Small sliding compass, for criminal identification system, Paris, France, 1880-1885

Made:
1880-1885 in France
maker:
Unknown

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Small sliding compass (Petit compas a glissiere) for the measurement of the length and breadth of the ear in Bertillon's anthropometrical criminal identification system, perhaps Bertillon's own, from the Identification Bureau of the Paris Prefecture of Police, c. 1883

Made from brass, this instrument was used to measure the length and the breadth of the ear, as part of measurements taken from criminals by the Identification Bureau at the Prefecture of Police in Paris, France. It is thought to have been owned by Alphonse Bertillon (1853-1914), the chief of criminal identification for the Parisian police.

Bertillon aimed to create a system to identify criminals, using photography and measurements to build up an accurate picture of their faces. These techniques were largely replaced by the use of fingerprinting.

Related people

Details

Category:
Psychology, Psychiatry & Anthropometry
Identifier:
A683199
type:
anthropometrical measure
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • anthropometric equipment
credit:
Sannie
status:
Loan: Wellcome Trust

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