“Mr. Francis Galton affirms that ‘the styles of the papillary ridges on the bulbous palmar surfaces of the terminal phalanges of the ﬁngers and thumbs are unquestionably unchangeable through daily life, and present in various folks an inﬁnite selection of kinds and peculiarities. The possibility of two ﬁnger-prints remaining equivalent is considerably less than 1 in sixty-4 thousand thousands and thousands. If, as a result, two ﬁnger-prints are in comparison and identified to coincide exactly, it is almost certain that they are prints of the same ﬁnger of the same person if they vary, they are created by various ﬁngers. –Lancet”
—Scientific American, June 1894
More gems from Scientific American’s initially one hundred seventy five years can be identified on our anniversary archive website page.