The History of Forensics (Late 1800s to Early 2000s)

Events

Crime scene Photography

1888

Early cameras were utilized by crime scene investigators to photograph scenes. Although setting a camera up took long periods of time, it was important to record your work. This led to public involvement with crime and newspapers posting wanted ads and mugshots.

Fingerprinting

1892 - 1896

Sir Francis Galton establishes the first system for classifying prints. Sir Edward Henry develops a more detailed system using direction, flow, and pattern, of the print.

Blood Identification

1901

The Uhlenhuth test is invented by Paul Uhlenhuth to determine what blood belongs to what species. To do this, he used a technique to identify antibodies. With this test, Karl Landsteiner was able to identify and establish different blood types.

First Crime Lab

1910

The first crime lab is created by Edmond Locard. It is in an attic above a courthouse and the environment is controlled. Because of this, Locard discovers that a criminal will always leave a trace of themselves on the scene by examining fibres, hair, and dust.

Bullet Identification

1920 - 1929

Calvin Goddard creates a microscope in order to determine which bullet comes from which shell casing

Blood Identifcation

1960 - 1969

Scientists can use blood types to narrow down who committed a crime. They could determine which blood type was not involved and from class evidence with the resulting answer.

Bullet Identification

1970 - 1979

A team of scientists from Aerospace Corporation in California develop a method for detecting gunshot residue using electron microscopes.

Body Farm

1971

William Bass creates a body farm at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The farm uses cadavers in different environments to study how the body decomposes. From that, we can learn the different stages of decomposition.

DNA Screening

1987

The first criminal, Colin Pitchfork, became the first to be convicted of a crime with the use of DNA. He is a rapist and murderer and was convicted because of DNA fingerprints and the first result from mass DNA screening.

Computer Reconstruction

2000

Computer graphics are able to create images to clarify the events of a crime to a jury. They are able to create crime scenes, automobile accidents, and bullet trajectories virtually, but these ways are labeled misleading.