156 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
"They are'T-shaped ; their long arms are six or seven inches long, they are roughly made of wood as thick as the thumb, so that they are purposely not over light. Each pointer stands on three supports, viz. on the point of a bent pin, whose headless body has been thrust into the end of the long arm of the T, and on the ends of two nails or better on staples, one of which is driven under either end of the cross-arm. It is most easy to adjust the point of the bent pin upon any desired character in the finger-print. Both hands of the observer are thus left free to manipulate other pointers, when desired. The stationary pointers are a great help in steadying the eye while pursuing a step by step comparison between two finger-prints."
We may remark that, the pointer being raised from the paper, the bent pin scarcely obscures any part of the print.
The second letter appeared in the Times of December 27, 1893, and contains a suggestion which it was certainly undesirable that the authorities
Fig. 17. Fig. 18. Early Examples of Galton's Method of Finger-Print Enlargement.
should have entirely disregarded. It was that depositors in the post-office savings bank should have their fingers printed in their deposit books and that these should be used as a means of identification, when the depositor sought to draw money from a post-office where he was not known. This brings us indeed to a matter Galton had much at heart ; he did not think finger-prints were useful solely as a matter of criminal identification. The art of comparing finger-prints is so easily learnt that it might well be part of the training of many minor civil servants, postmasters, Public Trustee employees, War Office and. Admiralty pension-officers, and many other similar officials. Two lectures and, two practical classes of a few hours each would suffice to give the necessary instruction to a group of twenty or