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Bureau of Identification: 1925

Bureau of Identification: 1925

Washington, January 1925. "Justice Department, Nat'l. Bureau of Identification." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


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With more shadows

This would have made a great Edward Hopper painting.


These appear to be clerks searching the files of what is now the F.B.I. The magnifying glasses were used to view the ridges, loops and whorls on the fingerprint cards. I joined the Bureau in the early 1970's and except for the clothes and the light fixtures it was the same. The Ident Division used to be located at 2nd and D Streets N.W. in Washington. Now it's in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

No Loupe

But that is definitely a linen tester on top of the cabinet in front of the man at the right. It's an open frame type loupe, usually 5x-8x magnification.

Rubber finger

He's wearing the ever popular page turning helper.
What's the purpose of the sponges in the glass dishes?

[Finger-wetting. - Dave]


I believe that is a loupe the man is using.

[He's using his eyeballs. - Dave]

Fan Note

I like the old fashioned fans. I guess people back then didn't need to be told not to put their fingers near a spinning blade. Sadly, those would be lawsuits waiting to happen today.

Mr. Magoo

Is the guy with his nose buried in the book holding a magnifying glass or some such device? Not enough pixels to tell at this size.

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