Saturday, January 17, 2009

- Sir Hershel -1858 .

Sir William Herschel, Chief Magistrate of the Hooghly

district in Jungipoor, India, first used fingerprints on

native contracts.

On a whim, and with no thought toward personal

identification, Herschel had Rajyadhar Konai, a local

businessman, impress his hand print on a contract.

The idea was merely "... to frighten [him] out of

all thought of repudiating his signature." The native was

suitably impressed,

and Herschel made a habit of requiring palm prints

--and later, simply the prints of the right Index and

Middle fingers--on every contract made with the locals.

Personal contact with the document,

they believed, made the contract more

binding than if they simply signed it.

Thus, the first wide-scale, modern-day use

of fingerprints was predicated,

not upon scientific evidence,

but upon superstitious beliefs.

As his fingerprint collection grew,

however, Herschel began

to note that the inked impressions could,

indeed, prove or disprove identity.

While his experience with fingerprinting was

admittedly limited, Sir Herschel's private

conviction that all fingerprints were

unique to the individual, as well as permanent

throughout that individual's life,

inspired him to expand their use.

Source here....

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