This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers.

The Henry Classification System for Fingerprint Identification

downloadDownload printPrint

Remember! This is just a sample.

You can get your custom paper by one of our expert writers.

Get custom essay

121 writers online


The earliest form of Biometrics looked on the act back in the 1800’s. Alphonse Bertillon, a Parisian anthropologist and police department desk worker, established a method for recognizing criminals that became known as Bertillonage. Bertillonage was a form of anthropometry, a organization by which dimensions of the body are taken for classification and evaluation purposes. Bertillon’s system of anthropometry required numerous and exact dimensions of the skinny parts of a human’s structure for identification. It also involved recording shapes of the body in relative to activities and difference patterns on the surface of the body such as scars, birth marks, tattoos, etc. Bertillon estimated that the chances of matching histories were 286,435,456 to 1 if 14 characters were used. This was the main structure of criminal identification used throughout the 19th period.

Bertillon’s system of identification was not without fault. For example, it relied heavily on precise measurements for identification purposes, and yet two people working on measurements for the same person would record different findings. The measurements taken were also only thought to be unique and accurate in adulthood. Therefore, someone who committed a crime prior to adulthood would not have their measurements on record. Additionally, it turned out to be the case that the features by which Bertillon based his identification system were not unique to any one individual. This led to the possibility of one person being convicted of another person’s crimes. This possibility became abundantly clear in 1903 when a Will West was confused with a William West. Though it would later turn out to be the case that the two were identical twins, the issues posed by the Bertillonage system of identification were clear. Because of the amount of time and effort that went in to painstakingly collecting measurements and the overall inaccuracy of the process, Bertillonage was quickly replaced when fingerprinting emerged on the scene as a more efficient and accurate means of identification. Fingerprinting, as a means of identification, proved to be infallible. It was accepted that everyone possessed a uniquely identifiable and unchanging fingerprint.

This new system The Henry Classification system, named after Edward Henry who developed and first implemented the system in 1897 in India, was the first method of classification for fingerprint identification based on physiological characteristics. The system assigns each individual finger a numerical value (starting with the right thumb and ending with the left pinky) and divides fingerprint records into groupings based on pattern types. The system makes it possible to search large numbers of fingerprint records by classifying the prints according to whether they have an “arch”, “whorl”, or “loop” and the subsequently assigned numerical value.

In 1901 the Henry system was introduced in England. In 1902 the New York Civil service began testing the Henry method of fingerprinting with the the Army, Navy, and Marines all adopting the method by 1907. From this point on, the Henry System of fingerprinting became the system most commonly used in English speaking countries of identification was accepted as more reliable than Bertillonage.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

Your time is important. Let us write you an essay from scratch

experts 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help you just now

delivery Starting from 3 hours delivery

Find Free Essays

We provide you with original essay samples, perfect formatting and styling

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

The Henry Classification system for fingerprint identification. (2019, January 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from
“The Henry Classification system for fingerprint identification.” GradesFixer, 15 Jan. 2019,
The Henry Classification system for fingerprint identification. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 5 Dec. 2022].
The Henry Classification system for fingerprint identification [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Jan 15 [cited 2022 Dec 5]. Available from:
copy to clipboard

Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Hi there!

    Are you interested in getting a customized paper?

    Check it out!
    Don't use plagiarized sources. Get your custom essay. Get custom paper

    Get expert help for your assignment!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!

    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Get your paper order now