reliefs - ink; low relief
of ridges; layer of ink; drying due to oxidisation 32-34

Apparatus at my own laboratory - slab; roller; benzole
(or equivalent); funnel; ink; cards 35-38

Method of its manipulation 38-40

Pocket apparatus 40

Rollers and their manufacture 40

Other parts of the apparatus 41

Folders - long serviceable if air be excluded 42

Lithography 43

Water colours and dyes 44

Sir W. Herschel's official instructions 45

Printing as from engraved plates - Prof. Ray Lankester;
Dr. L. Robinson 45

Methods of Dr. Forgeot 46

Smoke prints - mica; adhesive paper, by licking with tongue 47-48

Plumbago; whitening 49

Casts - sealing-wax; dentist's wax; gutta-percha; undried
varnish; collodion 49-51

Photographs 51

Prints on glass and mica for lantern 51

Enlargements - photographic, by camera lucida, pantagraph 52-53



General character of the ridges 54

Systems on the palm - principal ones; small interpolated
systems 54-55

Cheiromantic creases - their directions; do not strictly
correspond with those of ridges 56-57

Ridges on the soles of the feet 57

Pores 57

Development: - embryology; subsequent growth; disintegration
by age, by injuries 58-59

Evolution 60

Apparent use as regards pressure - theoretic; experiment
with compass points 60-61

Apparent use as regards rubbing - thrill thereby occasioned 62-63



My earlier failures in classifying prints; their causes 64-66

The triangular plots 67

Outlines of patterns - eight sets of ten digits given as
examples 69-70

Supplies of ridges to pattern 71

Letters that read alike when reversed 71

Magnifying glasses, spectacles, etc. 72

Rolled impressions, their importance 73

Standard patterns, cores, and their nomenclature 74-77

Direction of twist, nomenclature 78

Arches, loops, whorls 78

Transitional cases 79

The nine genera 80

Measurements - by ridge-intervals; by aid of bearings like
compass 82-84

Purkenje - his _Commentatio_ and a translation of it in part 84-88



Evidence available 89

About thirty-five points of reference in each print 90

Photo-enlargement; orientation; tracing axes of ridges 90-91

Ambiguities in minutiæ 91

V. H. Hd. as child and boy, a solitary change in one of
the minutiæ 92

Eight couplets from other persons 93

One from Sir W. G. 95

Summary of 389 comparisons 96

Ball of a thumb 96

Results as to persistence 97



Method of rough comparison 100

Chance against guessing a pattern 101

Number of independent elements in a print - squares
respectively of one, six, and five ridge-intervals in
side 101-103

Interpolation, three methods of 103-105

Local accidents inside square 107

Uncertainties outside it 109

Compound results 110

Effect of failure in one, two, or more prints 111

Final conclusions - Jezebel 112-113



Frequency per cent of arches, loops, and whorls
generally, and on the several digits 114-115

Characteristic groups of digits 116-118

Relationships between the digits 119

Centesimal scale of relationship 124-126

Digits of same and of different names 130



Use of an index 131

Method of few conspicuous differences in many fingers 131

Specimen index 133

Order in which the digits are noted 134

Examples of indexing 135

Effect of regarding slopes 135

Number of index-heads required for 100 sets in each of
twelve different methods 136-138

_i_ and _o_ in forefingers only 138

List of commonest index-headings 140

Number of headings to 100 sets, according to the digits
that are noted 142

Transitional cases; sub-classifications 143-144

Symbols for patterns 144

Storing cards 145

Number of entries under each head when only the first
three fingers are noted 146



Printers and photographers 147

Use of means of identification to honest persons; in
regard to criminals 148-149

Major Ferris, Mr. Tabor, N. Borneo 149-153

Best digits for registration purposes 153

Registration of criminals - M. Bertillon 154

Details of _Bertillonage_; success attributed to it; a
theoretic error 155-158

Verification on a small scale 158-162

Experiences in the United States 163

Body marks; teeth 165-166

Value of finger prints for search in a register 166

Identification by comparison 167

Remarks by M. Herbette 168



Different opinions 170

Larger meaning of heredity 170

Connection between filial and fraternal relationships 171

Fraternity, a faulty word but the best available 171

A and B brothers 172

Test case of calculated randoms 173

Fraternities by double A. L. W. events 175

The C. standard patterns 177

Limitation of couplets in large fraternities 178

Test of accurate classification 179

Fraternities by double C. events 181

Centesimal scale applied 184

Twins 185

Children of like-patterned parents 187

Simple filial relationship 190

Influences of father and mother 190



Data for races 192

Racial differences are statistical only 193

Calculations by Mr. F. H. Collins 193

Hebrew peculiarities 194

Negro peculiarities, questionable 196

Data for different classes in temperament, faculty, etc.,
and results 197

M. Féré 197



Type, meaning of 198

Law of frequency of error 198

Discussion of three elements in the loops on either thumb 200-207

Proportions of typical loops 209

The patterns are transmitted under conditions of panmixia,
yet do not blend 209

Their genera are not due to selection; inference 210

Sports; variations 211



Summary of evidence in favour of finger marks being persistent 96

Interpolation of ridges 104

I. Percentage frequency of Arches, Loops, and Whorls on the
different digits, as observed in the 5000 digits of 500
different persons 115

II. Distribution of the A. L. W. patterns on the corresponding
digits of the two hands 116

III. Percentage frequency of Arches on the digits of the two
hands 117

IV. Percentage frequency of Loops on the digits of the two hands 118

V. Percentage frequency of Whorls on the digits of the two hands 118

VI_a_. Percentage of cases in which the same class of pattern
occurs in the same digits of the two hands 120

VI_b_. Percentage of cases in which the same class of pattern
occurs in various couplets of different digits 120

VII. Couplets of fingers of different names in the same and in
the opposite hands 121

VIII. Measures of relationship between the digits on a
centesimal scale 129

IX. Index to 100 sets of finger prints 133

X. Number of different index-heads in 100 sets, according to
the number of digits noted 136

XI. Number of entries under the same heads in 100 sets 139

XII. Index-headings under which more than 1 per cent of the
sets were registered in 500 sets 140

XIII. Percentage of entries falling under a single head in 100,
300, and 500 sets 141

XIV. Number of different index-headings in 100 sets, according
to the number of fingers in each set, and to the method of
indexing 142

XV. Number of entries in 500 sets, each of the fore, middle,
and ring-fingers only 146

XVI. Number of cases of various anthropometric data that
severally fell in the three classes of large, medium, and
small, when certain limiting values were adopted 159

XVII. Distribution of 500 sets of measures, each set consisting
of five elements, into classes 160

XVIII. Number of the above sets that fell under the same
headings 161

XIX. Further analysis of the two headings that contained the
most numerous entries 162

XX. Observed random couplets 174

XXI. Calculated random couplets 174

XXII. Observed fraternal couplets 175

XXIII. Fraternal couplets - random, observed, and utmost
feasible 176

XXIV. Three fingers of right hand in 150 fraternal couplets 181

XXV. Three fingers of right hand in 150 fraternal couplets -
random and observed 182

XXVI. Three fingers of right hand in 150 fraternal couplets -
resemblance measured on centesimal scale 182

XXVII. Twins 186

XXVIII. Children of like-patterned parents 188

XXIX. Paternal and maternal influence 190

XXX. Different races, percentage frequency of arches in
fore-finger 194

XXXI. Distribution of number of ridges in AH, and of other
measures in loops 203

XXXII. Ordinates to their schemes of distribution 204

XXXIII. Comparison of the above with calculated values 205

XXXIV. Proportions of a typical loop on the right and left
thumbs respectively 209



I. - Fig. 1. Chinese coin with the symbol of the nail-mark of
the Empress Wen-teh 25

Fig. 2. Order on a camp sutler by Mr. Gilbert Thompson, who
used his finger print for the same purpose as the scroll-work
in cheques, viz. to ensure the detection of erasures 27

II. - Fig. 3. Form of card used at my anthropometric laboratory
for finger prints. It shows the places where they are severally
impressed, whether dabbed or rolled (p. 40), and the hole by
which they are secured in their box 145

Fig. 4. Small printing roller, used in the pocket apparatus,
actual size. It may be covered either with india-rubber tubing
or with roller composition 40

III. - Fig. 5. Diagram of the chief peculiarities of ridges,
called here _minutiæ_ (the scale is about eight times the
natural size) 54

Fig. 6. The systems of ridges and the creases in the palm,
indicated respectively by continuous and by dotted lines. Nos.
2, 3, 4, and 5 show variations in the boundaries of the systems
of ridges, and places where smaller systems are sometimes
interpolated 54

IV. - Fig. 7. The effects of scars and cuts on the ridges: _a_
is the result of a deep ulcer; _b_ the finger of a tailor
(temporarily) scarred by the needle; _c_ the result of a deep
cut 59

Fig. 8. Formation of the interspace: filled in (3) by a loop;
in (4) by a scroll. The triangular plot or plots are indicated.
In (1) there is no interspace, but a succession of arches are
formed, gradually flattening into straight lines 67

V. - Fig. 9. Specimens of rolled thumb prints, of the natural
size, in which the patterns have been outlined, p. 69, and on
which lines have been drawn for orientation and charting 68

VI. - Fig. 10. Specimens of the outlines of the patterns on the
ten digits of eight different persons, not selected but taken
as they came. Its object is to give a general idea of the degree
of their variety. The supply of ridges from the _inner_ (or
thumb side) are coloured blue, those from the _outer_ are red
(the scale is of the natural size) 70

VII. - Fig. 11. Standard patterns of Arches, together with some
transitional forms, all with their names below 75

Fig. 12. As above, with respect to Loops 75

VIII. - Fig. 13. As above, with respect to Whorls 75

Fig. 14. Cores to Loops, which may consist either of single
lines, here called _rods_, or of a recurved line or _staple_,
while the ridges that immediately envelops them is called an
_envelope_ 76

Fig. 15. Cores to Whorls 77

IX. - Fig. 15. Transitional patterns, enlarged three times,
between Arches and either Loops or Whorls 79

X. - Fig. 16. Transitional patterns, as above, but between Loops
and Whorls 79

XI. - Fig. 17. Diagram showing the nine genera formed by the
corresponding combinations of the two letters by which they are
expressed, each being _i_, _j_, or _o_ as the case may be. The
first two diagrams are Arches, and not strictly patterns at all,
but may with some justice be symbolised by _jj_ 80

Fig. 18. Ambiguities in minutiæ, showing that certain details in
them are not to be trusted, while others are 92

XII. - Fig. 19. The illustrations to Purkenje's _Commentatio_.
They are photo-lithographed from the original, which is not
clearly printed 86

XIII. - Fig. 20. Enlarged impressions of the same two fingers
of V. H. Hd., first when a child of 2-1/2, and subsequently when
a boy of 15 years of age. The lower pair are interesting from
containing the unique case of failure of exact coincidence yet
observed. It is marked A. The numerals indicate the
correspondences 92

XIV. - Fig. 21. Contains portions on an enlarged scale of eight
couplets of finger prints, the first print in each couplet
having been taken many years before the second, as shown by the
attached dates. The points of correspondence in each couplet are
indicated by similar numerals 93

XV. - Fig. 22. The fore-finger of Sir W. J. Herschel as printed
on two occasions, many years apart (enlarged scale). The numerals
are here inserted on a plan that has the merit of clearness, but
some of the lineations are thereby sacrificed 95

Fig. 23. Shows the periods of life over which the evidence of
identity extends in Figs 20-22. [By an oversight, not perceived
until too late for remedy, the bottom line begins at æt. 62
instead of 67] 97



The palms of the hands and the soles of the feet are covered with two
totally distinct classes of marks. The most conspicuous are the creases or
folds of the skin which interest the followers of palmistry, but which are
no more significant to others than the creases in old clothes; they show
the lines of most frequent flexure, and nothing more. The least
conspicuous marks, but the most numerous by far, are the so-called
papillary ridges; they form the subject of the present book. If they had
been only twice as large as they are, they would have attracted general
attention and been commented on from the earliest times. Had Dean Swift
known and thought of them, when writing about the Brobdingnags, whom he
constructs on a scale twelve times as great as our own, he would certainly
have made Gulliver express horror at the ribbed fingers of the giants who
handled him. The ridges on their palms would have been as broad as the
thongs of our coach-whips.

Let no one despise the ridges on account of their smallness, for they are
in some respects the most important of all anthropological data. We shall
see that they form patterns, considerable in size and of a curious variety
of shape, whose boundaries can be firmly outlined, and which are little
worlds in themselves. They have the unique merit of retaining all their
peculiarities unchanged throughout life, and afford in consequence an

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Online LibraryFrancis GaltonSupplementary chapter to 'Finger prints'. Decipherment of blurred finger prints → online text (page 1 of 16)