People have been studying the unique characteristics and properties of fingerprints for thousands of years. In ancient Babylon, for example, clay impressions of fingerprints were used to seal business deals. Sir William Herschel is recognized as one of the first Europeans to begin collecting and studying fingerprints in the 1850s, which inspired others to do so as well.
However, fingerprint analysis didn't become common in crime-solving forensic science until the early 20th century. Here are some facts and tidbits about fingerprint forensics and how they came to be.