History of Forensics

Events

First Use of Forensic Science

Approx. 201 - 300

Chinese death investigator examines a burning down of a house, through a scientific experiment of burning already dead bodies and alive bodies (pigs).

Inheritance Powder

1775

Carl W. Scheele, Swedish chemist, devised a way to detect "inheritance powder," or arsenic, usually used to kill for the inheritance money.=

Inheritance Powder Improved

1806

German scientist Valentin Ross discovers a more precise way to detect Arsenic.

The "Father of Forensic Toxicology"

1814

Spanish scientist Mathieu Orilla published article on detection of poisons and 
effects.

Polarizing microscope invented

1828

First use of toxicological evidence in criminal trial

1839

First microscopic detection of sperm

1839

Photography

1850 - 1860

Photography was created, making forensic science easier, as scenes were easier to save.

First presumptive test for blood

1863

Bertillon's System Created

1879

French scientist, Alphonse Bertillon creates a system for identifying people by physical appearance.

Sherlock Holmes

1887 - 1893

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle publishes the crime investigator book series, Sherlock Holmes. Many of the methods of the book are used in actual forensic science.

Jack the Ripper

1888

Serial killer "Jack the Ripper" terrorizes London. He was never caught.

First book of criminal investigation using forensic science

1893

"Criminal Investigation" by Austrian, Hans Gross published.

ABO blood typing

1901

Discovered by Karl Landsteiner

The "Father of Modern Microscopy"

1901 - 2000

Walter McCrone

Will West Case

1903

A case where there was a misidentification of a person (Will West) through the Bertillon System. Caused the end of the system.

"Questioned Documents"

1910

Handwriting analysis, published by Albert Osborn.

Locard's Exchange Principle

1913

The fundamentals of forensics. States that when 2 objects come into contact, there is an exchange of materials.

Los Angeles PD Crime Lab

1923

First U.S. crime lab.

University of California at Berkeley Criminalistics  Department

1930

FBI National Laboratory

1932

Opens under Director J. Edgar Hoover

FBI Forensic Science Research & Training Center opens

1981