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Title: Disputed Handwriting - An exhaustive, valuable, and comprehensive work upon one of the most important subjects of to-day. With illustrations and expositions for the detection and study of forgery by handwriting of all kinds
Author: Lavay, Jerome Buell, 1860-
Language: English
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DISPUTED HANDWRITING

An Exhaustive, Valuable, and Comprehensive Work upon One of the Most
Important Subjects of To-day. With Illustrations and Expositions for
the Detection and Study of Forgery by Handwriting of All Kinds

by

JEROME B. LAVAY

The first work of the kind ever published in the United States.
For the Protection of America's Banks and Business Houses.

1909



"Handwriting is a gesture of the mind"



TO THE AMERICAN BANKERS' ASSOCIATION


THAT POWERFUL AGENCY WHICH HAS
ELEVATED THE STANDARD OF BANKING IN THE UNITED STATES
AND AN INSTITUTION THAT FOLLOWS ALL WRONGDOERS
AGAINST MEMBERS OF THE FRATERNITY
RELENTLESSLY AND SUCCESSFULLY
THIS WORK IS MOST RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED



CONTENTS


CHAPTER I

HOW TO STUDY FORGED AND DISPUTED SIGNATURES

All Titles Depend Upon the Genuineness of Signatures--Comparing
Genuine with Disputed Signatures--A Word about Fac-simile
Signatures--Process of Evolving a Signature--Evidence of
Experience in Handling or Mishandling a Pen--Signature Most
Difficult to Read--Simulation of Signature by Expert Penman--Hard
to Imitate an Untrained Hand--A Well-Known Banker Presents Some
Valuable Points--Perfectly Imitated Writings and Signatures--Bunglingly
Executed Forgeries--The Application of Chemical Tests--Rules of
Courts on Disputed Signatures--Forgers Giving Appearance of Age
to Paper and Ink--Proving the Falsity of Testimony--Determining
the Genuineness or Falsity by Anatomy or Skeleton--Making a
Magnified Copy of a Signature--Effectiveness of the Photograph
Process--Deception the Eye Will Not Detect--When Pen Strokes
Cross Each Other--Experimenting With Crossed Lines--Signatures
Written With Different Inks--Deciding Order of Sequence in
Writing--An Important and Interesting Subject for Bankers--Determining
the Genuineness of a Written Document--Ingenuity of Rogues Constantly
Takes New Forms--A Systematic Analysis Will Detect Disputed Signatures


CHAPTER II

FORGERY BY TRACING

Forgeries Perpetrated by the Aid of Tracing a Common and Dangerous
Method--Using Transparent Tracing Paper--How the Movements are
Directed--Formal, Broken and Nervous Lines--Retouched Lines
and Shades--Tracing Usually Presents a Close Resemblance to the
Genuine--Traced Forgeries Not Exact Duplicates of Their Originals--The
Danger of an Exact Duplication--Forgers Usually Unable to Exactly
Reproduce Tracing--Using Pencil or Carbon-Guided Lines--Retouching
Revealed under the Microscope--Tracing with Pen and Ink Over a
Transparency--Making a Practice and Study of Signatures--Forgeries
and Tracings Made by Skillful Imitators Most Difficult of
Detection--Free-Hand Forgery and Tracing--A Few Important Matters to
Observe in Detecting Forgery by Tracing--Photographs a Great Aid in
Detecting Tracing--How to Compare Imitated and Traced
Writing--Furrows Traced by Pen Nibs--Tracing Made by an Untrained
Hand--Tracing with Pen and Ink Over a Transparency--Internal
Evidence of Forgery by Tracing--Forgeries Made by Skillful
Imitators--How to Determine Evidences of Forgery by Tracing--Remains
of Tracings--Examining Paper in Transmitted Light--Freely Written
Tracings--A Dangerous Method of Forgery


CHAPTER III

HOW FORGERS REPRODUCE SIGNATURES

Characteristics Appearing in Forged Signatures--Conclusions Reached
by Careful Examinations--Signatures Written with Little Effort to
Imitate--What a Clever Forger Can Do--Most Common Forgeries of
Signatures--Reproducing a Signature over a Plate of Glass--A Window
Frame Scheme for Reproducing Signatures--How the Paper is Held
and the Ink Applied--How a Genuine Signature is Placed and Used--A
Forger's Process of Tracing a Signature--How to Detect Earmarks
of Fraud in a Reproduced Signature--Prominent Features of Signatures
Reproduced--Method Resorted to by Novices in Forging
Signatures--Conditions Appearing in All Traced Signatures--Reproduction
of Signatures Adopted by Expert Forgers--Making a Lead-Pencil Copy of
a Signature--Erasing Pencil Signatures Always Discoverable by the Aid
of a Microscope--Appearances and Conditions in Traced Signatures--How
to Tell a Traced Signature--All the Details Employed to Reproduce a
Signature Given--Features in Which Forgers are Careless--Handling
of the Pen Often Leads to Detection--A Noted Characteristic of
Reproduced Signatures--Want of Proportion in Writing Names Should Be
Studied--Rules to Be Followed in Examining Signatures--System Employed
by Experts in Studying Proof of Reproduced Signatures--Bankers and
Business Men Should Avoid Careless Signatures


CHAPTER IV

ERASURES, ALTERATIONS AND ADDITIONS

What Erasure Means--The English Law--What a Fraudulent Alteration
Means--Altered or Erased Parts Considered--Memoranda of Alterations
Should Always Accompany Paper Changed--How Added Words Should
be Treated--How to Erase Words and Lines Without Creating
Suspicion--Writing Over an Erasure--How to Determine Whether or
Not Erasures or Alterations Have Been Made--Additions and
Interlineations--What to Apply to the Suspected Document--The
Alcohol Test Absolute--How to Tell which of Crossing Ink Lines
Were Made First--Ink and Pencil Alterations and Erasures--Treating
Paper to Determine Erasures, Alterations and Additions--Appearance of
Paper Treated as Directed--Paper That Does Not Reveal Tampering--How
Removal of Characters From a Paper is Affected--Easy Means of
Detecting Erasures--Washing with Chemical Reagents--Restoration
of Original Marks--What Erasure on Paper Exhibits--Erasure in
Parchments--Identifying Typewritten Matter--Immaterial
Alterations--Altering Words in an Instrument--Alterations and
Additions Are Immaterial When Interests of Parties Are Not Changed
or Affected--Erasure of Words in an Instrument


CHAPTER V

HOW TO WRITE A CHECK TO PREVENT FORGING

How a Paying Teller Determines the Amount of a Check--Written Amount
and Amount in Figures Conflict--Depositor Protected by Paying
Teller--Chief Concern of Drawer of a Check--Transposing
Figures--Writing a Check That Cannot Be Raised--Writers who Are
Easy Marks for Forgers--Safeguards for Those who Write Checks--An
Example of Raised Checks--Payable "To Bearer" Is Always a
Menace--Paying Teller and An Endorsement System Must Be Observed in
Writing Checks--How a Check Must Be Written to Be Absolutely Safe--A
Signature that Cannot Be Tampered with Without Detection--Paying
Tellers Always Vigilant


CHAPTER VI

METHODS OF FORGERS, CHECK AND DRAFT RAISERS

Professional Forgers and Their Methods--Using Engravers and
Lithographers--Their Knowledge of Chemicals--Patching Perforated
Paper--Difficult Matter to Detect Alterations and Forgeries--Selecting
Men for the Work--The Middle Man, Presenter, and Shadow--Methods for
Detecting Forgery--Detailed Explanation of How Forgers
Work--Altering and Raising Checks and Drafts--A Favorite Trick of
Forgers--Opening a Bank Account for a Blind--Private Marks on
Checks no Safeguard--How a Genuine Signature Is Secured--Bankers Can
Protect Themselves--A Forger the Most Dangerous Criminal--Bankers
Should Scrutinize Signatures--Sending Photograph with Letter of
Advice--How to Secure Protection Against Forgers--Manner in Which
Many Banks Have Been Swindled--Points About Raising Checks and
Drafts That Should Be Carefully Noted


CHAPTER VII

THE HANDWRITING EXPERT

No Law Regulating Experience and Skill Necessary to Constitute an
Expert--Expert Held Competent to Testify in Court--Bank Officials
and Employees Favored--An Expert On Signatures--Methods Experts
Employ to Identify the Work of the Pen--Where and When an Expert's
Services Are Needed--Large Field and Growing Demand for
Experts--Qualifications of a Handwriting Expert--How the Work is
Done--A Good Expert Continously Employed--The Expert and the
Charlatan--Qualifying as An Expert--A System Which Produces
Results--Principal Tests Applied by Handwriting Experts to
Determine Genuineness--Identification of Individual by His
Handwriting--How to Tell Kind of Ink and Process Used to Forge a
Writing--Rules Followed by Experts in Determining Cases--The Testimony
of a Handwriting Expert--Explaining Methods Employed to Detect
Forged Handwriting--The Courts and Experts--What an Expert May
Testify to--Trapping a Witness--Proving Handwriting by Experts--General
Laws Regulating Experts--The Basework of a HandwritingExpert--Important
Facts an Expert Begins Examination With--A Few Words of Advice and
Suggestion About "Pen Scope"--Detection of Forgery Easy--Rules
Herewith Suggested Should Be Observed--Expert Witnesses, Courts, and
Jurors


CHAPTER VIII

HOW TO DETECT FORGED HANDWRITING

Frequency of Litigation Arising over Disputed Handwriting--Forged and
Fictitious Claims Against the Estates of Deceased People--Forgery
Certain to Be Detected When Subjected to Skilled Expert Examination--A
Forger's Tracks Cannot Be Successfully Covered--With Modern Devices
Fraudulent, Forged and Simulated Writing Can Be Determined Beyond
the Possibility of a Mistake--Bank Officials and Disputed
Handwriting--How to Test and Determine Genuine and Forged
Signatures--Useful Information About Signature Writing--Guard
Against an Illegible Signature--Avoid Gyrations, Whirls and
Flourishes--Write Plain, Distinct and Legible--The Signature to
Adopt--The People Forgers Pass By--How Many Imitate Successfully--How
an Expert Detects Forged Handwriting--Examples of Signatures Forgers
Desire to Imitate--Examining and Determining a Forgery--Comparisons
of Disputed Handwriting--Microscopic Examinations a Great Help in
Detecting Forged Handwriting--Comparison of Forged Handwriting


CHAPTER IX

GREATEST DANGER TO BANKS

Check-Raising Always a Danger--A Scheme Almost Impossible to
Prevent--The American Banker's Association the Greatest Foe to
Forgers--It Follows Them Relentlessly and Successfully--Chemically
Prepared Paper and Watermarks Not Always a Safeguard--Perforating
Machines and Check Raisers--How Check Perforations Are
Overcome--How an Ordinary Check Is Raised--How an Expert Alters
Checks--How Perforations Are Filled--Hasty Examination by Paying
Tellers Encourages Forgers--The Way Bogus Checks Creep Through a
Bank Unnoticed--A Celebrated Forgery Case--Forgers Successful for
a Time Always Caught--Where Forgers Usually Go That Have Made a
Big Haul--A Professional Crook Is a Person of Large Acquaintance


CHAPTER X

THUMB PRINTS NEVER FORGED

Thumb-Print Method of Identification Absolute--Now Brought to a High
State of Perfection--Will Eventually Be Used in all Banks--Certified
Checks and Also Drafts with Thumb-Print Signatures--Absolute Accuracy
of a Thumb-Print Identification Assured--A Thumb-Print in Wax on Sealed
Packages--Its Use an Advantage on Bankable Paper of All Kinds--How
Strangers Are Easily Identified--Bankers, Merchants and Business Men
Protected by This System--Full Particulars as to How Thumb-Prints Are
Made--Can be Printed by Anyone in a Few Minutes--How and When to Place
Your Thumb-Print on Bankable Paper--Finger-Prints as Reliable as
Thumb-Prints--Use to Which This System Could Be Put--Thumb and Finger
Tips Do Not Change From Birth to Death--Department of Justice at
Washington Has Established a Bureau of Criminal Registry Using the
Thumb-Print System--Thumb-Print System Said to Be a Chinese
Invention--Its Use Spreading Rapidly--How to Secure Thumb-Print
Impression Without Knowledge of Party--An Interesting and Valuable
Study


CHAPTER XI

DETECTING FORGERY WITH THE MICROSCOPE

Determining Questionable Signatures By the Aid of a Microscope--A
Magnifying Glass Not Powerful Enough--Character of Ink Easily
Told--The Microscope and a Knowledge of Its Use--Experience and
Education of an Examiner of Great Assistance--An Expert's Opinion--The
Use of the Microscope Recommended--Illustrating a Method of
Forgery--What a Microscopic Examination Reveals--How to Examine
Forged Handwriting with a Microscope--Experts and a Jury--What
the Best Authorities Recommend


CHAPTER XII

SIGNATURE EXPERTS THE SAFETY OF THE MODERN BANK

A New Departure in Banks--Examining All Signatures a Sure
Preventive Against Forgery--The "Filling in" Process--How One
Forger Operated--Marvelous Accuracy of a Paying Teller--How He
Attained Perfection--How Signature Clerks Work--A Common Dodge
of Forgers--Post Dated Checks--A System That Prevents Forged and
Raised Checks--Not a Forged or Raised Check Paid in Years


CHAPTER XIII

HOW TO DETERMINE AGE OF ANY WRITING

The Different Kinds of Ink Met With--Inks That Darken by Exposure
to Sunlight and Air--Introduction of Aniline Colors to Determine
the Age of Writings--An Almost Infallible Rule to Follow--Determining
Age of Writing By Ink Used--The Ammonia System a Sure One--A
Question of Great Interest to Bankers and Bank Employes--Thick and
Thin Inks--So-Called Safety Inks That Are Not Safe--How to Restore
Faded Inks--An Infallible Rule--Restoring Faded Writing--Restored
By the Silk and Cotton System That Anyone Can Arrange--Danger of
Exposing Restored Writing to the Sun


CHAPTER XIV

DETECTING FRAUD AND FORGERY IN PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS

Infallible Rules for the Detection of Same--New Methods of
Research--Changing Wills and Books of Accounts--Judgment of the
Naked Eye--Using a Microscope or Magnifying Glass--Changeable
Effects of Ink--How to Detect the Use of Different Inks--Sized
Papers Not Easily Altered--Inks That Produce Chemical Effects--Inks
That Destroy Fiber of Paper--How to Test Tampered or Altered
Documents--Treating Papers Suspected of Forgery--Using Water to
Detect Fraud--Discovering Scratched Paper--Means Forgers Use to
Mask Fraudulent Operations--How to Prepare and Handle Test
Papers--Detecting Paper That Has Been Washed--Various Other
Valuable Tests to Determine Forgery--A Simple Operation That
Anyone Can Apply--Iodine Used on Papers and Documents--An Alcohol
Test That Is Certain--Bringing Out Telltale Spots--Double
Advantage of Certain Tests--Reappearance of Former Letters or
Figures--What Genuine Writing Reveals--When an Entire Paper or
Document is Forged


CHAPTER XV

GUIDED HANDWRITING AND METHOD USED

The Most Frequent and Dangerous Method of Forgery--How to Detect
a Guided Signature--What Guided Handwriting Is and How It Is
Done--Character of Such Writing--Writing by a Guided Hand--Difficulty
in Writing--Force Exercised by Joint Hands--A Hand More or Less
Passive--Work of the Controlling Hand--How Guided Writing
Appears--Two Writers Acting in Opposition--Distorted Writing--How
a Legitimate Guided Hand is Directed and Supported--Pen Motion
Necessary to Produce Same--Influence in Guiding a Stronger
Hand--Avoiding an Unnatural and Cramped Position--Effect of the
Brain on Guided Hand--Separating Characteristics from Guided Joint
Signature--Detecting Writing by a System of Measurement


CHAPTER XVI

TALES TOLD BY HANDWRITING

Telling the Nationality, Sex and Age of Anyone Who Executes
Handwriting--Americans and Their Style of Writing--How English, German,
and French Write--Gobert, the French Expert, and How He Saved
Dreyfus--Miser Paine and His Millions Saved by an Expert--Writing
with Invisible Ink--Professor Braylant's Secret Writing Without
Ink--Professor Gross Discovers a Simple Secret Writing Method With a
Piece of Pointed Hardwood--A System Extensively Used--Studying the
Handwriting of Authors--How to Determine a Person's Character and
Disposition by Handwriting


CHAPTER XVII

WORKINGS OF THE GOVERNMENT SECRET SERVICE

Officials of This Department Talk About Their Work--How Criminals
Are Traced, Caught and Punished--Its Work Extending to All
Departments--Secret Service Districts--Reports Made to the Treasury
Department--Good Money and Bad--How to Detect the False--System of
Numbering United States Notes Explained--Counterfeiting on the
Decrease--Counterfeiting Gold Certificates--Bank Tellers and
Counterfeits--The Best Secret Service in the World


CHAPTER XVIII

CHARACTER AND TEMPERAMENT INDICATED BY HANDWRITING

A Man's Handwriting a Part of Himself--Handwriting and
Personality--Cheap Postage and Typewriters Playing Havoc with
Writing by Hand--Old Time Correspondence Vanishing--Two Divisions
of Handwriting--Fashion Has Changed Even Writing--Characteristic
Writing of Different Professions--One's Handwriting a Sure Index to
Character and Temperament--Personality of Handwriting--Handwriting
a Voiceless Speaking--A Neglected Science--Interest in Disputed
Handwriting Rapidly Coming to the Front--Set Writing Copies no
Longer the Rule--Formal Handwriting--Education's Effect on
Writing--Handwriting and Personality--The Character and
Temperament of Writers Easily Told--Honest, Eccentric, and Weak
People--How to Determine Character by Writing--The Marks of Truth
and Straightforwardness--How Perseverance and Patience Are
Indicated in Writing--Economy, Generosity and Liberality Easily
Shown in Writing--The Character and Temperament of Any Writer
Easily Shown--Studying Character from Handwriting a Fascinating
Work--Rules for Its Study--Links in a Chain That Cannot be
Hidden--A Person's Writing a Surer Index to Character Than His Face


CHAPTER XIX

HANDWRITING EXPERTS AS WITNESSES

Who May Testify As An Expert--Bank Officials and Bank Employes Always
Desired--Definition of Expert and Opinion Evidence--Both Witness
and Advocate--Witness in Cross Examination--Men Who Have Made the
Science of Disputed Handwriting a Study--Objections to Appear in
Court--Experts Contradicting Each Other--The Truth or Falsity of
Handwriting--Sometimes a Mass of Doubtful Speculations--Paid Experts
and Veracity--Present Method of Dealing with Disputed Handwriting
Experts--How the Bench and Bar Regard the System--Remedies
Proposed--Should an Expert Be an Adviser of the Court?--Free
from Cross-Examination--Opinions of Eminent Judges on Expert
Testimony--Experts Who Testify Without Experience--What a Bank
Cashier or Teller Bases His Opinions on--Actions and Deductions of
the Trained Handwriting Expert--Admitting Evidence of Handwriting
Experts--Occupation and Theories That Make an Expert--Difference
Between an Expert and a Witness--Experts and Test Writing--What
Constitutes An Expert in Handwriting--Present Practice Regarding
Experts--Assuming to Be a Competent Expert--Testing a Witness with
Prepared Forged Signatures--Care in Giving Answers--A Writing
Teacher As an Expert--Familiarity with Signatures--What a Dash,
Blot, or Distortion of a Letter Shows--What a Handwriting Expert
Should Confine Himself to--Parts of Writing Which Demand the
Closest Attention--American and English Laws on Experts in
Handwriting--Examination of Disputed Handwriting


CHAPTER XX

TAMPERED, ERASED AND MANIPULATED PAPER

Sure Rules for the Detection of Forged and Fraudulent Writing of Any
Kind--European Professor Gives Rules for Detecting Fraud--How to Tell
Alterations Made on Checks, Drafts, and Business Paper--An Infallible
System Discovered--Results Always Satisfactory--Can Be Used by
Anyone--Vapor of Iodine a Valuable Agent--Paper That Has Been Wet or
Moistened--Colors That Tampered Paper Assumes--Tracing Written
Characters with Water--Making Writing Legible--How to Tell Paper
That Has Been Erased or Rubbed--What a Light Will Disclose--Erasing
with Bread Crumbs--Hard to Detect--How to Discover Traces of
Manipulation--Erased Surface Made Legible--Treating Partially
Erased Paper--Detecting Nature of Substance Used for Erasing--Use
of Bread Crumbs Colors Papers--Tracing Writing with a Glass
Rod--Tracing Writing Under Paper--Writing With Glass Tubes Instead
of Pens--What Physical Examination Reveals--Erasing Substance of
Paper--Reproducing Pencil Writing in a Letter Press--Kind of Paper
to Use in Making Experiments--Detecting Fraud in Old Papers--The
Rubbing and Writing Method


CHAPTER XXI

FORGERY AS A PROFESSION

How Professional Forgers Work--Valuable Points for Bankers and Business
Men--Personnel of a Professional Forgery Gang--The Scratcher,
Layer-down, Presenter and Middleman--How Banks Are Defrauded by
Raised and Forged Paper--Detailed Method of the Work--Dividing the
Spoils--Action in Case of Arrest--Employing Attorneys--What "Fall"
Money Is--Fixing a Jury--Politicians with a Pull--Protecting
Criminals--Full Description of How Checks and Drafts Are
Altered--Alterations, Erasures and Chemicals--Raising Any Paper--Alert
Cashiers and Tellers--Different Methods of Protection


CHAPTER XXII

A FAMOUS FORGERY

The Morey-Garfield Letter--Attempt to Defeat Mr. Garfield for the
Presidency--A Clumsy Forgery--Both Letters Reproduced--Evidences of
Forgery Pointed Out--The Work of an Illiterate Man--Crude Imitations
Apparent--Undoubtedly the Greatest Forgery of the Age--General
Garfield's Quick Disclaimer Kills Effect of the Forgery--The Letters
Compared and Evidences of Forgery Made Complete


CHAPTER XXIII

A WARNING TO BANKS AND BUSINESS HOUSES

Information for Those Who Handle Commercial and Legal
Documents--Peculiarity of Handwriting--Methods Employed in
Forgery--Means Employed for Erasing Writing--Care to Be Used in
Writing--Specimens of Originals and Alterations--Means of Discovering
and Demonstrating Forgery--Disputed Signatures--Free Hand or Composite
Signatures--Important Facts for the Banking and Business Public--How
to Use the Microscope and Photography to Detect Forgery--Applying
Chemical Tests--How to Handle Documents and Papers to Be
Preserved--The Value of Expert Testimony--Using Chemical,
Mechanical and Clerical Preventatives


CHAPTER XXIV

HOW FORGERS ALTER BANK NOTES

Bankers Easily Deceived--How Ten One Hundred Dollar Bills Are Made out
of Nine--How to Detect Altered Bank Notes--Making a Ten-Dollar Bill
out of a Five--A Ten Raised to Fifty--How Two-Dollar Bills are Raised
to a Higher Denomination--Bogus Money in Commercial Colleges--Action
of the United States Treasury Department--Engraving a Greenback--How
They Are Printed--Making a Vignette--Beyond the Reach of Rascals--How
Bank Notes Are Printed, Signed and Issued by the Government--Safeguards
to Foil Forgers, Counterfeiters and Alterers of Bank Notes--Devices to
Raise Genuine Bank Notes--Split Notes--Altering Silver Certificates


APPENDIX

This follows with many pages of Illustrations and Descriptions of
Various Kinds of Genuine, Traced, Forged and Simulated Writings and
Autograph Signatures of Bankers, Statesmen, Jurists, Authors, Writers
and the Leading Public Characters of the World; Individual Autographs
of Every President of the United States; Freak Signatures and Curious
and Complicated Writing; and Scores of Other Interesting and
Instructive Autographs and Writings of Various Kinds That Will Prove
of Great Worth and Value



PREFACE


But few writers in the United States have expended their genius in the
field of disputed, forged, or fraudulent handwriting. In France and
Germany the subject has been more studied, and in both languages
several valuable books have appeared, while in this country it is only
recently that disputed handwriting has been looked upon as one of the
sciences.

Up to the time of the publication of this work nothing has appeared in
the United States on the subject of disputed handwriting, short
magazine and newspaper articles sufficing.

Interest in disputed handwriting and writing of all kinds is being
rapidly developed, and is a study and research with which the banker
and business man of the future must and will be perfectly familiar. A
place will be made for the science among the permanent, necessary, and
most helpful studies of the day.

No effort has been spared by the author of this work to make every
feature of handwriting accurate. This work is the result of years of
practical study in the field of disputed handwriting, and personal
application has demonstrated that the facts and suggestions given will
be found absolutely correct. The aim has been to make this the
standard work on this subject.

In conclusion, the author wishes to acknowledge a debt to the leading
handwriting experts of the United States and Europe for many
suggestions that have materially assisted him in the preparation of
this work. We trust it will prove a material aid to the bankers,
business men and professional men of the United States.

THE AUTHOR.



DISPUTED HANDWRITING



CHAPTER I

HOW TO STUDY FORGED AND DISPUTED SIGNATURES

All Titles Depend Upon the Genuineness of Signatures--Comparing Genuine
With Disputed Signatures--A Word About Fac-simile Signatures--Conditions
Affecting Production of Signatures--Process of Evolving a
Signature--Evidence of Experience in Handling or Mishandling a
Pen--Signatures Most Difficult to Read--Simulation of Signature by
Expert Penman--Hard to Imitate an Untrained Hand--A Well-known
Banker Presents Some Valuable Points--Perfectly Imitated Writings
and Signatures--Bunglingly Executed Forgeries--The Application of
Chemical Tests--Rules of Courts on Disputed Signatures--Forgers
Giving Appearance of Age to Paper and Ink--Proving the Falsity of
Testimony--Determining the Genuineness or Falsity by Anatomy or
Skeleton--Making a Magnified Copy of a Signature--Effectiveness of
the Photograph Process--Deception the Eye Will Not Detect--When Pen
Strokes Cross Each Other--Experimenting With Crossed Lines--Signatures
Written With Different Inks--Deciding Order of Sequence in
Writing--An Important and Interesting Subject for Bankers--Determining
the Genuineness of a Written Document--Ingenuity of Rogues Constantly
Takes New Forms--A Systematic Analysis Will Detect Disputed
Signatures.[1]

    [1] Note illustrations of various kinds of forged, simulated, and
    genuine handwriting in Appendix, with careful descriptions of same.


The title to money and property of all kinds depends so lately upon
the genuineness of signatures that no study or inquiry can be more
interesting than one relating to the degree of certainty with which
genuine writings can be distinguished from those which are
counterfeited.

When comparing a disputed signature with a series of admittedly
genuine signatures of the same person whose signature is being
disputed, the general appearance and pictorial effect of the writing
will suggest, as the measure of resemblances or differences
predominates, an impression upon the mind of the examiner as to the
genuine or forged character of the signature in question. When it is
understood that to make a forgery available for the purposes of its
production it must resemble in general appearance the writing of the
person whose signature it purports to represent, it follows as a
reasonable conclusion that resemblances in general appearances alone
must be secondary factors in establishing the genuineness of a
signature by comparison--and the fact that two signatures look alike
is not always evidence that they were written by the same person.

As an illustration of the uncertainty of an impression produced by the
general appearances and close resemblance of signatures, even to an
expert observer, is manifested when the fac-simile signatures of the
signers of the Declaration of American Independence, as executed by
different engravers, are examined. On comparing each individual
fac-simile made by one engraver, with the fac-simile of the same
signature made by another engraver, they will be found to exactly
coincide in general appearance as to form and pictorial effect, and so
much so, that the fac-similes of the same signature made by different
engravers cannot be told one from the other. On examining them by the
use of the microscope they may be easily determined as the work of
different persons. While this is likewise true of the resemblances in
general appearance which a disputed signature may have when compared
with a genuine signature of the same person, it is also true that the
measure of difference occurring in the general appearance of a
disputed signature, when compared with genuine ones of the same
person, are not always evidence of forgery.

There are many conditions affecting the production of signatures,
habitually and uniformly apart from the causes which prevent a person
from writing signatures twice precisely alike, under the influence of
normal conditions of execution. The effect of fatigue, excitement,
haste, or the use of a different pen from that with which the
standards were written, are well known conditions operating to
materially affect the general appearance of the writing, and may have
been, in one form or another, an attendant cause when the questioned
signature was produced, and thus have given to the latter some
variation from the signatures of the same person, executed under the
influence of normal surroundings.

In the process of evolving a signature, which must be again and again
repeated from an early age till death, new ideas occur from time to
time, are tried, modified, improved, and finally embodied in the
design. The idea finally worked out may be merely a short method of
writing the necessary sequence of characters, or it may present some
novelty to the eye. Signatures consisting almost exclusively of
straight up-and-down strokes, looking at a short distance like a row
of needles with very light hair-lines to indicate the separate
letters; signatures begun at the beginning or the end and written
without removing the pen from the paper; signatures which are entirely
illegible and whose component parts convey only the mutilated
rudiments of letters, are not uncommon. All such signatures strike the
eye and arrest the attention, and thus accomplish the object of their
authors. The French signature frequently runs upward from left to
right, ending with a strong down nourish in the opposite direction.
All these, even the most illegible examples, give evidence of
experience in handling or mishandling the pen. The signature most
difficult to read is frequently the production of the hand which
writes most frequently, and it is very much harder to decipher than
the worst specimens of an untrained hand. The characteristics of the
latter are usually an evident painstaking desire to imitate faulty
ideals of the letters one after the other, without any attempt to
attain a particular effect by the signature as a whole. In very
extreme cases, the separate letters of the words constituting the
signature are not even joined together.

A simulation of such a signature by an expert penman will usually
leave enough traces of his ability in handling the pen to pierce his
disguise. Even a short, straight stroke, into which he is likely to
relapse against his will, gives evidence against the pretended
difficulties of the act which he intends to convey. It is nearly as
difficult for a master of the pen to imitate an untrained hand as for
the untrained hand to write like an expert penman. The difference
between an untrained signature and the trembling tracing of his
signature by an experienced writer who is ill or feeble, is that in
the former may be seen abundant instances of ill-directed strength,
and in the latter equally abundant instances of well-conceived design,
with a failure of the power to execute it.

Observations such as the preceding are frequently of great value in
aiding the expert to understand the phenomena which he meets, and they
belong to a class which does not require the application of standards
of measure, but only experience and memory of other similar instances
of which the history was known, and a sound judgment to discern the
significance of what is seen.

No general rules other than those referred to above can be given to
guide the student of handwriting in such cases, but the differences
will become sufficiently apparent with sufficient practice.

A well-known banker, writing to the author of this work, makes some
points on the subject which are rather disturbing. His fundamental
proposition is that the judgment of experts is of no value when based
as it ordinarily is, only upon an inspection of an alleged fraudulent
signature, either with the naked eye or with the eye aided by
magnifying glasses, and upon a comparison of its appearance with that
of a writing or signature, admitted or known to the expert, to be
genuine, of the same party.

He alleges, in fact, that writing and signatures can be so perfectly
imitated that ocular inspection cannot determine which is true and
which is false, and that the persons whose signatures are in
controversy are quite as unable as anybody to decide that question.
Nevertheless, the law permits experts to give their opinions to
juries, who often have nothing except those opinions to control their
decisions, and who naturally give them in favor of the side which is
supported by the greatest number of experts, or by experts of the
highest repute.

Decisions upon such testimony this banker regards as no better than,
if quite as good as, the result of drawing lots. Of course he cannot
mean to include under these observations, that class of forgeries
which are so bunglingly executed as to be readily detected by the eye,
even of persons not specially expert. He can only mean to say that
imitations are possible and even common, which are so exact that their
counterfeit character is not determinable by inspection, even when
aided by glasses.

At first blush this contention of the banker is extremely a most
unsatisfactory view of the case, and the more correct it looks likely
to be, the more unsatisfactory. Courts may go beyond inspection and
apply chemical on the tests, but such tests cannot be resorted to in
the innumerable cases of checks and orders for money and property
which are passed upon every day in the business world, and either
accepted as genuine or rejected as counterfeit. But the real truth is,
in fully ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, that no check or order is
paid merely upon confidence in the genuineness of the signature, and
without knowledge of the party to whom the payment is made, or some
accompanying circumstance or circumstances tending to inspire
confidence in the good faith of the transaction. In that aspect, the
danger of deception as to the genuineness of signatures loses most of
its terrors.

It is one of the recognized rules of court to admit as admissible
testimony, the opinions of experts, whether the whole or any specified
portion of an instrument was, or was not written by the same hand,
with the same ink, and at the same time, which question arises when an
addition to, or alteration of, an instrument is charged. It must be
recollected that at this time It is a very easy matter for experienced
forgers and rascals to so prepare ink that it may appear to the eye to
be of the age required, and it is next to impossible for any expert to
give any information in regard to the age of a certain writing. In
many instances experts have easily detected the kind of ink employed,
and have also successfully shown the falsity of testimony that the
whole of a writing in controversy was executed at the same time, and
with the same ink.

James D. Peacock, a London barrister, who has given considerable time
and study to disputed handwritings, lays great stress upon the ability
of determining the genuineness or falsity of a writing by what he
calls its "anatomy" or "skeleton." He says that some persons in making
successive strokes, make the turn from one to another sharply angular,
while others make it rounded or looping. Writings produced in both
ways appear the same to the eye, but under a magnifying glass the
difference in the mode of executing is shown. As illustrating that
point, he makes the following statement in respect to a case involving
the genuineness of the alleged signature of an old man whose
handwriting was fine and tremulous:

"On making a magnified copy of the signature, I found that the
tremulous appearance of the letters was due to the fact that they were
made up of a series of dashes, standing at varying angles with each
other, and further, that these strokes, thus enlarged, were precisely
like these constituting the letters in the body of the note, which
were acknowledged to have been written by the alleged forger of the
note. Upon the introduction of this testimony the criminal withdrew
the plea of not guilty and implored the mercy of the court."

As one means of determining whether the whole of a writing was
executed at the same time, and with the same ink, or at different
times, and with different inks, Mr. Peacock further says that the
photographic process is very effective because it not only copies the
forms of letters but takes notice of differences in the color of two
inks which are inappreciable by the eye. He states that:

"Where there is the least particle of yellow present in a color, the
photograph will take notice of the fact by making the picture blacker,
just in proportion as the yellow predominates, so that a very light
yellow will take a deep black. So any shade of green, or blue, or red,
where there is an imperceptible amount of yellow, will pink by the
photographic process more or less black, while either a red or blue
varying to a purple, will show more or less paint as the case may be."

As to deception which the eye will not detect, in regard to the age of
paper, he says:

"I have repeatedly examined papers which have been made to appear old
by various methods, such as washing with coffee, with tobacco, and by
being carried in the pocket, near the person, by being smoked or
partially burned, and in various other ways. I have in my possession a
paper which has passed the ordeal of many examinations by experts and
others, which purports to be two hundred years old, and to have been
saved from the Boston fire. The handwriting is a perfect fac-simile of
that of Thomas Addington, the town clerk of Boston, two hundred years
ago, and yet the paper is not over two years old."

The most remarkable case of deception to the eye, even when aided by
magnifying glasses, is in determining when two pen strokes cross each
other, which stroke was made first. Mr. Peacock does not explain how
the deception is possible, but that it occurs as matter of fact, he
shows by an account of a very decisive experiment. Taking ten
different kinds of ink, most commonly on sale, he drew lines on a
piece of paper in such a way as to produce a hundred points of
crossing and so that a line drawn with each of ink passed both over
and under all the lines drawn with the other inks. He, of course,
knew, in respect to each point of crossing, which ink was first
applied, but the appearance to the eye corresponded with the fact in
only forty-three cases. In thirty-seven cases the appearance was
contrary to the fact, and in the remaining cases the eye was unable to
come to any decision.

By wetting another piece of paper with a liquid compound acting as a
solvent of ink, and pressing it upon the paper marked with lines, a
thin layer of ink was transferred to the wet paper, and that shown
correctly which was the superposed ink at every one of the one hundred
points of crossing.

Many cases have occurred, in signatures written with different inks,
where some letters in one cross, some letters in another, in which it
becomes important to decide the order of sequence in writing. It is
also frequently important to decide the order of sequence in writing.
It is also frequently important when the genuineness of an addition,
as of a date, is the thing in dispute.

No subject can be more important or interesting to the business public
or especially to bankers than that of the reliability of the lists of
the genuineness of written papers. While it is true that in most cases
there is some ear-mark beside the appearance of a signature, whereby
to determine the genuineness of a document, it is also true that in
many cases, and frequently in cases of great magnitude, payments are
made on no other basis than the appearance of a writing. The most
common class of these last cases is where "A" has been long known to
be an endorser for "B," and where the connection between the two,
which leads to the endorsements, is well known. There is nothing in
the appearance in the market of a note of "B" endorsed by "A," that
is, in any degree calculated to excite suspicion or to put a
prospective purchaser upon his inquiry. If the endorsement of "A"
resembles his usual handwriting, it is almost always accepted as
genuine and if losses result from its proving to be counterfeit, they
are set down to the score, not of imprudence, but of unavoidable
misfortune.

Thus, as the ingenuity of rogues constantly takes new forms, the ways
and means by which they can be baffled in these enterprises are
constantly being multiplied. The telegraph and telephone give
facilities for promptly verifying a signature where one is in doubt.

It happens not infrequently that the desire to get a given number of
words into a definite space leads to an entirely unusual and foreign
style of writing, in which the accustomed characteristics are so
obscured or changed that only a systematic analysis can detect them.
If there be no apparent reason for this appearance in lack of space,
the cause may be the physical state of the writer or an attempt at
simulation. If a sufficient number of genuine signatures are
available, it can generally be determined which of these two
explanations is the right one.

Note illustrations of various kinds of handwriting in Appendix at end
of this book. Particular attention is directed to the descriptions and
analysis. They should be studied carefully.



CHAPTER II

FORGERY BY TRACING

Forgeries Perpetrated by the Aid of Tracing a Common and Dangerous
Method--Using Transparent Tracing Paper--How the Movements are
Directed--Formal, Broken and Nervous Lines--Retouched Lines and
Shades--Tracing Usually Presents a Close Resemblance to the
Genuine--Traced Forgeries Not Exact Duplicates of Their
Originals--The Danger of an Exact Duplication--Forgers Usually
Unable to Exactly Reproduce Tracing--Using Pencil or Carbon-Guided
Lines--Retouching Revealed under the Microscope--Tracing with Pen
and Ink Over a Transparency--Making a Practice and Study of
Signatures--Forgeries and Tracings Made by Skilful Imitators Most
Difficult of Detection--Free-Hand Forgery and Tracing--A Few
Important Matters to Observe in Detecting Forgery by
Tracing--Photographs a Great Aid in Detecting Tracing--How to
Compare Imitated and Traced Writing--Furrows Traced by Pen Nibs--Tracing
Made by an Untrained Hand--Tracing with Pen and Ink Over a
Transparency--Internal Evidence of Forgery by Tracing--Forgeries
Made by Skilful Imitators--How to Determine Evidences of Forgery by
Tracing--Remains of Tracings--Examining Paper in Transmitted
Light--Freely Written Tracings--A Dangerous Method of Forgery.


Forgery by tracing is one of the most common and most dangerous
methods of forgery.

There are two general methods of perpetrating forgeries, one by the
aid of tracing, the other by free-hand writing. These methods differ
widely in details, according to the circumstances of each case.

Tracing can only be employed when a signature or writing is present in
the exact or approximate form of the desired reproduction. It may then
be done by placing the writing to be forged upon a transparency over a
strong light, and then superimposing the paper upon which the forgery
is to be made. The outline of the writing underneath will then appear
sufficiently plain to enable it to be traced with pen or pencil, so as
to produce a very accurate copy upon the superimposed paper. If the
outline is with a pencil, it is afterward marked over with ink.

Again, tracings are made by placing transparent tracing-paper over the
writing to be copied and then tracing the lines over with a pencil.
This tracing is then penciled or blackened upon the obverse side. When
it is placed upon the paper on which the forgery is made, the lines
upon the tracing are retraced with a stylus or other smooth hard
point, which impresses upon the paper underneath a faint outline,
which serves as a guide to the forged imitation.

In forgeries perpetrated by the aid of tracing, the internal evidence
is more or less conclusive according to the skill of the forger. In
the perpetration of a forgery the mind, instead of being occupied in
the usual function of supplying matter to be recorded, devotes its
special attention to superintendence of the hand, directing its
movements, so that the hand no longer glides naturally and
automatically over the paper, but moves slowly with a halting,
vacillating motion, as the eye passes to and from the copy to the pen,
moving under the specific control of the will. Evidence of such a
forgery is manifest in the formal, broken, nervous lines, the uneven
flow of the ink, and the often retouched lines and shades. These
evidences are unmistakable when studied with the aid of a microscope.
Also, further evidence is adduced by a careful comparison of the
disputed writing, noting the pen-pressure or absence of any of the
delicate unconscious forms, relations, shades, etc., characteristic of
the standard writing.

Forgeries by tracings usually present a close resemblance in general
form to the genuine, and are therefore most sure to deceive the
unfamiliar or casual observer. It sometimes happens that the original
writing from which the tracings were made is discovered, in which case
the closely duplicated forms will be positive evidence of forgery. The
degree to which one signature of writing duplicates another may be
readily seen by placing one over the other, and holding them to a
window or other strong light, or by close comparative measurements.

Traced forgeries, however, are not, as is usually supposed,
necessarily exact duplicates of their originals, since it is very easy
to move the paper by accident or design while the tracing is being
made, or while making the transfer copy from it; so that while it
serves as a guide to the general features of the original, it will
not, when tested, be an exact duplication. The danger of an exact
duplication is quite generally understood by persons having any
knowledge of forgery, and is therefore avoided. Another difficulty is
that the very delicate features of the original writing are more or
less obscured by the opaqueness of two sheets of paper, and are
therefore changed or omitted from the forged simulation, and their
absence is usually supplied, through force of habit, by equally
delicate unconscious characteristics from the writing of the forger.
Again, the forger rarely possesses the requisite skill to exactly
reproduce his tracing. Much of the minutiae of the original writing is
more or less microscopic, and from that reason passes unobserved by
the forger. Outlines of writing to be forged are sometimes simply
drawn with a pencil, and then worked up in ink. Such outlines will not
usually furnish so good an imitation as to form, since they depend
wholly upon the imitative skill of the forger.

Besides the forementioned evidences of forgery by tracing, where
pencil or carbon guide-lines are used which must necessarily be
removed by rubber, there are liable to remain some slight fragments of
the tracing lines, while the mill finish of the paper will be impaired
and its fiber more or less torn out, so as to lie loose upon the
surface. Also the ink will be more or less ground off from the paper,
thus giving the lines a gray and lifeless appearance. And as
retouchings are usually made after the guide-lines have been removed,
the ink, wherever they occur, will have a more black and fresh
appearance than elsewhere. All these phenomena are plainly manifest
under the microscope. Where the tracing is made directly with pen and
ink over a transparency, as is often done, no rubbing is necessary,
and of course, the phenomena from rubbering does not appear.

Where signatures or other writings have been forged by previously
making a study and practice of the writing, to be copied until it has
been to a greater or less degree idealized, the hand must be trained
to its imitation so that it can be written with a more or less
approximation as to form and natural freedom.

Forgeries and tracings made by skilful imitators are the most
difficult of detection, as the internal evidence of forgery by tracing
is mostly absent. The evidence of free-hand forgery and tracing is
chiefly in the greater liability of the forger to inject into the
writing his own unconscious habit and to fail to reproduce with
sufficient accuracy that of the original writing, so that when
subjected to rigid analysis and microscopic inspection, the
spuriousness is made manifest and demonstrable. Specific attention
should be given to any hesitancy in form or movement in tracing which
is manifest in angularity or change of direction of lines, changed
relations and proportions of letters, slant of the writing, its
mechanical arrangement, disconnected lines, retouched shades, etc.

Photographs, greatly enlarged, of both the signatures in question and
the exemplars placed side by side for comparison will greatly aid in
making plain any evidence of forgery.

If practicable, use for comparison as standards both the imitated
writing and that of the imitator's traced writing. These methods,
employed by skilled and experienced examiners, will rarely fail of
establishing the true relationship between any two disputed
handwritings and more especially where the question of a forged or
traced signature is under discussion.

Under the microscope tracing by the pen-nibs are usually easily
visible, and they differ with every variety of pen employed. A stiff,
fine-pointed pen makes two comparatively deep lines a short distance
apart, which appear blacker in the writing than the space between
them, because they fill with ink, which afterwards dries and produces
a thicker layer of black sediment than those elsewhere. The variations
of pressure upon the pen can be easily noticed by the alternate
widening and narrowing of the band between these two furrows. The
tracing appears knotty and uneven when made by an untrained hand,
while it appears uniformly thin, and generally tremulous or in zigzags
when made by a weak but trained hand.

Where the tracing is made directly with pen and ink over a
transparency, as is often done, no rubbing is necessary, and of course
the phenomena from rubbering do not appear.

Where signatures or other writings have been forged by previously
making a study and practice of the writing to be copied until it has
been to a greater or less degree idealized, the hand must be trained
to its imitation so that it can be written with a more or less
approximation as to form and with natural freedom.

Forgeries thus made by skilful imitators are the most difficult of
detection, as the internal evidence of forgery by tracing is mostly
absent. The evidence of free-hand forgery is chiefly in the greater
liability of the forger to inject into the writing his own unconscious
habit, and to fail to reproduce with sufficient accuracy that of the
original writing, so that when subjected to rigid analysis and
microscopic inspection, the spuriousness is made manifest and
demonstrable. Specific attention should be given to any hesitancy in
form or movement, manifest in angularity or change of direction of
lines, changed relations and proportions of letters, slant of the
writing, its mechanical arrangement, disconnected lines, retouched
shades, etc.

Photographs, greatly enlarged, of both the signatures in question and
the exemplars placed side by side for comparison will greatly aid in
making plain any evidences of forgery by tracing.

It sometimes occurs that the forger, fearful that his attempt to
imitate another's writing would be too easily detected if made with a
free hand, sketches in pencil the characters he intends to make in ink
on the document, or traces them by means of blackened paper at the
appropriate place. The evidences of this are very likely to appear
when the document is examined in transmitted light.

It is often asserted in trials that tracings of a genuine signature
invariably show hesitation and painting. This is not always the fact.
Tracings proven and subsequently admitted to have been such have shown
an apparent absence of all constraint, and a careful examination of
the result revealed no pause of the pen. But, on the other hand, these
freely written tracings have invariably shown either a deviation from
some habitual practice of the writer, or, if the model was followed
with skill, two or three such tracings, when photographed on a
transparent film and superposed, have shown such exact resemblances as
to proclaim their character at once.

The natural tendency of man is to introduce some elements of symbolism
in what he is attempting to trace and to seek some sort of geometrical
symmetry in what he designs. Wherever he is not restricted by certain
forms which he must introduce, and which may render a balance of parts
about a median line unattainable, he tends to evolve symmetrical
designs, as in the highest and simplest forms of ancient architecture.
When the parts of the design are prescribed, as in the representation
of objects in nature, he soon tires of mere mechanical repetition of
the same things in a given sequence, and strives to convey some
ulterior idea by the manner of joining these parts. This gives life
and language to sculpture and painting, and gives character to
handwriting. Tracing signatures is one of the most common and
dangerous methods of forgery. Some specimens of traced signatures are
illustrated and explained in an Appendix at the end of this book.



CHAPTER III

HOW FORGERS REPRODUCE SIGNATURES

Characteristics Appearing in Forged Signatures--Conclusions Reached by
Careful Examinations--Signatures Written with Little Effort to
Imitate--What a Clever Forger Can Do--Most Common Forgeries of
Signatures--Reproducing a Signature over a Plate of Glass--A Window
Frame Scheme for Reproducing Signatures--How the Paper is Held and
the Ink Applied--How a Genuine Signature is Placed and Used--A
Forger's Process of Tracing a Signature--How to Detect Ear Marks
of Fraud in a Reproduced Signature--Prominent Features of
Signatures Reproduced--Method Resorted to by Novices in Forging
Signatures--Conditions Appearing in All Traced Signatures--Reproduction
of Signatures Adopted by Expert Forgers--Making a Lead-Pencil Copy of a
Signature--Erasing Pencil Signatures Always Discoverable by the Aid of
a Microscope--Appearances and Conditions in Traced Signatures--How to
Tell a Traced Signature--All the Details Employed to Reproduce a
Signature Given--Features in Which Forgers are Careless--Handling of
the Pen Often Leads to Detection--A Noted Characteristic of Reproduced
Signatures--Want of Proportion in Writing Names Should Be
Studied--Rules to Be Followed in Examining Signatures--System Employed
by Experts in Studying Proof of Reproduced Signatures--Bankers and
Business Men Should Avoid Careless Signatures.


In detailing matters which experience suggests as importantly
connected with the examination of disputed signatures, there are none
more essential to a proper consideration of the subject than an
understanding of those characteristics often appearing in forged
signatures, and by which they are distinguished as such. When the
features occurring as a concomitant of most forgeries are understood,
their appearance may suggest a short and easy route to reach a
conclusion: yet the careful and conscientious examiner will, even with
these indications present in a disputed signature, institute a very
careful and detailed study of the latter by comparison with the
standard writings; and with as much effort as if the indications of
forgery were not present. To make these features positive evidence,
each other developed detail must also tend to the same deduction, and
each detail must be compatible with every other feature, and all point
to the same conclusion.

As forgers differ in their capability as to accuracy in simulation,
all grades of its proficiency come up in the experience of those who,
as experts, are called upon to make such matters a study. At one
extreme will be found to occur signatures written with but little
effort to imitate the genuine signature they purport to represent;
with all the intermediate grades of imitation extending to the other
extreme, wherein a skilful forger will, by practice, so simulate the
signature of a person and with such close resemblance that the very
individual whose name is imitated cannot, independently of attending
circumstances, tell the forgery from the signature which he knows he
has written.

Among the most common forgeries of signatures are those which have
been traced from genuine ones, and these are produced in various ways;
the most common method being to place the genuine signature over a
plate of glass horizontally arranged, with a strong light behind it,
or against the window frame, and then to place over the signature so
positioned the paper on which the forgery is to be made. When this has
been done the papers are held in contact firmly, the pen is dipped-in
ink and moved over the paper, guided by the lines of the genuine
signature beneath, which show through the superimposed paper, and by
means of which the form of the signature is transferred to the paper,
which is exteriorly placed.

While the process of tracing produces very nearly the proper form of
the matter thus copied, and if well done by the forger the copy will
in general appearance and to a certain extent resemble in outline the
signature thus traced, there are usually apparent in all reproduced
signatures thus made, peculiarities and ear marks indicating the
manner in which they were produced and by which they can be identified
as such.

One of the most prominent features of reproduced signatures is the
general sameness of the writing as appearing in the uniform width of
the lines, and the omission of the usual shading emphasis. The cause
of this appearance is the absence of habitual pen pressure, and the
necessitated slow movement of the pen held closely in contact with the
paper and by which a uniform and steady flow of ink is deposited
thereon; thus making what should be the heavier and lighter lines of
one width and density as to shading. This method of tracing and
reproducing signatures is that usually resorted to by novices but is
seldom employed by expert forgers.

Another condition appearing in all traced signatures is the absence of
all evidence of pen pressure when examined as a transparency; this
deficiency occurring as consequent upon the manner of moving the pen
over the paper. While signatures thus made may resemble the one from
which they are copied, the only likeness they have is that of
pictorial resemblance and it will be found to be destitute of all the
appearances and indications of habitual writing in other respects.

Another method of tracing signatures is frequently resorted to by
persons adept in the art, and this consists in making a lead-pencil
copy of the genuine signature holding the paper on which the forgery
is to be produced; tracing the outline of the signature by means of a
pencil, and then with ink to write over the pencil copy. But as the
method necessitates the use of an india rubber to remove the surplus
black lead where not covered by the ink, evidences of the use of the
rubber will be found to occur, and traces of the black lead can be
found by the microscope. While the appearances and conditions are
common to traced signatures, there are in addition to their presence
generally found evidences of pauses made in the writing, the effect of
which will appear not as shading of the lines, but as irregularities
or excrescences produced thereon by resting the hand in its movement,
and by which at intervals more ink flowed from the pen than would
occur when the latter was being moved habitually over the paper. Where
the signatures of the same person exactly coincide when one is laid
over the other in parallel arrangement with a strong light behind
them, this condition of their appearance is very positive evidence
that one of them was traced from the other and is a forgery, as it is
a circumstance which cannot possibly occur in the writing of two
signatures produced habitually.

In considering reproduced signatures and forged writing and in
detailing some of the most common features which are found to occur in
it, it must not be understood that all the phenomena attending the
production of forged signatures can be given. Inasmuch as each person
has a peculiar muscular co-ordination that is manifested in the
production of habitually written signatures, so each forger from the
same cause has an individual habit that must be used when simulating;
hence there will be as many styles of writing manifested in production
of forgeries as there are forgers to produce them. No positive rule
can be laid down for the classification of their peculiarities
excepting the manner of accuracy with which the simulation appearing
in them is done. Each case of disputed writing must be examined by
itself, and while there are certain process steps to be followed which
experience suggests as facilitating the analysis, yet the examiner
must wholly depend upon what is seen in the disputed signature that
is, or is not, found in the admittedly genuine writing of the person
whose signature is questioned, and the comparison of the one with the
other.

Reproduced signatures often show a copying effort that is manifested in
the details of their production. These evidences generally appear, in
some instances, as pauses made in the lines connecting the letters of
the signature, where the pen rested while the eye of the forger was
directed from the writing being done to the copy, that the writer could
fix in the mind the form of a succeeding letter. These pauses appear in
different measure of prominence in different forgeries, and there is no
rule as to their measure or appearance. With some forgers the pen rests
with considerable emphasis and with others it is lifted from the paper
and returned to the paper while the eye of the writer goes back to the
copy. With others there will appear but little hesitancy. Some forgers,
well skilled in the art, will, by practicing the simulation until they
have the form of the genuine signature well fixed in the mind, become
enabled to produce a forged copy of a genuine signature that will show
no pauses--hence the absence of pauses is not proof of the genuine
character of a signature. Another common characteristic of forged and
reproduced signatures and particularly such of them as are not traced
and are produced by persons not skilled in the art is found in the
studied appearance which they have, as if written under restraint, and
without the apparent freedom consequent upon habitual writing. Another
characteristic of forged signatures that are not traced from a genuine
signature is that they are written with greater length in proportion
to the width and height of the letters, than occurs in the genuine
signature from which they are copied in imitation. This want of
proportion occurs generally from making the lines connecting the
letters of the signature longer than those of the copy.

At the same time, while these characteristics are common to forged
writing, to make them available in formulating an opinion from an
analysis they must be substantiated by every other occurring in the
writing. It must be clearly kept in view that general impressions
derived from a cursory examination of a disputed or reproduced
signature should have no weight in the mind of the examiner before
proceeding with the analysis, as such an impression is apt to lead the
investigation into a particular line of research and it should be
understood that the work of the examiner must relate to the comparison
of the details in each of the writings as to their correspondence or
difference.

As before stated in this chapter, and a fact that should be remembered
in studying fraudulent signatures, that one of the commonest and
easiest means of reproducing a signature is to put the genuine
signature on a piece of glass, lay another piece of glass on top of it
and fasten the piece of paper that is to receive the forgery on top of
that. Then by holding the glass strips to a bright light, the original
signature casts a shadow through, which may be traced in pencil. From
this tracing the ink forgery is completed.

But when a forgery done in this way is put under a strong magnifying
lens it will not bear scrutiny. If the original has a strong down
stroke on the capital letters the movement will be free and will leave
the pen lines with smooth edges. The man who is tracing such letters
cannot trust himself to the same free movement of the pen and the
result under the glass shows hesitancy and uncertainty. Also if other
lines in the signature be lighter than the forger naturally uses the
same hesitancy will be shown. When the lines have passed scrutiny, too,
there is another "line" test which will show that the impossibility of
one's writing two signatures alike has been accomplished.

From dotted points made above the genuine signature straight lines are
drawn radiating from it to certain portions of certain letters in the
signature that is forged. When the forged signature is replaced in the
glass and the other on top, as is done in the tracing, these radiating
lines will fall one upon the other with the exactness of the lines in
the signatures.

These radiating lines, too, may be used in the few cases where the
forger is an expert penman depending upon an offhand duplication of a
signature. This penman will have his inevitable natural slant to his
letters. This characteristic slant never is the same in two individuals.
In his free and easy forgery of a name written by another person this
"Jim, the penman" exposes his acquired slant which disputes the original.

This slant of individual writing shows especially in any attempt to
write a forged letter or document. When the pen scope of the original
has been lined out, proving the characteristic common lengths between
the lifting of the pen from the paper, the lines radiating from the
points to individual letters in words or groups of words in authentic
and bogus specimens, these radiations point at once to the fact that
the same person did not write the matter.

These are some of the things upon which the handwriting expert works
upon and brings to bear in proof of reproduced signatures and
handwriting in general. How the more or less inexpert person discovers
questionable showing in these duplications are many. His intuitions
may suggest his doubts. Material evidences may have come to bear upon
him. Likelihood of some one person's having self-interests in the
matter may induce him to make sure.

In the case of a banker or business man, having large interests and
required to affix his signature to many papers of moment, he ordinarily
makes it certain that through adapted whorls and freehand sweeps of the
pen, the signature will be least careless and inviting to the
adventurous forger. In much of his personal correspondence with
strangers, however, this adapted and unusual signature frequently
becomes a source of loss to himself and irritation to his correspondents.
In the case of hundreds of such individuals, the writing to a stranger
in expectation of a reply becomes an absurdity for the reason that
the person addressed is hopelessly barred from reading the name
attached to the letter. A plain signature is always the best.



CHAPTER IV

ERASURES, ALTERATIONS AND ADDITIONS

What Erasure Means--The English Law--What a Fraudulent Alteration
Means--Altered or Erased Parts Considered--Memoranda of Alterations
Should Always Accompany Paper Changed--How Added Words Should
be Treated--How to Erase Words and Lines Without Creating
Suspicion--Writing Over an Erasure--How to Determine Whether or
Not Erasures or Alterations Have Been Made--Additions and
Interlineations--What to Apply to the Suspected Document--The
Alcohol Test Absolute--How to Tell which of Crossing Ink Lines were
Made First--Ink and Pencil Alterations and Erasures--Treating Paper
to Determine Erasures, Alterations and Additions--Appearance of
Paper Treated as Directed--Paper That Does Not Reveal Tampering--How
Removal of Characters From a Paper is Effected--Easy Means of
Detecting Erasures--Washing With Chemical Reagents--Restoration of
Original Marks--What Erasure on Paper Exhibits--Erasure in
Parchments--Identifying Typewritten Matter--Immaterial
Alterations--Altering Words in an Instrument--Alterations and
Additions Are Immaterial When Interests of Parties Are Not Changed
or Affected--Erasure of Words in an Instrument.


Erasure or erazuer, as it is more commonly called in England, from the
Latin word "scrape or shave" is the scraping or shaving of a deed,
note, signature, amount or of any formal writing. In England, except
in the case of a will, the presumption, in the absence of rebutting
testimony, is that the erasure was made at or before the execution
thereof. If an alteration or erasure has been made in any instrument
subsequent to its execution, that fact ought to be mentioned (in the
abstract or epitome of the evidence of ownership) together with the
circumstances under which it is done.

A fraudulent alteration, if made by the person himself, taking under
it would vitiate his interest altogether. It was formerly considered
that an alteration, erasure or interlineation would void the
instrument entirely, even in those cases where it was made by a
stranger; but the law is now otherwise, as it is clearly settled that
no alterations made by a stranger will prevent the contents of an
instrument from retaining its original effect and operation, where it
can be plainly shown what that effect and operation actually was. To
accomplish this the mutilated instrument may be given in evidence as
far as its contents appear and evidence will be admitted to show what
portions have been altered or erased, and also the words contained in
such altered or erased parts; but if, for want of such evidence or any
deficiency or uncertainty arising out of it the original contents of
the instruments cannot be ascertained, then the old rule would become
applicable or more correctly speaking, the mutilated instrument would
become void for uncertainty. If a will contains any alterations or
erasures, the attention of the witnesses ought to be directed to the
particular parts in which such alterations occur, and they ought to
place their initials in the margin opposite, before the will is
executed, etc., notice this having been done by a memorandum added to
the attestation clause at the end of the will.

In Scotland the rule as to erasure is somewhat stricter than in
England and the United States, the legal inferences being that such
alterations were made after execution. As to necessary or bona-fide
alterations which may be desired by the parties, corrections or
clerical errors and the like after a paper is written out but before
signature, the rule usually followed is that the deed must show that
they have been advisedly adopted by the party; and this will be
effected by mentioning them in the body of the writing. Thus if some
words are erased and others superinduced, you mention that the
superinduced words were written over an erasure; if words are simply
delite that fact is noticed, if words are added it ought to be on the
margin and such additions signed by the party with his Christian name
on one side and his surname on the other; and such marginal addition
must be noticed in the body of the work so as to specify the page on
which it occurs, the writer of it and that it is subscribed by the
attesting witness.

The Roman rule was that the alterations should be made by the party
himself and a formal clause was introduced with their deeds to that
effect.

As a general rule alterations with the pen are in all cases to be
preferred to erasure; and suspicion will be most effectually removed
by not obliterating the words altered so completely as to conceal the
nature of the correction.

The law of the United States follows that of England and Scotland in
regard to alterations and erasures.

If any one will try the experiment of erasing an ink-mark on ordinary
writing paper, and then writing over the erasure, he will notice a
striking difference between the letters on the unaltered surface. The
latter are broader, and in most cases, to the unaided eye, darker in
color, while the erased spot, if not further treated to some substitute
for sizing, may be noticed either when the paper is held between a
light and the eye, or when viewed obliquely at a certain angle, or in
both cases.

Very frequently it happens that so much of the size and the
superficial layer of fibres must be removed that the mark of the ink
can be distinctly seen on the reverse side of the paper, and the lines
have a distinct border which makes them broader than in the same
writing under normal conditions. If a sharp pen be used there is great
likelihood that a hole will be made in the paper, or a sputter thrown
over the parts adjacent to the erasure.

The latter effect is produced by the entanglement of the point of the
pen among the disturbed fibres of the paper and its sudden release
when sufficient force is used to carry it along in the direction of
the writing.

It is often of importance to know, in case of a blot, whether the
erasure it may partially mark was there before the blot, or whether it
was made with the object of removing the latter.

Inasmuch as an attempt to correct such a disfigurement would in all
probability not be made until the ink had dried, an inspection of the
reverse side of the paper will usually furnish satisfactory evidence
on the point. If the color of the ink be not more distinct on the
under side of the paper than the color of other writing where there
was no erasure, it is probable that the erasure was subsequent to the
blot.

If the reverse be the case, the opposite conclusion may be drawn.
Blots are sometimes used by ignorant persons to conceal the improper
manipulation of the paper, but they are not adapted to aid this kind
of fraud, and least of all to conceal erasures.

The decision as to whether they have been made legitimately and before
a paper was executed, or subsequently to its execution, and with
fraudulent intent, must be arrived at by a comparison of the
handwriting in which the words appear, the ink with which they were
written, and the local features of each special case which usually are
not wanting.

To determine whether or not papers contain erasures the suspected
document should be examined by reflected and transmitted light.
Examine the surface for rough spots. Forgers after erasures frequently
endeavor to hide the scratched and roughened surface by applying a
sizing of alum, sandarach powder, etc., rubbing it to restore the
finish to the paper.

Distilled water applied to the suspected document at the particular
points under examination will dissolve the sizing applied by the
forger. If held to the light the thinning will show. The water may be
applied with a small brush or a medicine dropper. Water slightly
warmed may be used with good results at times.

Alcohol, if applied as described for water, will act more promptly and
show the scratched places. It may be well to use water first and then
alcohol.

To discover whether or not acids were used to erase, if moistened
litmus-paper be applied to the writing, the litmus-paper will become
slightly red if there is any acid remaining on the suspected document.
If the suspected spots be treated with distilled water, or alcohol, as
already described, the doctored place will show, when examined in
strong light.

Which of two inklines crossing each other was made first, is not
always easy of demonstration. To the inexperienced observer the
blackest line will always appear to be on top, and unless the examiner
has given much intelligent observation to the phenomenon and the
proper methods of observing it mistakes are very liable to be made.
Owing to the well-known fact that an inked surface presents a stronger
chemical affinity for ink than does a paper surface, when one ink-line
crosses another, the ink will flow out from the crossing line upon the
surface of the line crossed, slightly beyond where it flows upon the
paper surface on each side, thus causing the crossing line to appear
broadened upon the line crossed. Also an excess of ink will remain in
the pen furrows of the crossing line, intensifying them and causing
them to appear stronger and blacker than the furrows of the line
crossed.

It is probable that ink and pencil alterations and erasures are more
frequently made with a sharp steel scraper and ink-erasing sand rubber
than otherwise. By these methods the evidence--first, the removal of
the luster or mill-finish from the surface of the paper; second, the
disturbance of the fibre of the paper, manifest under a microscope;
third, if written over, the ink will run or spread more or less in the
paper, presenting a heavier appearance, and the edges of the lines will
be less sharply defined; fourth, if erasure is made on ruled paper, the
base line will be broken or destroyed over the scraped or rubbed
surface; fifth, the paper, since it has been more or less reduced in
thickness where the erasure has been made, when held to the light will
show more or less transparency. When erasures have been thus made the
surface of the paper may be resized and polished, by applying white
glue, and rubbing it over with a burnisher. When thus treated it may be
again written over without difficulty. When erasures have been made
with acids, there is a removal of the gloss, or mill-finish; and there
is also more or less discoloration of the paper, which will vary
according to the kind of paper, ink, and acid used, and the skill with
which it has been applied. If the acid-treated surface is again written
over, the writing will present a more or less ragged and heavy
appearance, if the paper has not been first skillfully resized and
burnished. It is very seldom that writing can be changed by erasure so
as not to leave sufficient traces to lead to detection and
demonstration through a skillful examination.

Upon hard uncalendered paper erasures by acid when skillfully made are
not conspicuously manifest, nor when made upon any hard paper which
has been "wet down" for printing, since the luster upon the paper
would be thereby removed, and, so far as the surface of the paper is
concerned, there would be no further change from the application of
the acid. This applies to a wide range of printed blank business and
professional forms.

A forgery consists either in erasing from a document certain marks
which existed upon it, or in adding others not there originally, or in
both operations, of which the first mentioned is necessarily
antecedent to the last; as where one character or series of characters
is substituted for another.

The removal of characters from a paper is effected either by erasure
(seldom by pasting some opaque objects over the characters, painting
over them, or affixing a seal, wafer, etc., to the spot where they
existed) or by the use of chemical agents with the object of
dissolving the writing fluid and affecting the underlying paper or
parchment as little as possible.

If the erasure be effected by scratching or rubbing, this removes also
the surface of the paper, which consists of some sort of "size" or
paste with resin soap, which is pressed into the upper pores to give
the paper a smooth appearance, and to prevent the writing fluid from
"running," or entering the pores and blurring the edges of the lines.

If the paper were left as it exists when the scratching or rubbing is
completed, it would be very easy to see that it had been tampered
with, for not only would the parts thus abrased show the running of
any fluid which was subsequently laid upon them, but the surface would
appear rough to the eye in comparison with adjacent parts of the
paper, and the place would appear thinner by transmitted light. Even
to the touch the surface would reveal differences from the ordinary
condition of other parts of the paper.

But the forger usually endeavors to overcome these difficulties by
applying to the scratched area sandarach, resin, alum, paste, or two
or three of these together, the effect being to prevent an unusually
large flow of ink from the pen and its abnormal absorption by the
paper.

The paper should be placed between the observer and a strong light, by
which means, either with or without a magnifying-glass, a distinct
increase in the brightness of the suspected area may be noticed,
indicating a thinning, and even traces of letters, or marks which have
escaped the erasing-tool, may be seen.

A close scrutiny may show places where the surface has been partially
torn, and the fibres of the paper united together into little knobs,
and almost invariably a magnifying-glass will clearly show the
disturbance of the superficial fibres, as compared with other and
normal parts of the paper. If the latter be tinted, the change of
appearance may extend to color. The color of the paper should always
be attentively observed.

A change of color over the part which is the subject of investigation
may indicate the mechanical removal of the paper itself, or a washing
either with water or with acids, alkalies, or saline solutions. A
certain spotted character which follows this latter treatment differs
from the changes of color due to age or soiling.

When the heavier strokes--usually the down strokes--of a writing are
thicker and more blurred than usual a removal of sizing is indicated,
or an original imperfect sizing of the paper.

On the contrary, where the strokes are thinner and closer together
than usual, the cause is generally the application of resin, which has
been added, in all probability, to conceal a previous scratching of
the surface.

The spots produced by washing are more like penumbra, or blurred marks
bordering the tracings of the character, and are generally colored.

In order to bring out any traces of ink-marks which have been so far
removed as not to be observable by the naked eye, Coulier recommended
the placing of the document between sheets of white filter paper and
passing a hot flatiron over it, allowing the latter to remain on the
spotted parts for a short time. Another method is to wet the suspected
paper or document with alcohol, wrapped in another piece of paper also
saturated with alcohol, for the purpose of bringing out as yellow
rusty marks all the pen strokes which had not been entirely removed by
erasure.

This treatment fixes the appearance of the spread lines and colored
spots in the space that has been washed and renders more noticeable
the stain caused by a partial sizing. In this manner apparently white
paper on which at first no traces of characters could be found showed
a yellow tinge, denoting the presence of previous writing, and on the
application of gallic acid and an infusion of nut-galls became
sufficiently distinct to permit the erasure and forgery to be
detected.

When an erasure is made on the surface of such a paper, the mineral
and organic materials of the sizing and loading are removed, and the
fibres of the paper which they unite are deranged in form and
position. Such a surface exhibits invariably the teased-up ends of the
fibres, and generally shows by the agreement in their direction in
what way the scratching was done.

Even in cases where a substitute for the sizing has been so
successfully added that no change in color or surface is observable,
the fibres will show by their unusual positions that they have been
disturbed. When an attempt has been made to write over the place
without sufficiently restoring the sizing, the effects can be seen in
the running of the ink between the fibres and the staining of the body
of the paper to a considerable depth from the surface and to a
considerable distance from the spot.

Erasures in parchments produce prominences on the opposite side of the
sheet. The ink placed upon such erasures has a peculiar bluish tinge.
It happens at times that a whole page is taken out, either by
scratching or rubbing with pumice (which was the practice in the
eleventh century, when a parchment became so valuable that it was
common to keep up the supply by erasing the writing on old parchments)
or by washing.

When the latter method was used, the writing as in palimpsests can be
made to reappear by warming. The parchment can be either laid on a hot
plate or pressed with a hot flatiron between two sheets of paper.

Where the supposed writer of a document was a bad or careless penman
the interlineations or additions are generally distinguished from his
handwriting, which they simulate, by greater clearness and precision,
as has been said above; for when a man will risk being sent to jail
for forgery it is not likely that he is willing to lose any
prospective advantage which his felony will bring him by lack of
distinctness in the characters by means of which it is perpetrated.

Considering the number of fraudulent additions or interlineations
which are constantly made, the number of mistakes in spelling or in
following the method employed by the supposed writer in forming the
same words is surprisingly great. Several instances are recalled where
the name of the supposed writer was not only mispelled but spelled in
two different ways in the same instrument. It occasionally seems as if
the forger's attention is so earnestly directed to overcoming the
difficult parts of his task that he neglects the simpler and more
obvious parts. A forger generally leaves some telltale marks to make
his detection certain.

Since typewriting has come so generally into use, the question often
arises as to the identity of typewriting by different operators as
well as that done on different machines. This may usually be done with
considerable degree of certainty. Different operators have their own
peculiar methods, which differ widely in many respects,--in the
mechanical arrangement, as to location of date, address, margins,
punctuation, spacing, signing, as well as impression from touch, etc.

The distinctive character of the writing done on different machines is
usually determined with absolute certainty. With most machines there
are accidental variations in alignment. Certain letters from use
become more or less imperfect, or become filled or fouled with ink. It
is highly improbable that any one even of these accidents should occur
in precisely the same way upon two machines, and that any two or more
should do so is well nigh impossible. It is equally certain that all
the habits and mannerisms of the operators would not be precisely the
same. A careful comparison of different typewritings in these respects
cannot fail to determine whether they are written by the same operator
or upon the same machine. It should be remembered that writing upon
the same machine will differ in all the respects mentioned at
different stages of its use and condition.

An immaterial alteration is one which does not change the legal effect
or significance of an instrument. If what has been written upon or
erased from the instrument has no tendency to mislead any person to
the instrument, it will not be an alteration; it is immaterial also
where the meaning is in no manner varied or changed.

The courts uniformly hold that an immaterial alteration should be
treated as no alteration and therefore does not avoid the instrument.

Altering words in the instrument without changing the legal sense or
altering immaterial words is an immaterial alteration.

Retracing a faded name with ink, or tracing a word with ink written
with pencil, is immaterial.

Alterations and additions in deeds are immaterial where neither the
rights or duties, interests or obligations, of either of the parties
to the instrument are in any manner changed or affected.

A promissory note made payable to a partnership under a certain name
was altered by the maker and the payee without the knowledge of the
surety so as to be payable to the same parties under another name and
the court held it to be immaterial.

But the effect of the correction must be that it makes the instrument
conform to the intention of the parties concerned, nor must they alter
the legal sense of the instrument. Memoranda made on the margin of the
note for the convenience of the holder and merely explanatory of some
circumstances connected with the note are immaterial. The erasure of
words immaterial to the legal sense of the instrument or inserted by
mistake, is also immaterial.

Where an alteration is in itself immaterial it will not void an
instrument even though made with fraudulent intent.

In Missouri it has been held that any alteration material or
immaterial, made fraudulently or innocently, avoids a note in the
hands of one who made the alteration. But in a later Missouri case, it
is held, that the addition of the signature of a married woman without
a separate estate to a note already issued was a nullity and without
legal effect and therefore to be considered as no alteration and not
to discharge the original parties.



CHAPTER V

HOW TO WRITE A CHECK TO PREVENT FORGING

How a Paying Teller Determines the Amount of a Check--Written Amount
and Amount in Figures Conflict--Depositor Protected by Paying
Teller--Chief Concern of Drawer of a Check--Transposing
Figures--Writing a Check That Cannot Be Raised--Writers Who Are
Easy Marks for Forgers--Safeguards for Those Who Write Checks--An
Example of Raised Checks--Payable "To Bearer" is Always a
Menace--Paying Teller and an Endorsement System Must Be Observed in
Writing Checks--How a Check Must Be Written to Be Absolutely Safe--A
Signature that Cannot Be Tampered with Without Detection--Paying
Tellers Always Vigilant.


Among the casual patrons of the average bank there is a superstition
that in presenting a check at a teller's window the amount of the
check shall be determined by the amount spelled out in the body of the
check, without regard to the figures written at the top or bottom of
the slip.

Nothing could be farther from the facts as they are accepted at the
bank window. As a matter of fact, when a check made out in this
erroneous way comes to a teller's window he is most likely to refuse
to pay either amount. There is no law, written or unwritten, to
justify the paying of the amount spelled out in the body of the check,
regardless of the group of figures on its face. This figure group is
designed merely to check and justify the written amount, but if there
is a discrepancy between the two amounts there is nothing to indicate
that it is not the written amount that is wrong and the figure group
that is right.

Under such circumstances the chief duty of the teller is to protect
the depositor who has drawn the check on his bank. The person who
presents the check for payment manifestly has been a party to the
mistake in not having read over the check carefully before receiving
it. If the payee is unknown to the teller and if the discrepancy is at
all material, the teller turns the check back with the advice that the
payee look up the drawer and have the error corrected.

In many cases of discrepancy between the two amounts on the face of a
check the sum involved is the fractional part of the dollar at the end
of the chief figures. This comes about through the drawer's concern
over the main figures in the check. He is likely to write the amount
in letters on the center line of the body of the check, affixing the
fractional part of a dollar in the form of 100th parts of that unit.
In writing the checking group in figures at the upper or lower corner
of the slip, his chief concern is with the dollars and in his care he
is likely to overlook the odd cents first entered on the face of the
paper. Or if he attempts to write the figures "74" cents in repetition
it is likely that they may be transposed to "47" cents in the
operation.

How to write this check in order that it may not be tampered with and
"raised" is something that has held the attentions and invited the
inventive talents of many people, in and out of business. Even when
the best of the chemical papers are used in the bank check the drawer
of the paper may have not the slightest protection from "raising" at
the hands of an expert. The manner in which the written and figure
amounts on the face of the check are placed makes the material
alteration of the amount easy beyond question.

For instance, the man who writes with a free, flowing, rounded hand
and leaves roomy spaces everywhere between words and figures becomes
an easy mark for a forger. This man is called upon to draw his check
for $4, even. He takes his check book and in the dollar line writes
the word "four" in his rounded hand, simply filling the rest of the
lined space with the plain flourish of his pen. Then in the upper
corner of the check he writes the attesting figure $4, with a dash
after it. That makes it a cinch for an expert check raiser to make it
$40 or $400 or $4,000.

Manifestly the only safeguard for such a check as this, even if it be
drawn upon chemical paper, is for the drawer to follow close upon the
written "four" with the blocking "No-100th" dollars, using the same
fraction as closely after the figure "4" in the corner of the check.
To leave no possible room after a final written or figure amount on a
check is the best possible precaution against raising it. For with
many checks the printed warning "Not good if drawn for more than one
hundred dollars," is a worthless precaution. In the above example it
is so, for the reason that raised as it is the amount still is within
the limit. Had the check been drawn in the same style for "six"
dollars, it would have been more easily and profitably raised to
"sixty." In the same general manner a slovenly "two" may be raised to
"twenty," "three" may be "thirty," "five" is made "fifty," "seven"
becomes "seventy," "eight" becomes "eighty," and "nine" is transformed
into "ninety"--all without erasures and without leaving telltale marks
upon a chemical paper.

In this way the average check which is made payable "to bearer" may be
a potential menace in a slow course through a dozen hands. While a
bank may require the holder of a "bearer" check to indorse his name
upon the back, that indorsement means nothing to him. The check is
payable to the bearer and the teller must pay it if it appears all
right and he is certain of the signature at the bottom.

For the average man who may write his checks at a desk, and who may be
willing to observe some system in the writing, perhaps the safest and
cheapest protection for his paper is to repeat in red-ink figures the
amount for which the check is drawn, placing those figures on the
signature line at the bottom in such a manner that the black-ink
signature will be woven through the red-ink group. Virtually there is
no way of getting around this form of duplicated amount. The red
figures show plainly through the signature and cannot be changed
without affecting the form and character of the signature itself. To
affect a signature in this way is to call attention to the fraud
instantly. A man may make a shaky mismove of the pen somewhere in the
body of the check, and if it is not too prominent a teller may take a
chance and pass it; but he will shy at a signature which isn't what it
ought to be--that subtle sixth sense of the old teller prompts him to
it before he knows why, and a paying teller is always vigilant.



CHAPTER VI

METHODS OF FORGERS, CHECK AND DRAFT RAISERS

Professional Forgers and Their Methods--Using Engravers and
Lithographers--Their Knowledge of Chemicals--Patching Perforated
Paper--Difficult Matter to Detect Alterations and Forgeries--Selecting
Men for the Work--The Middle Man, Presenter, and Shadow--Methods
for Detecting Forgery--Detail Explanation of How Forgers
Work--Altering and Raising Checks and Drafts--A Favorite Trick of
Forgers--Opening a Bank Account for a Blind--Private Marks on Checks
no Safeguard--How a Genuine Signature Is Secured--Bankers Can
Protect Themselves--A Forger the Most Dangerous Criminal--Bankers
Should Scrutinize Signatures--Sending Photograph with Letter of
Advice--How to Secure Protection Against Forgers--Manner in Which
Many Banks Have Been Swindled--Points About Raising Checks and
Drafts That Should Be Carefully Noted.


A professional forgery band consists of first, a capitalist or backer;
second, the actual forger, known among his associates as the
"scratcher"; third, the man who acts as confidential agent for the
forger, known as the "middle man"; fourth, the man who presents the
forged paper at the bank for payment, known as the "layer down" or
presenter.

When it is necessary to have a capitalist or backer connected with a
band he furnishes the funds for the organization, frequently lays out
the plans for work and obtains the genuine paper from which forgeries
are made. He will, when necessary, find the engraver, the lithographer
and most important of all, the "professional forger," who will do the
actual forgery work.

The professional forger has, as a rule, considerable knowledge of
chemicals, which enables him to alter checks, drafts, bills of
exchange, letters of credit, or to change the names on registered
bonds. He is something of an artist, too, for with a fine camel's hair
brush he can restore the most delicate tints in bank safety paper,
which tints have been destroyed by the use of acids. In fact no bank
safety paper is a protection against him.

When the amount of the genuine draft or check is perforated in the
paper, certain forgers have reached such perfection in their work as
to enable them to cut out the perforation, put in a patch about the
same as a shoemaker does with a shoe and then skilfully color the
patch to agree with the original, so that it becomes a very difficult
matter to detect the alterations even with the use of a microscope.
This done and the writing cleaned off the face of the draft, check,
letter of credit, or bill of exchange, with only the genuine signature
left and the tints on the paper restored, the forger is prepared to
fill up the paper for any amount decided upon.

The backer or capitalist is rarely known to any member of the band
outside the "go-between," whom he makes use of to find the forger. He
very rarely allows himself to become known to the men who "present"
the forged paper at the banks. If the forgery scheme is successful,
the backer receives back the money paid out for the preparation of the
work as well as any amount he may have lent the "band" to enable them
to open accounts at banks where they propose placing the forged paper.
He is also allowed a certain percentage on all successful forgeries,
this percentage running from 20 to 30 per cent; but where the backer
and forger are working together, their joint percentage is never less
than 50 per cent.

It is an invariable rule followed by the backer and forger that in
selecting a middle man they select one who not only has the reputation
of being a "stanch" man, but he must also be a man who has at least
one record of conviction standing against him. This is for the
additional protection of the backer and forger, as they know that in
law the testimony of an accomplice who is also a former convict must
be strongly corroborated to be believed.

Out of their first successful forgeries a certain sum from each man's
share is held by the middle man to be used in the defense of any
member of the band who may be arrested on the trip. This money is
called "fall money" and is used to employ counsel for the men under
arrest or to do anything for them that may be for their interest.

When a "middle man" is exceedingly cautious and not entirely satisfied
with the "presenters" he will sometimes have an assistant. This is
where the "shadow" comes in. This shadow will under the direction of
the "middle man" follow the "presenter" into the bank and report fully
on his actions. He sometimes catches the "presenter" in an attempt to
swindle his companions by claiming that he did not get the money, but
had to get out of the bank in a hurry and leave the check or draft, as
the paying teller was suspicious.

A "presenter" caught at this trick is sometimes sent into a bank to
present a forged check where the bank has been previously warned of
his coming by an anonymous letter. This is done as a punishment for
his dishonesty and as a warning to others against treachery.

That the professional forger eventually profits but little by his
ill-gotten gains is well illustrated by the fate of the most of them,
who end their days in prison.

In the case of a forgery there are a dozen methods for detecting
it--in the quality of the ink, in the quality of paper, in microscopic
examination of the irregularities in penmanship, in "labored" tracings
that show exaggerated tracings, in composite photography, and by a
dozen little common-sense observations that scarcely can be
controverted.

Some forgeries have been detected by the mere water-mark in the paper.
Sittl of Munich is quoted as having had referred to him a possible
forgery of a document dated 1868. Holding the paper to the light, he
found as a water-mark in it the figure of the eagle of the German
Empire--a symbol which had not been adopted at all until after the
French war of 1870.

The magnifying glass is depended upon for many disclosures of
forgeries. The unduly serrated edges of the ink lines are quickly
marked in a forgery, though under certain circumstances a situation
may be such as to force a person into this laborious writing; he may
be cramped up in bed, writing on a book held in his lap, or he may be
in a mental strain that produces it.

There are minds so easily impressed with a sense of responsibility
that the writing or signing of any paper important in its bearing on
the writer or his property will cause him to disguise his hand to some
extent involuntarily, as many persons disguise their features
involuntarily when being photographed.

As to signatures especially, attention is called to the "tremor of
fraud," which is to be detected by the microscope, and stress is laid
upon the necessity of observing just where this tremor falls. If it is
in a difficult flourish of the signature and not elsewhere it indicates
fraud; or if it be tremulous to the eye, in imitation of the signature
of an aged person, a smooth, curved line may be the index of "the
difficulty experienced by a good penman in feigning to be a bad one."

The microscope is useful and valuable in determining whether erasures
have been made on paper. Also it will discover which of two crossed
lines was last written. It may determine whether the ragged edges of
the ink lines are those of fraud, illiteracy, or old age.

The practice of forging the names of depositors in banks to checks,
drafts, notes, and in fact to all papers representing a money value,
has been practiced, probably, since the creation of man. Of course the
law recognizes forgery as a serious crime, and everywhere the
punishment is severe. In the seventeenth century it was a capital
offense in England, and there were more persons executed for that
crime than there were for murder. Notwithstanding the rigorous penalty
prescribed in every state in the Union, forgery is carried on to an
alarming extent, sometimes by trusted employees, as well as
professionals.

The raising of checks and drafts is the principal method employed by
the men who make a business of defrauding the unwary. The simplest way
of explaining the operation of raising a draft or check is as follows:

Two men are necessary for success at any given point, and hence they
are not so liable to detection as if a number of confederates were
engaged. It is the business of one of these men to enter a bank, and
purchase a draft on New York City, for a certain amount of money,
usually about fifteen hundred dollars, and a short time after this
another draft would be procured from the same bank for a small amount,
seldom over ten dollars. These drafts procured, they are handed to the
"raiser," or the man who is to alter the paper for their dishonest
purposes. In a short time the small draft is raised to be a perfect
duplicate of the large one, in every sense of the word, both as
regards number, amount, place of presentation, etc.

This work of alteration being fully completed, one of the men would
then remove to another city, and forward the "raised" draft to New
York, by express, for collection, or else would go to that city
himself, and have it cashed through some respectable person.
Immediately on receiving the money he would telegraph his companion,
in words previously agreed upon, informing him of the successful
result of the first move. The other confederate, upon the receipt of
this information, would at once go to the bank where the drafts had
been procured, and presenting the genuine draft for the large amount
of money, would request that the money be refunded, giving as an
excuse for not using it, either that he could not be identified in the
New York bank, and for that reason could not collect it, or that the
business he had procured it for had not been consummated. The bank
officials would recognize him as the person who purchased the draft,
and would unhesitatingly hand him back the money which he had paid. Of
course he would quickly disappear from the locality, never to be seen
in it again--and the forgery would not be discovered until, in the
due course of ordinary business, when the other draft for the same
amount would be returned for payment.

A favorite trick of forgers, and check and draft raisers, who operate
on an extensive scale, is for one of them to open an office in a city,
and represent himself as a cattle dealer, lumber merchant, or one
looking about for favorable real-estate investments. His first move is
to open a bank account, and then works to get on friendly terms with
the cashier. He always keeps a good balance--sometimes way up in the
thousands--and deports himself in such a manner as to lead to the
belief that he is a highly honorable gentleman, and the bank officials
are led to the belief that he will eventually become a very profitable
customer.

Occasionally he has a note, for a small amount to begin with, always
first-class, two-name paper, and he never objects--usually insists--in
paying a trifle more than the regular discount. At first the bank
officials closely examine the paper offered, and of course find that
the endorsers are men of high standing, and then their confidence in
the "cattle king" is unbounded. Gradually the notes increase in amount,
from a thousand to fifteen hundred dollars, and from fifteen hundred to
two or three thousand. The notes are promptly paid at maturity. After
the confidence of the bank people has been completely gained, the
swindler makes a strike for his greatest effort. He comes in the bank
in a hurry, presents a sixty-day note, endorsed by first-class men, for
a larger amount than he has ever before requested, and it generally
happens that he gets the money without the slightest difficulty. Then
he has a sudden call to attend to important business elsewhere. When
the note or notes mature, it is discovered to be a clever forgery. This
has been done time and again, and it is rare that the forger has been
apprehended.

The forgery of checks is a common offense. It takes more than one man
to successfully perform this operation. The forger himself is known as
the "scratcher," or the expert penman of the party. The "middle man"
is the fellow who conducts the business negotiations, ostensibly as a
merchant, and the "layer-down" is the man who presents the check to
the bank and secures the cash. The middle man must have a pleasing
address, and be thoroughly posted on the commercial news of the day,
and it is requisite that the layer-down be well dressed, quick witted,
and possessed of an unlimited amount of polite assurance, a cheek that
never pales and an eye that never droops. In selecting a person to
fill this important position, the forger prefers to have a man who
has, at some time or other, been convicted of crime, so that in case
of discovery, and the turning of state's evidence by the layer-down
(who is always the man caught) his evidence will not have weight with
a jury. The latest mode is for the forger to imitate a private check
by the photo-lithographic method, after having obtained a signed
check.

The signature, after being photographed, is carefully traced over with
ink, and the body of the check is filled up for whatever amount is
desired. The maker of the check is requested to identify the person
who holds it, and as a general thing he does not wait to see the money
paid. The moment his back is turned, the layer-down palms the small
check and presents the large one. This way of obtaining money is
without the assistance of a middle man. Private marks on a check are
no safeguards at all, although a great many merchants believe they can
prevent forgery by making certain dots, or seeming slips of the pen,
which are known only to the paying teller and themselves. This
precaution becomes useless when the forger uses the camera. Safe
breakers are often called upon by forgers and asked to secure a sheet
of checks out of a checkbook. When this is accomplished a few canceled
checks are taken at the same time. These are given to the forger and
he fills them up for large amounts, after tracing or copying the
signature. The safe burglars receive a percentage on the amount
realized. If your safe vault or desk is broken open, where your
check-book is kept, carefully count the leaves in your check-book,
also your canceled checks. If any are missing, notify the banks, and
begin using a different style of check immediately. The sneak thief,
while plying his trade, often secures unsigned bonds of some
corporation which has put the signed bonds in circulation, leaving the
rest unsigned until the next meeting of the directors.

Frequently unsigned bonds are left in the bank vault for safe keeping.
These are stolen and sent to the penman or "scratcher." Then a genuine
signed bond is purchased, from which the signatures are copied and
then forged. The same trick has been played on unsigned bank notes,
but on the bank notes almost any name will do, as no person looks at
the signature, as long as the note appears genuine.

The ingenuity of a countless army of sharpers is constantly at work in
this country, devising plans to obtain funds dishonestly, without
work, but, in fact, they often expend more time, skill, and labor in
carrying out their nefarious schemes than would serve to earn the sum
they finally secure, by honest labor. Every banker must, therefore, be
on his guard, and should acquaint himself with the most approved means
of detecting and avoiding the most common swindlers. This is just as
necessary as it is to lock his books and cash in his safe before going
home.

Next to the counterfeiter, the forger is the most dangerous criminal
in business life. Transactions involving the largest sums of money are
completed on the faith in the genuineness of a signature. Hence every
effort should be made to acquire the art of detecting an imitation at
a glance. This can be done only by considerable practice. It is
asserted that every signature has character about it which cannot be
perfectly copied, and which can always be detected by an experienced
eye. This is problematical, but certainly a skilful bank teller can
hardly be deceived by the forgery of a name of a well-known depositor.

A banker should accustom himself to scrutinize closely the signatures
of those with whom he deals. He should cut off their names from the
backs of checks and notes, and paste them in alphabetical order in an
autograph book devoted to that purpose, and compare any suspicious
signature with the genuine one.

In consequence of the numerous frauds committed by forged checks, some
of the European bankers have adopted the custom of sending with their
letter of advice a photograph of the person in whose favor the credit
has been issued, and to stop the payment when the person who presents
himself at the bank does not resemble the picture. If this practice
were to become universal, the object of preventing frauds could be
well attained.

Instead of the signature being forged, the amount of a check, etc.,
may be altered. This is done either by changing the letters and
figures, or by the use of an erasive fluid. The perfection with which
the latter alteration can be performed is so complete that the most
skilful eye cannot detect the imposture. A person may deposit a
hundred dollars with a house in New York, and obtain their draft for
that amount on Philadelphia; he then alters the one hundred to one
thousand by erasing a portion of the letters and figures and cashes
the draft at a broker's. The latter recognizes the signature, and has
no suspicion of the fraud until too late.

The means to secure entire protection against this is by using an ink
which cannot be erased by chemicals, or at least such chemicals as are
familiarly known to the class of criminals who make this a specialty.
Every well-regulated bank now uses a machine for punching or
perforating a series of small holes in the check, so that any increase
or decrease of the number of letters written is immediately detected.

Many banks have been swindled in the following manner: A check, say
for ten dollars, is obtained from a depositor of a bank, and a blank
check exactly like the filled-in check is secured. The two checks are
laid one upon the other, so that the edges are exactly even. Both
checks are then torn irregularly across, and in such a way that the
signature on the filled check appears on one piece and the amount and
name of the payee on the other. The checks having been held together
while being torn, of course one piece of blank check will exactly fit
the other piece of the filled check. The swindler then fills in one
piece of the blank check with the name of the payee and an amount to
suit himself, takes it with the piece of the genuine check containing
the signature to the bank, and explains that the check was accidently
torn. The teller can put the pieces together, and as they will fit
exactly, the chances are that he will think that the pieces are parts
of the same check, and becomes a victim of the swindle. The trick, of
course, suggests its own remedy.

It is a well-known fact that there are banks in the country that have
paid thousands of dollars on raised checks, and decided that it was
cheaper for them to pocket the loss than to have the facts become
known.

The New York Court of Appeals holds that the maker of a check is
obliged to use all due diligence in protecting it, and the omission to
use the most effectual protection against alterations is regarded as
an evidence of neglect.

Here are a few points about raising checks and drafts that should be
carefully noted: To successfully raise a check or draft requires so
much less skill or art than to accomplish a forgery that it has of
late become alarmingly prevalent. Often where a check or draft is
printed on ordinary paper the original figures are removed by some
chemical process so skilfully that no alteration can be detected, even
with a strong magnifying glass.

It is not uncommon, when filling up checks or drafts, to take another
pen, and with red ink write the amount across the face of the paper,
and again make the figures in and through the signature. All these
precautions may make tampering with the amount more difficult for a
clumsy novice, but it only imposes a few moments' more work upon the
accomplished manipulator. He takes his strong solution of chloride of
lime and rain water, or other prepared chemicals, and with a pen
suited to the purpose, by neutralizing and abstracting the coloring
properties of the ink, he carefully obliterates such portions of the
lines in the figures and written amounts as suits his purpose, then
easily makes the alteration he desires, the red ink coming out as
readily as black. And if the tint or coloring of the paper should have
been affected by his cautious touch, he takes the proper shade of
crayon or water-color, and carefully replaces the original shade.

Now, the signature not being touched, but remaining genuine, and the
payer not being supposed to know who wrote the check, but only who
signed it, he pays the amount specified, and the law holds the "maker
of the check responsible when there is nothing in its appearance to
excite suspicion, and the signature is proven genuine."



CHAPTER VII

THE HANDWRITING EXPERT

No Law Regulating Experience and Skill Necessary to Constitute An
Expert--Experts Held Competent to Testify in Court--Bank Officials
and Employes Favored--An Expert On Signatures--Methods Experts Employ
to Identify the Work of the Pen--Where and When an Expert's Services
Are Needed--Large Field and Growing Demand for Experts--Qualifications
of a Handwriting Expert--How the Work Is Done--A Good Expert
Continuously Employed--The Expert and the Charlatan--Qualifying as
an Expert--A System Which Produces Results--Principal Tests Applied
by Handwriting Experts to Determine Genuineness--Identification of
Individual by His Handwriting--How to Tell Kind of Ink and Process
Used to Forge a Writing--Rules Followed by Experts in Determining
Cases--The Testimony of a Handwriting Expert--Explaining Methods
Employed to Detect Forged Handwriting--The Courts and Experts--What
an Expert May Testify to--Trapping a Witness--Proving Handwriting
by Experts--General Laws Regulating Experts--The Base Work of a
Handwriting Expert--Important Facts an Expert Begins Examination
With--A Few Words of Advice and Suggestion About "Pen Scope"--Detection
of Forgery Easy If Rules Suggested Are Observed--Expert Witnesses,
Courts, and Jurors.


There is no rule of law fixing the precise amount of experience or
degree of skill necessary to constitute a handwriting expert. The
witness need not be engaged in any particular business or claim to be
a professional expert. He must, however, claim to have experience.
With that limitation, cashiers, paying tellers, other bank officers,
attorneys, bookkeepers, business men, conveyancers, county officials,
photographers, treasurers and clerks of railroads, etc., and writing
teachers have in various cases been held competent to testify as an
expert. And it has been held that experience with handwriting
generally or specially will enable the witness to testify specially or
generally thereto. Bank officials, and especially cashiers, tellers,
and book-keepers, are usually regarded as competent by most courts to
pass authoritatively upon handwriting.

Generally speaking, the witness must claim to be an expert, or at
least show that he had the means of gaining experience. He need not
claim to be an expert, but he must claim to have had such experience
as will make him feel competent to express an opinion.

He may always give the reasons for his opinion, but he must confine
his testimony to his opinion based on the handwriting itself, and not
as affected by the facts of the case. He cannot state any inferences
deduced from the facts. He must also testify himself. Evidence of what
an expert has said with reference to a writing is inadmissible for the
purpose of bringing that opinion before the court.

An expert may be tested with other papers in the case, but not with
irrelevant papers, and the whole of the test paper must be shown him.
He is entitled to see it all.

Letter-press copies and duplicates made by writing machines are not
originals and therefore cannot be used as a standard of comparison.

An expert cannot give an opinion as to the genuineness of a signature
based upon a comparison thereof with signatures not before the court.

The standard of comparison used by the expert must be produced in
court. Photographic copies are admissible when accompanied by the
originals. When original writings are in evidence and the genuineness
thereof disputed, magnified photographic copies of the writing and of
admitted genuine writings are admissible in evidence, for comparison
by jury or expert when accompanied by competent preliminary proof that
the copies are accurate in all respects except as to size and color.

The services of the expert are required in a wide range of civil and
criminal cases. Where handwriting is questioned on notes, checks,
drafts, receipts, wills, deeds, mortgages, bonds, anonymous letters,
money orders, registered letter receipts, letters, pension papers, and
in smuggling, and in short, on any kind of document where it becomes
necessary to establish the identity of the writer, the expert is
called in. Life, liberty, honor, and property are frequently balanced
on a pen point--a few marks of the pen being the determining feature
of many a case.

The handwriting of the schoolboy and schoolgirl, though crude, is
conventional and idealized. It has but few characteristics so long as
the school model or copy-book hand is the goal. The pupil gives
constant attention to the handwriting as well as to the thought. A
number of students of about the same grade, under the same teacher,
will write much alike. Fifteen or twenty of these students could each
write a line on a page and it might baffle a layman, and perhaps
puzzle an expert, to tell whether or not more than one person wrote
the page. This constant striving after one ideal, and putting thought
on the handwriting, had drawn them all toward that ideal and away from
individuality.

The employment of professional handwriting experts as witnesses in
court cases that often involve enormous sums of money, or the liberty
or even the lives of suspected malefactors, has awakened widespread
interest in the methods of this class of experts, their resources and
capabilities in conserving the ends of justice.

Many uninformed people appear to look on the handwriting expert as one
who, by intuition or the possession of some mysterious occult power,
is enabled to distinguish at a glance the true and the spurious in any
questioned handwriting. Nothing could be further from the fact.

The secret of his power--as in any other line of scientific
research--lies wholly in his intimate familiarity with the innumerable
physical details which comprise the written line or word or
letter--sometimes so slight a matter as the dotting of an _i_ or the
placing of a comma. It is precisely the same specialized sense, born
of acute observation and minute scrutiny that enables an expert
chemist to take two powders of like weight and color, identical in
appearance to the common eye and perhaps in taste to the common
palate, and say: This drug is harmless, wholesome; that is a deadly
poison--and to specify not only their various individual constituents
but the exact proportion of each. The trained eye of the handwriting
expert (as in another case could that of the expert chemist) can often
detect at a glance certain distinguishing earmarks of submitted
writing that enable him to fix the identity of the writer almost
off-hand. In the the great majority of cases, however, the cunning of
the forger calls for deliberate, painstaking study and investigation
before the conscientious expert is willing to announce with absolute
surety an opinion so often fraught with tremendous possibilities for
good or for evil.

Nothing else that a person does is so characteristic as the
handwriting, and the identification of the individual can be
established by it better than by portraits or almost any other means.
As lawyers and laymen and courts are finding this out, the handwriting
expert is more and more called upon to untangle snarled questions and
to right wrongs.

It is only when attention is directed to this interesting science by
the wide publicity given to some great case in which handwriting plays
an important part that the notice of the general public is drawn to
it. The average person would be surprised to know of the great number
of cases that find their way to the office of the handwriting expert.
The man who has made a success in this line is constantly in demand,
and makes frequent trips to distant points to appear as witness in
courts.

Though nearly every large town has some one who devotes some attention
to handwriting, there are but five or six men in this country who give
to it practically all of their time, and who have gone very deeply
into the subject.

To allow any person to qualify as an "expert" and to testify as such
is a matter wholly within the discretion of the court. Unfortunately,
courts frequently are lax in determining this question. Almost any one
who can write is permitted to give alleged "expert" testimony
regarding handwriting. In one well-known case, a case, too, involving
life and death--the court unwittingly accepted the "expert" testimony
of a witness who, it was afterward proven, was unable to write even so
much as his own name. In the litigation attending the disposal of
large mining interests held at Butte, Montana, the court permitted
testimony in regard to the handwriting of the testator from a witness
who admitted that he had seen the testator write but once, and that in
lead pencil over twenty years before.

Any one accustomed to writing is usually allowed to qualify as an
"expert." To the lay mind it is natural to confound experts who have
studied the subject deeply in all its various phases with those who
have had occasion to examine it casually, or who may possess uncommon
facility with the pen without ever having had occasion to investigate
scientifically just those little illusive points upon which the
professional expert places his reliance.

Hence, when we read of "experts" being mistaken, or of an equal number
of them appearing on opposite sides of the same case, it will nearly
always be found upon investigation that they are of the class
described above, whose lack of thorough special training and
specialized experience really should have disqualified them from
giving testimony. Though any one may call himself an "expert," or a
"professional expert," for that matter, thus opening the door to
charlatanism in exactly the same manner that it is opened more or less
in all vocations, yet, as a matter of fact, it is very rare that
professional handwriting experts testify to a contrary state of facts,
and the cases in which they have been proven mistaken are remarkably
few.

Experts who have a natural aptitude coupled with experience that
produces skill are able, by a system which they have reduced to a
science, to detect the spurious from the genuine handwriting with
almost unvarying success. But their conclusions are not reached by
second sight or sleight-of-hand methods, but rather by painstaking,
scientific investigation.

Some of the principal tests applied to determine the genuineness of
handwriting are these: The actual and relative slant of the letters or
the angles between their stems and the base; the constancy and
accuracy with which a straight line is followed as a base; the amount
of pressure used on the pen and the part of the stroke where it is
applied, and the positions of the line as a whole relative to the
edges of the paper. The simplest punctuation mark under the microscope
has its own individuality. It would be difficult to find two writers
whose semicolons and quotation marks cannot be distinguished at a
glance. The dotting of the _i_ and crossing of the _t_ afford an
infinite number of relations between points and lines, and in both of
these the time element and the freedom of muscular movement play
important parts. Even the health and self-control of the penman, as
well as the physical circumstances, show their influence on these
little strokes.

The identification of the individual by means of his handwriting is of
great value in legal trials and outside of courts. Its use cannot be
dispensed with any more than can the knowledge obtained in any other
line of science.

One often hears a man boast of his ability to successfully duplicate
another person's signature or handwriting, and to the casual observer
the counterfeit really will bear a striking resemblance to the
original. However, let the two be placed in the hands of an expert on
disputed handwriting and he will pretty quickly determine which is the
original and which the forgery. Furthermore, he will tell you what
process was used to make the duplicate, for there are several methods
in use among forgers, and can even tell the composition of the ink.

In the determination of any handwriting there is no actual rule to
guide an expert, as each case must be a law unto itself. The time of
day that the signature was made and the condition for the moment of
the individual have considerable bearing on the case, as has also the
writer's general physical condition. Whether he was standing or
sitting when the signature was made is a matter of importance. The
quality of the paper and the make of the pen also have to be taken
into consideration. In the case of forgery, where the forger has
employed a finger movement writing with the muscles and apparently
without education, there is scarcely any difficulty in arriving at a
conclusion. The long flowing hand is easy to detect. When, however,
the writing is finical a large mass of material has to be examined
before a decision can be reached.

The testimony of an expert is without doubt the most dangerous kind of
evidence when not supported by additional testimony; but, on the other
hand, if the known facts fit in well, it is the strongest kind of
testimony that can be submitted, and is usually known as "opinioned
evidence." There probably is no class of professional witnesses which
is subjected to such severe cross-examination as experts in
handwriting, and, considering the great importance of their testimony,
they should be ever ready and willing to explain the methods employed
by them in arriving at their decision, which, of course, is the result
of a comparison of the analyses of several pieces of writing, taking
account of all exaggerations, idiosyncrasies and unusual
peculiarities.

All evidence of handwriting, except where the witness has seen the
writing in question written, is derived from four sources: First, from
comparison; second, from the internal evidence of the writing itself;
third, from the knowledge of the writing, from having frequently seen
a person write; fourth, where one has received letters whose
authorship has been subsequently verified by admission, or acted upon
in such manner as to receive the approval of the writer. Comparison is
made between the writing in question and other writing admitted by the
writer to be genuine, or otherwise proved to be so to the satisfaction
of the court.

The evidence adduced from comparison is more or less certain according
to the skill of the expert and the circumstances of the case. Internal
evidence is such as is presented by the peculiar quality of lines when
drawn or worked up by slowly following traced lines, retouched shades,
rubbered surface of the paper, and every indication of an artificial
or mechanical process of producing writing.

Testimony based upon a knowledge of writing gained from having at some
time seen a person write is the most fallacious of all testimony
respecting handwriting; it can be only a mental comparison of writing
in question with such a vague idea or mental picture as may remain
from a casual view of the writing at some time more or less remote;
and besides, one may perceive another in the act of writing and yet
have little or no opportunity of forming any mental conception of it,
even at the time of writing.

In some cases where the courts will permit it the expert witness may
fully explain upon what he bases his opinion but it oftener occurs that
the trial judge will limit the evidence down to the very narrow scope
and the mere relation of such facts as the jury can see. Where a
forgery is well executed the difference in general appearance between
it and the genuine writing of the person whose signature is questioned,
when compared, is very small. The limit put upon expert evidence by the
trial judge takes from the effect of the testimony all the benefit of
an explanation of the facts upon which the opinion is founded.

Juries are generally allowed to examine enlarged photographs of the
writing, and sometimes to see it under the microscope, but even when
so doing what they see unexplained cannot be appreciated intelligently
and unless taken for granted as meaning something which the experience
of the expert who gives the opinion understands, and which they
without such an education, could not be expected to understand that
which the photographs show and the microscope makes visible is just as
likely to be misleading as otherwise.

An expert may testify as to the characteristics of the handwriting in
question; as to whether the writing is natural or feigned, or was or
was not written at the same time, with the same pen and ink, and by
the same person, and as to alterations or erasures therein; and as to
the age of the writing and obscurities therein; the result of his
examination of the writing under a magnifying glass; and to prove in
some cases the standard of comparison.

In the United States a witness may be asked to write on cross-examination,
but not in direct.

Before a paper can be accepted as a standard of comparison it must be
proved to be genuine to the satisfaction of the judge. His decision on
this question is final if supported by proper evidence. In some states
the question of genuineness is for the jury.

A party denying his handwriting may be asked on cross-examination, if
his signature to another instrument is genuine. This is the test which
may be successfully applied to ascertain if the signature is genuine.
A plaintiff, on one occasion, denied most positively that a receipt
produced was in his handwriting. It was thus worded, "Received the
Hole of the above." On being asked to write a sentence in which the
word "whole" was introduced, he took evident pains to disguise his
handwriting, but he adopted the phonetic style of spelling, and also
persisted in using the capital _H_.

The practice of thus testing a witness is vindicated by one of the
most sagacious of German jurists, Mittermaier, on grounds not only of
expediency, but of authority.

Comparison of handwriting, either by jury or witness, is uniformly
allowed to prove writings which are not old enough to prove
themselves, but are too old to admit of direct proof of their
genuineness.

Handwriting, considered under the law of evidence, includes not only
the ordinary writing of one able to write, but also writing done in a
disguised hand, or in cipher, and a mark made by one able or unable to
write.

The principles regulating the proof of handwriting apply equally to
civil and criminal cases.

The paper the handwriting of which is sought to be proved by experts
must ordinarily be produced in court, but such production will be
excused when the paper has been lost or destroyed and when it is a
public record, which cannot be brought into court.

Genuineness may be proved in all cases, except where paper is required
to be identified by an official seal, and except as controlled by law
applicable to attested instruments.

It may be proved by his own admissions; by witnesses who saw the party
write; by witnesses who corresponded with the party; by witnesses who
had seen papers acknowledged by the party; by witnesses having
personal relations with the party.

Comparison of handwriting, technically called _presumptio ex scripto
nunv viso_, is where a paper or papers are proved or admitted to be in
a party's handwriting, and a witness entirely unacquainted with the
party's handwriting, or the jury, is allowed to make a comparison by
juxtaposition of the writing so proved or admitted, and the writing
disputed.

All evidence of handwriting, except where the witness sees the
documents written, is in its nature comparison. It is the belief which
a witness entertains upon comparing the writing in question with an
exemplar in his mind derived from some previous writing.

In all the states of the Union the laws are uniform on the proposition
that experts may testify as to comparisons made and the results based
on such comparisons, except that the paper admitted to be genuine
shall not contain matter of a frivolous nature, etc.

In a broad, general way the element of common sense is the basework of
an expert's success in the business. He cannot depend upon anything
suggesting intuition. Where two signatures or two specimens of writing
are in question and one exhibit is a forgery and the other is genuine,
or where both are genuine, yet in question, the expert is in the
position of making his proofs and demonstrations convincing to the
layman--the hard headed citizen who insists that "you show me."
Frequently this citizen is on a jury where he has had to admit that he
is not particularly intelligent before he would be accepted for the
place.

As a first proposition to such a man, however, the expert in
chirography may put him to the proof that out of a dozen signatures of
his own name no two will be alike in general form. Then he may turn to
the authentic and forged signatures in almost any case and show to the
layman that the first question of forgery arose from the fact that
these two signatures at a first glance are identically alike to almost
the minutest detail. With all the skill which the forger has put into
his crooked work, he keeps to the old principle of copying the
authentic signature which he has in hand, and the more nearly he can
reproduce this signature in every proportion the more readily the
forgery can be proved.

One of the most important facts from which the expert may begin his
investigations of possible forgery is that every man using a pen in
writing has his "pen scope." This technical term describes the average
stretch of paper which a man may cover without lifting the pen from
the paper and shifting his hand to continue the line. In even the
freest, swinging movements of a pen where the hand follows the pen
fingers, there are occasional breaks in the lettering or undue stretch
of space between the words which will indicate a characteristic scope
of the pen if the specimens under investigation cover an ordinary
paragraph in length.

As applied to the signatures of the ordinary individual, this pen
scope will appear in some form in the signature. The writer may lift
his pen before he has spelled out a long Christian or surname, he may
indicate it in the placing of a middle initial or in the space which
lies between the initial and the last name. In the case of the
signature of one's name, too, it should be one of the easiest and
lest-studied group of words which he is called on to put upon paper.
In writing a letter, for example, the pen scope through it may show an
average stretch of one inch for the text of the letter, while in the
signature the whole length of the signature twice as long, may be
covered. But if the writer covers this full stretch of his name in
this way the expert may prove by the necessary short pen scope of the
copyist that the studied copy is a forgery on its face. For however
free of pen stroke the forger may be naturally, his attempts to
produce a facsimile of the signature shortens it beyond the scope of
the original signer.

If a search be made through a series of undisputedly genuine
signatures, it will be found that one characteristic fails in one and
another in another. Here is where the handwriting expert makes his
service valuable. He studies all these important points, and is not
long in arriving at a successful conclusion.

The introduction of the experimental method into all modern
investigation has led to the hope that in this difficult subject means
will be found to introduce simpler forms of determining regular or
irregular handwriting.

As long as the steps by which experts reach their conclusions are so
intricate or recondite that only the results may be stated to the
jury, just so long will the character of expert testimony suffer in
the opinion of the public, and the insulting charge against it be
repeated that any side can hire an expert to support its case.

If a single competent expert could be selected by the court to take up
questions of this kind and lay his results before it, the present
system would be less objectionable than it is. Nevertheless, this
solution is probably not the best, because no man is capable of always
observing and judging correctly, and the most careful man may be led
astray by elements in the problem before him of which he does not
suspect the existence. It would seem, therefore, to be fairer and less
open to objection if a plan of investigation were followed which can
be clearly explained to those who are to decide a case and the
resulting data left in their hands to assist them in their decision.

In such a manner of presentation, if any important data have been
omitted, or if the premises do not warrant the conclusion, the errors
can be detected without accusing the expert of lack of good faith or
ignorance of his subject. The fact that he has testified in hundreds
of cases and in every court in the world should not be allowed to
influence the jury against a logical conclusion drawn from
uncontroverted facts.



CHAPTER VIII

HOW TO DETECT FORGED HANDWRITING

Frequency of Litigation Arising Over Disputed Handwriting--Forged and
Fictitious Claims Against the Estates of Deceased People--Forgery
Certain to Be Detected When Subjected to Skilled Expert Examination--A
Forger's Tracks Cannot Be Successfully Covered--With Modern Devices
Fraudulent, Forged and Simulated Writing Can Be Determined beyond
the Possibility of a Mistake--Bank Officials and Disputed
Handwriting--How to Test and Determine Genuine and Forged
Signatures--Useful Information About Signature Writing--Guard
Against An Illegible Signature--Avoid Gyrations, Whirls and
Flourishes--Write Plain, Distinct and Legible--The Signature to
Adopt--The People Forgers Pass By--How to Imitate Successfully--How an
Expert Detects Forged Handwriting--Examples of Signatures Forgers
Desire to Imitate--Examining and Determining a Forgery--Comparisons
of Disputed Handwriting--Microscopic Examinations a Great Help in
Detecting Forged Handwriting--Comparison of Forged Handwriting.


Few persons outside of the banking and legal fraternity are aware of
the frequency with which litigations arise from one or another of the
many phases of disputed handwriting; doubtless most frequently from
that of signatures to the various forms of commercial obligations or
other instruments conveying title to property, such as notes, checks,
drafts, deeds, wills, etc. To a less extent the disputed portions
involve alterations of books of account and other writings, by erasure,
addition, interlineation, etc., while sometimes the trouble comes in
the form of disguised or simulated writings. A disproportionately large
number of these cases arise from forged and fictitious claims against
the estates of deceased people. This results, first, from the fact that
such claims are more easily established, as there is usually no one by
whom they can be directly contradicted; and, secondly, for the reason
that administrators are less liable to exercise the highest degree of
caution than are persons who pay out their own money.

In all instances where a forgery extends to the manufacturing of any
considerable piece of writing, it is certain of being detected and
demonstrated when subjected to a skilled expert examination; but where
forgery is confined to a single signature, and that perhaps of such a
character as to be easily simulated, detection is ofttimes difficult,
and expert demonstrations less certain or convincing. Yet instances
are rare in which the forger of even a signature does not leave some
unconscious traces that will betray him to the ordinary expert, while
in most instances forgery will be at once so apparent to an expert as
to admit of a demonstration more trustworthy and convincing to court
and jury than is the testimony of witnesses to alleged facts, who may
be deceived, or even lie. The unconscious tracks of the forger,
however, cannot be bribed or made to lie, and they often speak in a
language so unmistakable as to utterly defy controversion.

Note illustrations of forged handwriting in Appendix at end of this
book.

With the present-day knowledge of writing in its various phases, the
identity of forged, fraudulent or simulated writing can be determined
beyond the possibility of a mistake. Every year sees an increase in
the number of important civil and criminal cases that turn on
questions of disputed handwriting.

There is not a day in the year but what bank officials are at sea over
a disputed signature and a knowledge of how to test and determine
genuine and forged signatures will prove of inestimable value to the
banking and business world.

Forgery is easy. Detection is difficult. As the rewards for the
successful forgers are great, thousands upon thousands of forged
checks, notes, drafts, wills, deeds, receipts and all kinds of
commercial papers are produced in the United States every year. Many
are litigated, but many more are never discovered.

Practical and useful information about signature writing and how to
safeguard one's signature against forgery is something that will be
welcomed by those who are constantly attaching their names to valuable
papers.

Every man should guard against an illegible signature--for example, a
series of meaningless pen tracks with outlandish flourishes, such as
are assumed by many people with the feeling that because no one can
read them, they cannot be successfully imitated. Experience has
demonstrated that the easiest signatures to successfully forge are
those that are illegible, either from design or accident. The banker
or business man who sends his pen through a series of gyrations,
whirls, flourishes and twists and calls it a signature is making it
easy for a forger to reproduce his signature, for it is a jumble of
letters and ink absolutely illegible and easy of simulation. Every man
should learn to write plain, distinct and legible.

The only signature to adopt is one that is perfectly legible, clear
and written rapidly with the forearm or muscular movement. One of the
best preventatives of forgery is to write the initials of the
name--that is, write them in combination--without lifting the pen. It
will help if the small letters are all connected with each other and
with the capitals. Select a style of capital letters and always use
them; study out a plain combination of them; practice writing until it
can be written easily and rapidly and stick to it. Don't confuse your
banker by changing the form of a letter or adding flourishes.
Countless repetitions will give a facility in writing it that will
lend a grace and charm and will stamp it with your peculiar
characteristics in such a way that the forger will pass you by when
looking for an "easy mark." Plain signatures of the character noted
above are not the ones usually selected by forgers for simulation.
Forgers are always hunting for the illegible as in it they can best
hide their identity.

It is said to be an utter impossibility for one person to imitate
successfully a page of writing of another. The person attempting the
forgery should be able to accomplish the following: First, he must
know all the characteristics of his own hand; second, he must be able
to kill all the characteristics of his own hand; third, he must know
all of the characteristics in the hand he is imitating; fourth, he
must be able to assume characteristics of the other's hand at will.
These four points are insuperable obstacles, and the forger does not
live who has surmounted or can surmount them.

To understand the principles on which an expert in handwriting bases
his work, consider for a moment how a person's style of writing is
developed. He begins by copying the forms set for him by a teacher. He
approximates more or less closely to these forms. His handwriting is
set, formal, and without character. As soon as he leaves off following
the copy book, however, his writing begins to take on individual
characteristics. These are for the most part unconscious. He thinks of
what he is writing, not how. In time these peculiarities, which creep
gradually into a man's writing, become fixed habits. By the time he
is, say, twenty-five years old, his writing is settled. After that it
may vary, may grow better or worse, but is certain to retain those
distinguishing marks which, in the man himself, we call personality.
This personality remains. He cannot disguise it, except in a
superficial way, any more than he can change his own character.

It follows that no two persons write exactly the same hands. It is
easy to illustrate this. Suppose, for example, that among 10,000
persons there is one hunchback, one minus his right leg, one with an
eye missing, one bereft of a left arm, one with a broken nose. To find
a person with two of these would require, probably, 100,000 people;
three of them, 1,000,000; four of them, 100,000,000. One possessing
all of them might not be found in the entire 14,000,000,000 people on
earth. Precisely the same with different handwritings--the peculiar
and distinguishing characteristics of one would no more be present in
others than would the personal counterparts of the authors be found in
other individuals.

It is more surprising, at first thought, to be told that no person
ever signs his name even twice alike. Of course, theoretically, it
cannot be said that it is impossible for a person to write his name
twice in exactly the same manner. A person casting dice might throw
double aces a hundred times consecutively. But who would not act on
the practical certainty that the dice were loaded long before the
hundredth throw was reached in such a case? The same reasoning applies
to the matter of handwriting with added force, because the chance of
two signatures being exactly alike is incomparably less than the
chance of the supposed throws of the dice.

Probably many persons will not believe that it is impossible for them
to write their own name twice alike. For them it will be an interesting
experiment to repeat their signatures, say, a hundred times, writing
them on various occasions and under different circumstances, and then
to compare the result. It is safe to say that they will hardly find two
of these which do not present some differences, even to their eyes, and
under the examination of a trained observer aided by the microscope,
these divergencies stand out tenfold more plainly.

Many cases of forgery hinge on this point, the forger having copied
another person's signature by tracing one in his possession, but such
attempts are always more easy to detect than those in which the forger
carefully imitates another's hand. The latter is the usual procedure.
The forger secures examples of the signature or writing which he
desires to imitate. Then he practices on it, trying to reproduce all
its striking peculiarities. In this way he sometimes arrives at a
resemblance so close as to deceive even his victim. Still there is
always present some internal evidence to prove that the writing is not
the work of the person to whom it is attributed. Likewise it will
reveal the identity of the person who actully wrote it, if specimens
of his natural hand are to be had for comparison.

It is impossible for a man to carry in his mind and to reproduce on
paper all the peculiar characteristics of another man's writing and at
the same time to conceal all his own. At some point there is certain
to come a slip when the habit of years asserts itself and gives the
testimony which may fix the whole production on the forger beyond the
shadow of a doubt.

The little things are the ones that count most in making examination
and determining a forgery for the reason that they are no less
characteristic than the more prominent peculiarities and are more
likely to be overlooked by the person who tries to disguise his hand.
The crossing of _t's_ and the dotting of _i's_ become matters of large
moment in making comparisons of disputed handwritings. There is
probably no matter in conjunction with a man's ordinary writing to
which he gives less thought than the way he makes these crosses and
dots. For that reason they are in the highest degree characteristic.
And it is precisely because of their apparently slight importance that
the person who sets out to imitate another's handwriting or to
disguise his own is likely to be careless about these little marks and
to make slips which will be sufficient to prove his identity.

Imitations of signatures are usually written in a laborious and
painstaking manner. They are, therefore, decidedly unlike a man's
natural signature, which is usually written in an easy fashion. The
imitations show frequent pauses, irregularities in pen pressure and in
the distribution of ink, and contain other evidences of hesitation.
Not infrequently the forger tries to improve on his work by retouching
some of the letters after he has completed a word. Microscopic
examination brings out all of these things and makes them tell-tale
witnesses.

Comparison of handwriting is competent but is not itself conclusive
evidence of forgery. Identification of handwriting is, if possible,
more difficult than identification of the person which so often forms
the chief difficulty in criminal trials. As illness, strange dress,
unusual attitude, and the like, cause mistakes in identifying the
individual, so a bad pen or rough paper, a shaky hand and many other
things change the appearance of a person's handwriting.

This kind of evidence ought never, therefore, to be regarded as full
proof in trials where a handwriting is in dispute. Generally the best
witness in a handwriting case is one who often sees the party write,
through whose hands his writing has been continually passing, and
whose opinion is not the result of an inspection made on a particular
occasion for a special purpose.



CHAPTER IX

GREATEST DANGER TO BANKS

Check-Raising Always a Danger--A Scheme Almost Impossible to
Prevent--The American Bankers' Association the Greatest Foe to
Forgers--It Follows Them Relentlessly and Successfully--Chemically
Prepared Paper and Watermarks Not Always a Safeguard--Perforating
Machines and Check Raisers--How Check Perforations Are Overcome--How an
Ordinary Check Is Raised--How an Expert Alters Checks--How Perforations
Are Filled--Hasty Examination by Paying Tellers Encourages
Forgers--The Way Bogus Checks Creep Through a Bank Unnoticed--A
Celebrated Forgery Case--Forgers Successful for a Time Always
Caught--Where Forgers Usually Go That Have Made a Big Haul--A
Professional Crook Is a Person of Large Acquaintance.


Raising checks has become the greatest danger to the banks. There is
no comparison between raising checks with a genuine signature and
forging the signature itself, so far as ease of execution is
concerned. After many years of arduous work and after great
expenditures of money the banks have to admit sorrowfully that if a
man wants to raise a check he can do it; and the detection, while, of
course, inevitable when the paid check returns to the depositor, is
not immediate enough to prevent the swindler from getting away with
the money.

That is why the most implacable enemy of the men who dare raise or
falsify a check is the American Bankers' Association. This great
concern in reality is a protective association, and it relentlessly
hunts down all forgers first, last, and all the time. It never lets
up, absolutely never, no matter time, money, or trouble. It bitterly
pursues defaulters for the sake of justice, but it has still another
object in its deadly trailing of forgers and check tampereus. That is
because the whole banking structure hangs on signed paper. When it can
be altered with impunity, away goes the financial system of to-day.
Hence the unrelenting hunting-down of forgers who trifle with men's
names. On the books of more than one large detective agency of the
country are cases more than ten years old. The forgers never have been
found, but the hunt still goes on. Reports of the chase come in
regularly and the books will not be closed until the hunt stops at
prison doors or beside a grave.

Yet with all this remorseless hunting, check-raising flourishes so
well all over the United States that the banks fear to give even a
hint as to the sums of which they or their depositors are robbed each
year. The magnitude of the amount would frighten too many persons.

For a time it was thought that the use of chemically prepared paper
would prove a safeguard, because any erasure or alteration would show
immediately. The chemicals used in its composition would make the ink
run if acids were used to change the figures. But among the
check-raisers there were chemists just as clever as the chemists who
devised the prepared paper.

Then paper with watermarks woven through it was used. But it, too,
became an easy mark for the chemists who had gone wrong.

Finally, and until recently, the banking world thought that it had
struck the absolute safeguard by using a machine to stamp on the check
the exact amount for which it was drawn, the machine perforating the
paper as it stamped it. Certainly it does seem that when the paper is
cut right out of the check, leaving nothing but holes, no change is
humanly possible. But the completeness of this supposed safeguard has
offered a tempting field for the check-raiser.

A special detective in the employ of the American Bankers'
Association, who has spent half the years of his mature life in
running down forgers and check-raisers, said that it was "too easy" to
raise checks, and that a good many more men than try it now would do
it were it not for the well-known relentlessness of the association in
running down offenders against any single one of its constituent
members.

"Write me a check for any sum you want," said the sleuth, "and I'll
show you."

A check for $200 was written and passed over to him. In less than two
minutes, without an erasure of any kind, the check called for $500,
and the work was done so well even in that short time that the writer
would have been tempted to believe that he had made an error and
really drawn the check for that amount had he not been sure to the
contrary.

"That kind of raising is easy," said the expert. "You see it demands
no interlining or extending of words. The check-raiser simply knows
how well certain characters lend themselves to changes that cannot be
detected. The capital _T_ in almost every man's handwriting can be
changed to a capital _F_ without any trouble by even an unskilled
crook."

A check for $2,000 was raised to $50,000 almost in the wink of an eye.
"This is the easy and safer part of the business," said he. "But when
a check is to be raised from a sum like $10 to, say, $10,000, and the
drawer has written it so that there is no room between the word 'ten'
and 'dollars,' chemicals must be used. There is always more danger of
detection in that. In the mere alteration of a check there is little.
Look here. I'll change your checks as fast as you can write them, and
I bet a lot of my alterations will pass muster."

A pad was hauled out and the writer filled the sheets out with
carefully written amounts. The expert was as good as his word. He
altered them almost as fast as they were written. Some, to be sure,
were crude and would have betrayed the fact of alteration to the eye
of any careful banker. But many were almost perfect, and all were
wonderfully deceptive and showed what could be done by a crook who had
plenty of time.

"But how about the perforations?" he was asked. "How could a crook
change them?"

"Nothing easier," was the reply. "The fact that checks stamped with
the amount in perforated characters are considered safe aids the
swindler. Really, to beat the perforations is so easy that it will
make you smile. All the outfit that is needed is a common little punch
with assorted small cutting tubes and a bottle of an invisible glue
that every crook can make or that he can buy in certain places that
every crook knows. Now, here is a check stamped in perforated
characters $300$. I take my little punch and fit into it a cutter that
will punch holes of the same size as the holes in the perforations.

"Now I punch out of the edge of the check a few tiny disks. I moisten
the tip of a needle and press them carefully into the holes that make
the upper part of the figure 3. See, even in my haste and without
glue, they fill the perforations completely and I can shake and pull
the check without disturbing them."

It was true. The little plugs fitted perfectly, and even with the
knowledge that they were there it was almost impossible to see where
they had been inserted.

"Now," continued the expert, "I merely take my punch and carefully
punch enough holes to the right of the upper part of the figure 3 to
make it a 5. And there you are. If I wanted to pass this check through
the bank I would only have to complete the job by smearing a drop of
the invisible glue over the back where I have plugged the original
holes. This glue is wonderfully tenacious and will actually hold the
edges of paper together. It needs only the smallest surface in order
to get hold. After it is on not even the microscope could detect it
readily. And no amount of pulling or shaking of the check will disturb
it.

"You may suppose that a check that is stamped this way, for
instance--$600$--would be hard to change into one of four figures. But
it is almost equally easy. The crook simply punches out enough disks
from the edge to fill up the last dollar mark completely, and after he
has plugged it and the glue is dry he punches a cipher into the place
and then punches a dollar mark after it. Of course, after punching the
little disks out of the edge of the check it is necessary to trim that
part of the paper, but that is done readily, for checks always have
ample margin.

"The check-raiser does not depend on the fact that the scrutiny of
checks in a large bank is bound to be hasty, but he knows that he need
not fear if his work is at all well done, for the paying teller simply
cannot spend much time in examining the many checks that are passed
in.

"One New York City bank sends through the clearing-house daily an
average of 3,100 checks, and as there are about sixty-five such banks
in the clearinghouse the total number of checks handled in the few
hours of business in a day is something enormous.

"It is this haste--which, by the way, is absolutely necessary in order
to keep the books posted to date--that is responsible for the passing
of one of the most peculiar checks that ever came under the notice of
the detectives of America. In this case the check was neither
falsified nor was the signature forged, but it was bogus just the
same.

"It was a check made up of the parts of two checks, and all the
implements necessary for falsification were a pair of scissors and
that invisible glue. The clever swindler had got hold of two genuine
checks from the same bank. One was for $1,000 and the other for $70.
Placing these two checks together, one on top of the other, he cut
them through neatly with the scissors. Then he pasted that portion
bearing the word 'seventy' on the one check to that part bearing the
word 'thousand' on the other. So the composite check read to pay to
the holder 'seventy thousand' dollars. As the cutting was made through
both checks in exactly the same place, the edges fitted perfectly.
They were glued together and the check readily passed the bank
cashier. The man was caught and made restitution without publicity,
but the case gave bankers a shock. Other somewhat similar cases are
known, but none involving such a large amount.

"A famous case was the celebrated Seaver fraud. He bought a draft for
$12 from the Bank of Woodland (Cal.), and, although it was written on
chemical 'safety' paper and perforated in two places with a check
punch, he raised it to $12,000, and it was passed successfully and
paid.

"But however successful they may be for a time, it is the fatal hoodoo
of this 'most gentlemanly' way of making a living without earning it
that a forgery is always discovered and the forger generally caught.
That is because the forged check remains in existence and must be paid
by some one, and sooner or later there will be an outcry. The best the
raiser can hope for is to escape before the crime is discovered.

"Once the false check is passed and he has the money, his first idea
is as to where he shall hide. Another fatality attaching to his
peculiar business is that the same place that he thinks of flying to
is the place that suggests itself to the mind of the thief-chaser. In
other words, knowing their man, the man-hunters can guess well where
to find him.

"If a forger wants to bury himself, he thinks of South America,
because it is easy to get there, and apparently out of the world.
Then, of South America, he probably only thinks of Venezuela, or
closer home--of Guatemala or Panama. So the South American hunt is
simplicity itself, as there are not so many large ports that strange
Americans can pass through unnoticed.

"If a forger wants to continue in his crooked business he thinks of
London, Paris, Berlin, and maybe Vienna. We guess at his calibre and
whether he wants more money, and know where he probably will go to get
it, for the professional crook has an international acquaintance, and
he only goes among friends. So we follow him.

"If a forger is an adventurous spirit and committed the crime on
impulse, and we could learn absolutely nothing more about him, we
would look in that Mecca of adventurers, South Africa, for him. In
fact, our first business is to learn what kind of a man he is, then
shut our eyes and guess which one of a few places he will fly to. The
guess often is so good that our men await him when the steamer lands
there. If not, we don't forget the sailing vessels."



CHAPTER X

THUMB-PRINTS NEVER FORGED

Thumb-Print Method of Identification Absolute--Now Brought to a High
State of Perfection--Will Eventually Be Used in All Banks--Certified
Checks and Also Drafts with Thumb-Print Signatures--Absolute Accuracy
of a Thumb-Print Identification Assured--A Thumb-Print in Wax on
Sealed Packages--Its Use an Advantage on Bankable Paper of All
Kinds--How Strangers Are Easily Identified--Bankers, Merchants and
Business Men Protected by This System--Full Particulars as to How
Thumb-Prints Are Made--Can be Printed by Anyone in a Few Minutes--How
and When to Place Your Thumb-Print on Bankable Paper--Finger-Prints as
Reliable as Thumb-Prints--Use to Which This System Could Be Put--Thumb
and Finger Tips Do Not Change From Birth to Death--Department of
Justice at Washington Has Established a Bureau of Criminal Registry
Using the Thumb-Print System--Thumb-Print System Said to Be a Chinese
Invention--Its Use Spreading Rapidly--How to Secure Thumb-Print
Impression Without Knowledge of Party--An Interesting and Valuable
Study.


How to detect the forger as one of the cleverest of operating criminals
has been solved by the "thumb-print" method of identification, now
spreading throughout the banks, business houses and public offices of
the world.

It is quite as interesting as the suggestion that through the same
thumb-print method in commercial and banking houses the forger is
likely to become a creature without occupation and chirographical means
of support. R.W. McClaughry, chief of the bureau of identification in
the federal prison at Leavenworth, Kan., is one of the most expert in
the thumb-print method of identification in this country, having been
schooled at Scotland Yards in London, where the method first was
brought to its present state of perfection. Mr. McClaughry sees for the
system not only a great aid in preventing the forgeries of commercial
brigands but the easiest of all means for a person in a strange city to
identify himself as the lawful possessor of check, or note, or bank
draft which he may wish to turn into cash at a banker's window.

Thumb-print signatures will eventually be used in all banks as a means
of identification. It will be a sure preventative of forgery. For
instance: A maker of a check desiring to take a trip around the world
shall draw a check for the needed sum and, in the presence of the
cashier of his bank, place one thumb-print in ink somewhere in one
spot on the check--perhaps over the amount of the check as written in
figures. Thereupon the cashier of the bank will accept the check as
certified by his institution. With this paper in his possession the
drawer of the check may go from his home in New York to San Francisco,
a stranger to every person in the city. But at the window of any bank
in that city, presenting his certified check to a teller who has a
reading glass at his hand, the stranger may satisfy the most careful
of banks by a mere imprint of his thumb somewhere else upon the face
of the check.

With the ink thumb-print of the cashier of a bank placed on a bank
draft over his signature and over the written amount of the draft,
chemical papers and the dangers of "raising" or counterfeiting the
draft would have no further consideration. The thumb-print of the
secretary of the United States treasury, reproduced on the face of
greenback, silver certificate and bank note of any series would
discourage counterfeiting as nothing else ever has done.

But this thumb-print possibility in commercial papers has its greatest
future in the positive identification which either thumb or finger
print carries with it. Criminologists all over the world have
satisfied themselves of the absolute accuracy of the fingerprint
identification.

At the present time traveling salesmen, who spend much money and who
wish to carry as little as possible of cash with them, have an
organized system by which their bankable paper may be cashed at hotels
and business houses over the country. But with the thumb-print in use,
as it might be, such an organization would be unnecessary.

As between bank and bank, this use of the fingerprint in bank papers
of large face value is especially applicable. A draft for $100,000 or
$1,000,000 may be worth more consideration of the banks concerned than
the penmanship of signer and countersigner of the paper.

In the shipment of currency where there may be question of either
honesty or correctness in the persons sealing the package, a
thumb-print in wax will determine absolutely whether the wax has been
unbroken in transit, as well as establishing the identity of the
person putting on the first seal. As to the protective value of such a
thumb-seal, a case has been cited in which train robbers, discovering
a chance seal of the kind in wax of such a package, left that package
untouched when the express safe had been blown open; it was too
suggestive of danger to be risked.

In the ordinary usage of the thumb-print on bankable paper the city
bank having its country correspondents everywhere often is called upon
to cash a draft drawn by the country bank in favor of that bank's
customer, who may be a stranger in the city. The city bank desires to
accommodate the country correspondent as a first proposition. The
unidentified bearer of the draft in the city may have no acquaintance
able to identify him. If he presents the draft at the windows of the
big bank, hoping to satisfy the institution, and is turned away, he
feels hurt. By the thumb-print method he might have his money in a
moment.

In the first place, even the signature of the cashier of the country
bank will be enough to satisfy its correspondent in the city of the
genuineness of the draft. Before the country purchaser of the draft
has left the bank issuing the paper he will be required to make the
ink thumb-print in a space for that purpose. Without this imprint the
draft will have no value. If the system should be in use, the cashier
signing the draft will not affix his signature to the paper until this
imprint has been made in his presence.

Then, with his attested finger-print on the face of the draft, the
stranger in the city may go to the city bank, appearing at the window
of the newest teller, if need be. This teller will have at hand his
inked pad, faced with a sheet of smooth tin. He never may have seen
the customer before. He never may see him again. But under the
magnifying influences of an ordinary reading glass he may know past
the possibility of doubt that in the hands of the proper person named
in the draft the imprint which is made before him has been made by the
first purchaser of the draft.

In the more important and complicated transactions in bank paper one
bank may forward from the bank itself the finger-print proofs of
identity. The whole field of such necessities is open to adapted uses
of the method. Notes given by one bank to another in high figures may
be protected in every way by these imprints. Stock issues and
institution bonds would be worthy of the thumb-print precautions, as
would be every other form of paper which might tempt either the forger
or the counterfeiter. In any case where the authenticity of the paper
might be questioned, the finger-print would serve as absolute
guarantee. In stenographic correspondence, where there might be
inducements to write unauthorized letters on the part of some person
with wrong intent, the imprint of finger or thumb would make the
possibility of fraud too remote for fears. For, in addition to the
security of signatures in real documents, the danger in attempting
frauds of this kind is increased.

As to the physical necessaries in registering fingerprints, they are
simple and inexpensive. A block of wood faced with smooth tin or zinc
the size of an octavo volume, a small ink roller, and a tube of black
ink are all that are required. For removing the ink on thumb or finger
a towel and alcohol cleanser are sufficient. A tip impression or a
"rolled" finger signature may be used. Only a few seconds are required
for the operation.

In giving big checks merchants and bankers would be protected by the
thumb-print system. A merchant could place the print of his right
index finger to the left of his signature on a check. The bank would
have a print, together with the merchant's signature on file. Only a
few seconds would be necessary to convince the paying teller as to its
genuineness. The merchant, also, if necessary, could place a light
print of the index finger over the amount of the check where written
in figures. Any attempt to erase the figures would destroy the
finger-print. If the figures were raised, the one doing so would be
unable to place a finger-print in the same space that would correspond
with the one at the bottom of the check beside the signature, and the
raising of the check would immediately be discovered in the bank where
the check was presented.

The finger-prints could be used also in all manner of documents filed
for record, such as deeds to lands, mortgages, leases, and the like.
Railroads could use it to prevent men once employed and discharged for
incompetency obtaining employment on another division, thus doing away
with inspectors. Each new employee's finger-prints could be kept in a
central office and classified. Any man attempting to obtain employment
again with the same railway, who had once been discharged for cause,
would immediately be detected, and a high standard of personnel thus
obtained.

Congress recently passed a law whereby the Bureau of Immigration is
permitted to tax each immigrant four dollars; this sum to be used in
detecting foreign criminals who come to this country; also to aid in
ascertaining whether foreigners who come here commit crimes and get
into prisons. If such are found they are to be deported. By the
finger-print system the prints of each foreigner could be taken at all
ports of entry. These could be kept on file in Washington, and from
time to time compared with those sent to the Bureau of Criminal
Registry in the Department of Justice building. Any foreigner located
in a prison could be ascertained, and upon the termination of his
sentence taken to some port and placed on board ship.

It has been demonstrated by experts that the ridges of finger tips do
not change from birth until death and decomposition. Scars made on the
finger tips remain throughout life, and are valuable for identification
purposes. Criminals try to evade identification by the system by
burning the tips of their digits with acid; but these are classified
under the head of disfigured fingers, and a lawbreaker cannot escape
detection. Even the removal of two, three, or four fingers or an entire
hand does not prevent a criminal being traced if his prints were taken
before he lost the five digits. In the case of one hand being
amputated, the missing fingers are classified as they appear on the
other hand. If a search fails to locate the person, then the missing
fingers are classified first as whorls and then as loops, search being
made after each classification. In this manner the search may be a
little more tedious than it would be if all the fingers were there, but
in time he would be identified.

The Department of Justice thinks so well of the system that it has
recently established in Washington a Bureau of Criminal Registry. There
the finger-print sheets, and for the time being Bertillon cards, of
all criminals who have been convicted of violating federal laws are to
be kept. The prints and Bertillon measurements of new arrivals at
government prisons and jails will also be sent there for classification,
none of this work being done at prisons as heretofore. The men held
in federal jails, charged with crimes, are also to have their
finger-prints taken, and these sent to the central bureau. If the
expert in charge of this bureau ascertains that a man indicted for
crime has served a previous term in prison, this fact is to be
communicated to the United States judge and district attorney, and if
convicted the criminal is to be given the full limit of sentence.

Although the system of identification by fingerprints has been in use
in Europe for a number of years, it is not a European invention. As a
matter of fact, it is one of those cherished western institutions that
the Chinese have calmly claimed for their own, and those who doubt
this may be convinced by actual history showing it to have been
employed in the police courts of British India for a generation or so
back. Just who was responsible for its adoption there is not certain,
but Sir John Herschel, at one time connected with the India civil
service, is usually mentioned in this regard. The British police
experienced a great deal of trouble in keeping track of even the most
notorious native criminals and it was a great deal more difficult to
arrest a first offender, for the reason that all the natives looked so
much alike and were such apt liars.

Ordinary methods, even the Bertillon system, were fruitless and
finally the finger-print scheme was tried. It worked like a charm.
Where more arrests had been the exception, they now became the rule
and the power of the law began to merit respect. In case after case
the police were enabled to track the crime solely by the chance print
of a man's finger or thumb on an odd piece of paper, on the dusty
lintel of a doorway or a dirty window pane. Some of the stories told
of their accomplishments in this line rival the most thrilling
detective stories.

In one case, that of the murder of a manager of a tea garden on the
Bhupal frontier, half a dozen or more persons were at first suspected,
among them the real murderer, who was, however, later regarded as
innocent because he was supposed to have been away from the district
at the time the crime was committed. Investigations and questionings
did no good, and at last the local inspector decided to take the
thumb-prints of all concerned and refer them to the central office of
the province. After the records had been searched a messenger came
with orders to arrest the discharged servant of the manager who had
been first suspected and then exonerated, for his finger-prints
tallied exactly with those of a bad character just discharged from
prison. He was later convicted of burglary by a court of appeal, to
which the case was carried, the court refusing to condemn a man for
murder on such slight basis when the actual crime had not been
observed.

At the present time in India the papers taken in the civil-service
examinations must be certified to by the thumb-print of the competitor
and wills must likewise be sealed in the same way, and all checks and
drafts must be certified by a thumb-print in addition to a signature.

In India, also deeds of transfer, and records of sale of land in
connection with illiterate natives are executed by the impression of a
thumb-mark instead of an "X, his mark"; and recently this very
superior system of signature has been applied to all kinds of
transactions with the natives, such as post-office savings banks,
pension certificates, mortgages, etc.

The success the plan met with in India led to its trial and speedy
adoption by the French and English police. In Paris it is used as an
adjunct to the measurement system of M. Bertillon, but at Scotland
Yard the Bertillon system has been entirely done away with and full
reliance is had on the prints. M. Bertillon claims to have 500,000
prints in his collection, although this is said by the authorities
to be an exaggeration, and Inspector McNaughton of the convict
supervision office has at least 100,000 criminals' hands catalogued
in his office.

Finger marks do not change in any way through life, and any injury
only temporarily affects the pattern. The pattern becomes larger as
the youth develops into a man, but the arrangement of the lines
remains absolutely the same.

Thumb-marks may be generally classified as loops, arches and ovals, or
whorls; the ovals irresistibly remind one of whirlpools as well as the
volutions of shells, while the majority of loops or arches resemble in
their convolutions the rapid movement of rushing water.

Thumb-print identifications have been extended to commercial uses by
the postal savings bank on the Philippines at Manila. This bank has
recently issued a series of stamp deposit cards, on which are spaces
for stamps of different values to be affixed. When the depositor has
stamps to the value of 1 peso (50 cents) on the card it is exchanged
at the bank for a deposit book, showing the amount to his credit.
Opposite the lines for the owner's signature and address is a square
ruled off for the reception of his thumb-print, so that even if
illiterate, depositors may readily be identified.

If any one wishes to get a thumb-print impression without the
suspect's knowledge, simply hand him a piece of paper, asking him to
identify it or examine it for one reason or another, afterwards
sprinkling some special black powder over it which brings out the
impressions as clear as life. Another sort of white powder is used for
bringing out impressions on glassware.

Once the impression is secured, the fingers are classified according
to a regular plan. The lines on them are divided into loops, whorls,
arches, and composites, the latter class made up of a collection of
the first three. Each pair of fingers as the index, little and ring
fingers has a special valuation which is used to identify them and
facilitate classification. One pair will be classified according to
the number of little ridges between the delta, or point where all
bifurcate, and the outer ring. If there are more than nine on one
finger, it is classed as an over-nine.

It is seldom that two similar fingers are alike and the other finger
usually would be an under-nine finger, say six. So there is the first
pair classified thus, 9-6. The next two fingers may have rotary lines
and are merely classified as R, the next two may not have many lines
at all that will count, so are marked 0, while perhaps the last pair
is unmatched, a point being allowed to one and nothing to the other.

Thumb or finger-prints are absolutely serviceable and certain in the
detection of crime or in establishing a person's identity.

That this system may be most effectively employed as an adjunct to the
rogue's gallery for fixing the identity of criminals there can be no
doubt, since, from various experiments made it has been demonstrated
that impressions made from the dermal furrows of the thumb or finger
of no two persons can be sufficiently identical, when inspected under
a microscope, to be mistaken one for the other; and that it is a
powerful agency for the detection of criminals.

Very often, on the scene of a crime, finger marks are found on glossy
surfaces (bottles, glasses, window panes, door plates, painted and
varnished walls, etc.). By a comparison of such impressions,
photographed by a special process, it is easy either to discover the
maker of the finger marks observed at the scene of the crime, or to
establish the innocence of a suspected person whose digital
impressions have nothing in common with those marks.

Note and study fac-simile impressions of thumb-prints and finger-prints
in Appendix at end of this book.



CHAPTER XI

DETECTING FORGERY WITH THE MICROSCOPE

Determining Questionable Signatures By the Aid of a Microscope--A
Magnifying Glass Not Powerful Enough--Character of Ink Easily
Told--The Microscope and a Knowledge of Its Use--Experience and
Education of an Examiner of Great Assistance--An Expert's Opinion--The
Use of the Microscope Recommended--Illustrating a Method of
Forgery--What a Microscopic Examination Reveals--How to Examine Forged
Handwriting with a Microscope--Experts and a Jury--What the Best
Authorities Recommend.


In all examinations of questioned signatures to determine the
individual habit of the writer the use of the compound microscope is a
necessity to obtain the best field for study and analysis for the
reason that the most important details are often so minute that they
cannot be seen with the naked eye in sufficient size to determine
their individual character and accuracy. A magnifying glass has but a
limited field in this class of work, for it is not easily held in
position steadily for continued observation and study, besides it has
not the requisite power for the work. The lower powers of the compound
microscope are but available for the examination of signatures for the
reason that when the higher powers are used but little of the
signature is in the field of vision, although the power of the lens
may be increased when some particular point or feature in the writing
requires greater enlargement for more perfect definition. The higher
powers of the microscope are sometimes used to ascertain the character
of inks with which the writing is done, and also to determine the
character of the paper on which a signature is written, which at times
becomes important. For all practical uses of the microscope in the
examination of signatures the range of object enlargement occurring
between a three-inch and an inch objective will be found to answer the
purpose, as the various powers of the lenses become important in
making the analysis.

While it is a fact that the microscope and a knowledge of its uses is
of the greatest importance in ascertaining the character of the
signatures, when the question of their being forged or genuine is the
object of the examination, it does not follow that because a person is
learned in the use of the microscope in other fields of research that
he is therefore qualified to become an expert in handwriting. A
peculiar education made practically applicable by experience in this
latter field of study is absolutely necessary to determine with
accuracy what the microscope reveals, and its importance to give value
to any conclusions reached by its use. The connection of effect with
cause, and the determination of the latter as a matter of individualism
cannot be accomplished merely from what is seen under the microscope.
The examiner must by experience and education be fitted to ascertain
from personal characteristics manifested in the writing of a signature
necessitated their appearance as a matter of individuality.

From one of the best-known European experts on handwriting and who has
figured conspicuously in important cases some interesting facts
relative to this subject recently were learned. To the question, "What
is the primary requisite for a conscientious opinion on the
genuineness of any submitted handwriting?" this expert unhesitatingly
replied, "An utter and entire absence of either feeling or prejudice.
In other words, one should be perfectly dispassionate when engaged in
such a work and use a first-class compound microscope."

To make his analysis the expert uses a microscope of great power, and
by a strict and close attention to the subject-matter he can determine
the exact means or methods employed in making the individual letters
and the formation of the words and also the several inks that were
used. Handwriting as defined by this expert is a mechanical operation
pure and simple. Its general excellence or the reverse is largely
dependent on the education which the hand has received. When a man
sits down to write he mechanically reproduces on paper what is in his
mind, and this may be said to be his natural handwriting. Should he
stop to think even for a moment, not of what he is transferring to the
paper but of the writing itself, he instantly ceases to write his
natural hand, the transcription becoming only a copy or drawing from
memory.

In the opinion of the expert, emphatically expressed, a person never
writes twice exactly alike. This is stated to be the point around
which all his subsequent developments revolve when examining a
manuscript. Let several examples of the natural handwriting of an
individual be compared. It is true that there will be a general
similarity, but, as has been asserted, when placed in juxtaposition or
subjected to a careful comparison under a microscope no two words or
letters will be found to be alike. Thus it is not the similarity
between two pieces of writing that would arouse suspicion with some
experts, but rather the natural dissimilarity. Based on this point
such experts occupy a distinct position by themselves, since other
experts take what is called the positive side. With the first-named
class, however, handwriting is a science of negatives. A good
microscope will always be found a good detective in determining the
genuineness of handwriting.

By way of illustrating one method of forgery interesting material
which had played an important part in a court case was carefully
examined. It consisted of five or six graded photographic enlargements
of the duplicate signature which were carefully examined with the aid
of a microscope. The original had been made by an elderly person and
the forger had used the tracing process. To the naked eye it appeared
to be a capital copy; in fact, it seemed to bear every semblance of
being genuine. In the first enlargement of several diameters certain
inaccuracies of tracing could be discerned, only, however, after
attention had been called to them by an expert. In the next
enlargement these same errors were more apparent, and so on through
the series. The largest photograph was magnified several hundred
diameters greater than the original and stretched across quite an area
of paper. From an examination of this largest one with a microscope it
was evident that the forger first had traced his copy with pencil,
afterward going over it with ink, but so irregularly had his pen
followed the pencil lines that in certain portions of this enlargement
there was room for a man's fist between the first tracing and its inky
covering.

In trying to detect forged handwriting every letter of the alphabet,
wherever written, may be examined with a microscope for the following
characteristics: Size, shading, position relative to the horizontal
line, inclination relative to the vertical line, sharpness of the
curves and angles, proportion and relative position of the different
parts, and elaboration or extension of the extremities. In scarcely
one of these particulars can a man make two letters so much alike that
they cannot be distinguished by microscopical examination.

Although a great deal can be determined in a general way by close
observation with the naked eye, it is always best to employ some
magnifying power--usually an ordinary hand lens or pocket magnifier
will suffice--but the writer has found it better to use a microscope
objective of low power (four or five diameters), which is provided
with an easily slipping sleeve, terminating in a diaphragm which cuts
out the light entering the outside rim of the lens. This sleeve may be
pushed out for one or two centimeters, and the particular spot under
examination isolated from the adjacent parts without undue
magnification. It is one of the popular fallacies that a high
magnifying power is desirable in all cases of difficulty, but usually
the reverse is the case in questions of handwriting.

Experts have sometimes impressed the jury with the fact that they had
employed on some thick and opaque document, powers of several hundred
diameters without the lately applied illumination from the side,
reflected by a glass plate, introduced obliquely into the tube of
the microscope. Without such aid no microscopist need be told that
the light would be wanting to illuminate the field under these
circumstances. The best authorities prescribe a magnifying power of
not more than ten diameters for ordinary observation. For special
purposes higher powers are sometimes useful. An ocular examination of
the ink in the various parts of a written paper, document or
instrument of any kind will generally decide whether it is the same.



CHAPTER XII

SIGNATURE EXPERTS THE SAFETY OF THE MODERN BANK

A New Departure in Banks--Examining All Signatures a Sure
Preventive Against Forgery--The "Filling-in" Process--How One Forger
Operated--Marvelous Accuracy of a Paying Teller--How He Attained
Perfection--How Signature Clerks Work--A Common Dodge of Forgers--Post
Dated Checks--A System That Prevents Forged and Raised Checks--Not a
Forged or Raised Check Paid in Years.


[The following article has been kindly contributed by the manager of
one of the largest English banks, located in London.]

One of the most trying positions in our business, is that of signature
expert--the man who has to examine daily every draft that comes in
through the clearing house and vouch for its genuineness. Our bank,
one of the largest in London, employs six clerks who do nothing all
day long but examine checks, and when I tell you that it is no
uncommon thing for 10,000 drafts to come in during a single day you
will understand that the job is not altogether the sinecure it is
popularly supposed to be.

These clerks have not only to scrutinize the signatures both of drawer
and drawee, but also examine the "filling-in," the latter being just
as important, perhaps more so from a monetary point of view, as the
signatures. As a matter of fact, the commonest forgery with which we
have to deal is the "raising" of checks, and a forger of this nature
generally chooses a check bearing a genuine signature but having very
little "filling-in."

For instance, he knows that it would not be difficult to raise a check
from £3 to £3000, for all he has to do is to erase the word "pounds,"
insert the word "thousand," and then add the erased word again. I have
seen plenty of this kind of work during the time I have been examining
checks.

One of the most impudent pieces of forgery, however, that I ever came
across was a check raised from £5 to £500. The forger had evidently
relied on colossal impudence carrying him through, for he had simply
added a couple of ciphers and then between the words "five" and
"pounds" had placed an omission mark and written the word "hundred"
above, adding the initials of the drawer of the check just to give the
thing a look of careless genuineness.

It was so astounding a piece of cool audacity that we had bets on the
check, two of my assistants declaring it to be O.K., while the other
three and myself declared it to be a forgery. Further inquiries, of
course, proved that the opinion of the majority was the correct one.

It is marvelous what a vast number of signatures some paying tellers
will carry in their mind's eye, as it were, and thus be able to pass
checks by the thousand without once having to refer to the signature
books. We had a paying teller here a few years ago who was little less
than a wonder. He knew perfectly the signatures of at least 5000
customers, and could detect the alteration of a stroke in any one of
them in an instant.

More remarkable still was the fact that he recognized with equal
facility the signatures of those customers whose checks only came in
once or twice a year. But he made an art of his work, and I afterward
discovered that most of his evenings were spent in studying and
learning the signatures of the customers, for he was a wonderful hand
at copying writing, and whenever a new signature would come in, one
with which he was not acquainted, he would at once facsimile it in his
pocket-book, and by the next morning would be able to recognize it
among 10,000.

Signature clerks are not, as a rule, supposed to make copies of
customers' autographs, but many of them do, and some men are clever
enough at the work to even deceive themselves.

Of course, it is understood that when the signature clerks are not
examining checks they are studying the autograph books in order to
familiarize themselves with the calligraphy of every customer. Each
check, you must understand, passes through the hands of each clerk in
turn, so that if one should pass a forgery or a "raised" draft it is
very unlikely that the entire staff would do so. All these checks, of
course, come through the clearing house, and if we should pass a
forged draft and not find out our mistake before three o 'clock in the
afternoon our bank would be held responsible. One of the commonest
dodges adopted by the modern check-forger is to get a customer of some
small country bank to introduce him to that institution as a likely
depositor. On the recommendation of the friend (who is probably quite
unaware that the acquaintance he made some few months ago is a
"wrong'un") there is no difficulty in accepting their new client's
check for £2000, and the following day, when the same customer calls
and withdraws £100 to £500, as the case may be, he is politely handed
the cash, and then, of course, loses no time in skipping the town.
After the bogus customer's check has passed through the clearing house
it is returned to the bank on which it has been drawn and the fraud is
at once discovered.

Another part of a signature clerk's duties is to see that no checks
are post-dated, as of course no drafts must be paid until they fall
due. On occasions a careless man will post-date a check, but as a rule
the mistake is purposely made. This spotting of post-dated checks,
however, is the easiest part of a signature clerk's work, and it is
very seldom that a check so dated escapes him. Then, again, we are
often notified that payment on certain checks has been stopped, and
the clerks have to be on the lookout for these, and it must be a very
careless staff indeed that lets them slip by. We are held responsible
for all checks passed after we have received notice to stop payment.

But it is very seldom now, owing to the cleverness of the experts,
that any forged checks, "raised" checks, post-dated checks, or stopped
checks pass the vigilant eyes of our staff without being detected, but
when one does--well, although the signature clerks are not held
monetarily responsible for the loss, it means a bad mark against them
in the future, and they feel its effects next time promotions or
"rises" are being handed out.

Altogether, though the work is interesting, and even fascinating in a
way, the responsibilities are so great that the effect on the nerves
is often very trying at times. One thing we are particular about, and
that is to take no chances. If we have the slightest doubt about the
genuineness of a check we at once communicate, either by telegraph,
special messenger, or telephone, with the supposed drawer of the
check, and in this way turn doubt into certainty. During the last
three years not a single wrong check has passed our vigilant optics,
and, though I say it who should not, I do not believe there is a
cleverer set of experts any where than those who compose my staff.



CHAPTER XIII

HOW TO DETERMINE AGE OF ANY WRITING

The Different Kinds of Ink Met With--Inks That Darken by Exposure to
Sunlight and Air--Introduction of Aniline Colors to Determine the Age
of Writings--An Almost Infallible Rule to Follow--To Determine
Approximate Age of Ink Possible--The Ammonia System a Sure One--A
Question of Great Interest to Bankers and Bank Employes--Thick Inks and
Thin Inks--So-called Safety Inks That Are Not Safe--How to Restore
Faded Inks--An Infallible Rule--Restoring Faded Writing--Restored by
the Silk and Cotton System That Anyone Can Arrange--Danger of Exposing
Restored Writing to the Sun.


The inks in common use over the United States at the present time,
and for some years past, are not as numerous as one might be led
to conclude. They are probably fifteen or at most twenty in all,
including the most popular blue, red, magenta, and green inks. But
among these there is a notable difference in character. Some are
thick, heavy, and glossy, in character, and flow sluggishly from the
pen. Few of these become much darker by standing. In this class will
be found the copying inks and those in which a large quantity of gums
or similar thickening agents are used.

Other inks are pale, limpid, and flow easily from the pen, and this
class usually shows a notable darkening by exposure to sunlight and
air. It will be unnecessary here to refer more particularly to the
intermediate varieties or to discuss their various composition.

It should be, remembered here that in the last twenty years, or since
the introduction into general commerce of aniline colors, which
Hofmann discovered in 1856, these latter have been employed more and
more in writing fluids; not only in mixtures of which they are the
principal ingredients, but to a greater or less degree in all inks.
Their presence, even in small quantity, in the gallo-tannate of iron
and logwood inks can be generally detected by an iridescent and
semi-metallic luster.

To assist in determining the ages of writings by one and the same ink,
it is to be observed that the older the writing the less soluble it is
in dilute ammonia. If the writing be lightly touched with a brush
dipped in ten-per-cent ammonia, the later writing will always give up
more or less soluble matter to the ammonia before the earlier. In case
of inks of different kinds this test is not serviceable, for
characters written in logwood ink, for instance, will always give up
their soluble material sooner than nutgall inks, even if the last
named be later applied. To estimate the age of writing from the amount
of bleaching in a given time by hydrochloric or oxalic acid is very
precarious, because the thickness of the ink film in a written
character is not always the same, and the acid bleaches the thinner
layer sooner than the thicker.

The determination of the age of a written paper is a problem difficult
of solution. According to F. Carré the age can be approximately
determined if the characters written in iron ink are pressed in a
copying press and a commercial hydrochloric acid diluted with eleven
parts of water is substituted for water; or, if the written characters
are treated for some time with this diluted acid.

The explanation is that the ink changes in time, its organic substance
disappears little by little, and leaves behind an iron compound, which
in part is not attacked even by acids.

An unsized paper is impregnated with the described diluted acid,
copied with the press, and a copy from writing eight or ten years old
can be obtained as easily as one by means of water from a writing one
day old.

A writing thirty years old gives, by this method, a copy hardly
legible, and one over sixty years old, a copy hardly visible. In order
to protect the paper against the action of the acid, it should be
drawn through ammoniacal water.

To determine the exact age of writings by the ink is not easy. The
approximate age may be determined with some degree of certainty. If
ink-writings are but a few days old, it is easy to distinguish them
from other writing years old. But to tell by the ink which of two
writings is the older, when one is but two months and the other two
years, is, as a rule, impossible.

Where during the progress of a trial a document purporting to be years
old is introduced in evidence, and it can be shown that it is but a
few days old, having been prepared for the occasion, ordinarily the
age of the writing will be comparatively easy of demonstration by the
expert. Oxidization will not have set in to any extent, if the ink is
very fresh, and this, with a careful watching of the color for any
darkening, will determine whether or not the ink is fresh. This ink
study should be a question of the utmost interest to bankers and bank
employes.

A ten-per-cent solution of ammonia applied to two inks in question
will show which is the fresher. The older ink will resist the action
of the ammonia longer and give up less soluble matter than the newer
writing. Nutgall, and logwood inks, of course, should not be tested
comparatively by this method, as the logwood ink will respond to the
ammonia sooner than the nutgall ink.

F. Carré also gives another method for determining, approximately, the
age of ink-writings. If the writing is in iron ink, and is moistened
with a solution of one part of hydrochloric acid to eleven parts of
water and put in letter-copying press and copy transferred to copy
paper it should give a strong copy, if but ten years old; a hardly
legible copy, if thirty years old; and if sixty years old, a few marks
will be copied, but they will not be legible.

If the same solution be used in place of water, as in the ordinary
letter-copying process and the copying paper be saturated with it, the
result will be the same.

To determine the age of writing by applying bleaching acids and
watching results and counting the seconds is a dangerous method. Thick
inks will respond to the acids slower than thin, and the time
comparisons are misleading.

Safety inks, so-called, designed to resist the action of acids and
alkalies have been repeatedly put upon the market, but no such ink has
ever successfully challenged the world and proved its title of safety.

Many chemicals are recommended as restorations for faded writing, but
these should be avoided as far as possible, as they are liable to
stain, disfigure the paper, and in the end make matters materially
worse. Familiarity with particular handwritings after some practice
will enable the reader to make out otherwise unintelligible words
without any other assistant than a powerful magnifying glass.

If the ink is very faint, the simplest and most harmless restorative
is sulphate of ammonia, but its loathsome smell once encountered is
not easily forgotten. The experiment in consequence is very seldom
repeated for the result is scarcely good enough to risk a repetition
of so horrible a smell.

The writing on old and faded documents may be restored, by chemical
treatment, turning the iron salt still remaining into ferrous sulphate.
A process which will restore the writing temporarily is as follows: A
box four or five inches deep and long and broad enough to hold the
document, with a glass, is needed. A net of fine white silk or cotton
threads is stretched across the box at about one half the depth. Two
saucers containing yellow ammonium hydrosulphide are placed in the
bottom of the box. By means of a clean sponge or brush, moisten the
paper with distilled water; then place it on the net with the writing
side down. The action of the vapor of the ammonium hydrosulphide will
cause the obliterated writing to slowly turn brown, then black. But
within a short time after removal from the box the writing will again
disappear.

Another method is to wash the document carefully in a solution of
hydrochloric acid, one part, and distilled water, one hundred parts.
Dry the moistened paper somewhat, leaving it just moist enough to hold
a uniform layer of fine yellow prussiate of potash. A plate of glass
with a light pressure should be placed on this. In a few hours dry the
paper thoroughly, and carefully brush off the yellow prussiate of
potash. The writing should come out a Prussian blue. This restored
writing will be permanent unless exposed too much to the light.

The hydrochloric acid must be thoroughly removed; otherwise, it will
destroy the paper. Crystallized soda, two parts, and distilled water,
one hundred parts, in solution, will counteract the hydrochloric acid,
if the document is allowed to float on it for twenty-four hours.



CHAPTER XIV

DETECTING FRAUD AND FORGERY IN PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS

Infallible Rules for the Detection of Same--New Methods of
Research--Changing Wills and Books of Accounts--Judgment of the Naked
Eye--Using a Microscope or Magnifying Glass--Changeable Effects of
Ink--How to Detect the Use of Different Inks--Sized Papers Not Easily
Altered--Inks That Produce Chemical Effects--Inks That Destroy Fiber
of Paper--How to Test Tampered or Altered Documents--Treating Papers
Suspected of Forgery--Using Water to Detect Fraud--Discovering
Scratched Paper--Means Forgers Use to Mask Fraudulent Operations--How
to Prepare and Handle Test Papers--Detecting Paper That Has Been
Washed--Various Other Valuable Tests to Determine Forgery--A Simple
Operation That Anyone Can Apply--Iodine Used On Papers and Documents--An
Alcohol Test That is Certain--Bringing Out Telltale Spots--Double
Advantage of Certain Tests--Reappearance of Former Letters or
Figures--What Genuine Writing Reveals--When an Entire Paper or Document
is Forged.


The art of detecting forgery or fraud, in checks, drafts, documents,
seals, writing materials, or in the characters themselves is a study
that has attracted handwriting experts since its study was taken up.
There are almost infallible rules for the work and in this chapter is
given several new methods of research that will prove of the utmost
value to the public.

It is not an uncommon occurrence that wills and other public documents
are changed by the insertion of extra or substituted pages, thereby
changing the character of the instrument. Where this is suspected
careful inspection of the paper should be made--first, as to its shade
of color and fiber, under a microscope; second, as to its ruling;
third, as to its water-mark; fourth, as to any indications that the
sheets have been separated since their original attachment; fifth, as
to the writing--whether or not it bears the harmonious character of
the continuous writing, with the same pen and ink, and coincident
circumstances, or if typewritten, whether or not by the same operator
or the same machine. It would be a remarkable fact if such change were
to be made without betraying some tangible proof in some one or more
of the above enumerated respects.

Books of accounts are often changed by adding fictitious or fraudulent
entries in such spaces as may have been left between the regular
entries or at the bottom of the pages where there is a vacant space.
Where such entries are suspected, there should be at first a careful
inspection of the writing as to its general harmony with that which
precedes and follows, as to its size, slope, spacing, ink, and pen
used, and if in a book of original entry, the suspected entry should
be traced through other books, to see if it is properly entered as to
time and place, or vice versa.

The judgment by the naked eye as to the colors or shades of two inks
in the same paper or document is very likely to be erroneous for the
reason that when a lighter ink is more heavily massed than a darker
one the effect on the eye is as if it were the darker. Under a
microscope or magnifying glass the field is more restricted, the finer
lines are broadened, and one has larger areas of ink to compare with
less surface of strongly contrasted white paper. Then, again, an ink
without noticeable bluish tinge to the naked eye may appear quite blue
under the glass where the films of ink are broadened and thinned and
their characters better observed.

In order to judge whether two marks have been made by the same ink,
they should be viewed by reflected light to note the color, luster and
thickness of the ink film. Many inks blot or "run" on badly sized
paper--i.e., the lines are accompanied by a paler border which
renders their edges less well defined.

Even on well-sized papers this class of inks usually exhibits only a
stained line of no appreciable thickness where the fluid has touched
the paper.

The copying and glossy inks, which often contain a considerable
quantity of gum, do not "run" or blot even on partially sized paper,
and show under the glass a convexity on the surface of the line and an
appreciable thickness of the film.

It does not always follow when an ink has made a blur on one part of
the paper and not on another that the paper has been tampered with. A
drop of water accidentally let fall on the blank page will frequently
affect the sizing in that place, and, besides, all papers are not
evenly sized in every part.

The inks rich in gum, or those concentrated by evaporation from
standing in an open inkstand, give a more lustrous and thicker stroke.
Some inks penetrate deeper into the paper than others, and some
produce chemical effects upon the sizing and even upon the paper
itself, so that the characters can easily be recognized on the
underside of the sheet. In some old documents the ink has been known
to so far destroy the fiber of the paper that a slight agitation of
the sheet would shake out as dust much of the part which it covered,
thus leaving an imperfect stencil plate of the original writing.

Distilled water is very useful in many cases to ascertain whether
paper has been scratched and partially sized or treated with resin. If
it has not been altered by chemical agents, the partial sizing and the
resinous matter used give to the paper a peculiar appearance. Sizing
takes away from the whiteness of the paper, and, thinned by the
scratching or washing, it absorbs much more quickly even when it has
been partially sized.

A simple mode of operation is to place a document or paper suspected
of being a forgery, on a sheet of paper or better still, on a piece of
glass; then moisten little by little with a paint brush all parts of
it, paying close attention to the behavior of the liquid as it comes
in contact with the paper.

By means of water one can discover what acids, alkalis, or salts the
parts of the paper with colored borders or white spots contain.

With the aid of a pipette cover these spots with water and let it
remain for ten or fifteen minutes; then with the pipette remove the
liquid and examine the products it holds in solution. Afterwards make
a comparative experiment on another part of the paper which is neither
spotted nor whitened.

If the original writing has been done with a very acid ink on a paper
containing a carbonate, such as calcium carbonate, the ink, in
attacking the calcareous salt, stains the paper, so that if the forger
has removed the ferruginous salts this removal is denoted by the
semi-transparence that water gives to the paper.

To study carefully the action of the water it is necessary to repeat
the experiment several times, allowing the paper to dry thoroughly
before recommencing it.

According to Tarry, it is necessary to have recourse to alcohol to
discover whether the paper has been scratched in any of the parts and
then covered with a resinous matter to prevent the ink from blotting.

Place the document on a sheet of white paper and with a paint brush
dipped in alcohol of specific gravity 0.86 or 0.87 cover the place
supposed to have been tampered with. It may be discovered if the
writing thickens and runs when the alcohol has dissolved the resin.

Hold the paper moistened with alcohol between the eye and the light;
the thinning of the paper shows the work of the forger.

Some more skillful forgers use paste and resin at the same time to
mask their fraudulent operations; in this case luke-warm water should
be first employed and then alcohol; water to dilute the paste, and
alcohol to dissolve the resin. The result is that the ink added on the
places scratched out spreads, and the forgery is easily seen.

Test-papers (litmus, mauve, and Georgina paper) serve to determine
whether a paper has been washed either by the help of chemical agents,
acids incompletely removed, or the surplus of which has been saturated
by an alkali, or by the help of alkaline substances. The change of the
color to red indicates an acid substance; an alkali would turn the
reddened litmus paper to blue, and the mauve and Georgina test-papers
to green.

Take a sheet of test-paper of the same dimensions as the document to
be examined, moisten it, and cover it underneath with a sheet of
Swedish filter-paper. These two sheets together (the filter-paper
underneath) are then applied to the document which has been moistened
already. The whole is then laid between two quires of paper, covered
by a weighted board, and left in this condition for about an hour. At
the end of this time examine the test-paper to see if it has partly or
altogether changed color. This examination finished, put the
test-paper in contact with distilled water, to be afterwards removed
and tried by appropriate tests to discover the nature of the alkali or
acid present.

Silver nitrate is also used to discover whether the paper has been
washed with chlorine or chlorites. A paper in that way becomes acid.
The chlorine changes to hydrochloric acid, which dissolves in the
water with which the suspected document or paper is moistened, and at
the contact of silver nitrate little spots of silver chloride appear.

There are various other tests such as gallo-tannic acid or infusion
of nutgalls prepared a short time before application and may be used
with advantage to restore writings that have been removed by washing.
Place the document or paper on a sheet of white paper and moisten the
whole of its surface with a paint brush dipped in the reagent, taking
care not to rub it or strongly press it. When the surface is well
impregnated allow the solution to act for an hour, and at the end of
this time examine the document again. Then moisten it a second time
and the following day, examine the results. Repeat the moistening
several times if necessary, for it often takes some time to make the
traces of writing reappear.

Chevallier and Lassaigne experimented together on the effect produced
by the vapor of iodine on the surface of the papers or documents upon
which the alteration of writing was suspected. Take a bottle with a
wide mouth from ten to eleven centimeters in height, and the opening
from five to six centimeters in width. This last is covered by a disk
of unpolished glass. Into the bottom of this vessel introduce from
twenty to thirty grams of iodine in crystals.

Place the portion of paper on which the vapor of iodine is to act at
the opening of the bottle, and cover it with the stopper of unpolished
glass, on which put a weight so as to exert a slight pressure, and in
order that the aperture may be hermetically closed. Then allow the
vapor of iodine to act on the dry paper for three or four minutes at
the temperature of 15° to 16° C. and examine it attentively. When the
surface has not been spotted by any liquid (water, alcohol, salt
water, vinegar, saliva, tears, urine acids, acid salts, or alkalis) a
uniform pale-yellow or yellowish-brown tinge will be noticed on all
parts of the paper exposed to the vapor of iodine.

Otherwise a different and easily distinguished tinge shows itself on
the surface that has been moistened and then dried in the open air.

Machine-made papers with starchy and resinous sizing give such decided
reactions that sometimes it is possible to distinguish by the color
the portion of the paper treated with alcohol from that moistened with
water. The spot produced by alcohol takes a kind of yellow tinge; that
formed by water becomes a violet blue, more or less deep, after having
dried at an ordinary temperature. As to the spots produced by other
aqueous liquids, they approach in appearance, though not in intensity,
those occasioned by pure water. Feeble acids, or those diluted by
water, act like water; but the concentrated mineral acids, in altering
more or less the substance of the sizing, produce spots that present
differences.

Spots which become apparent by using vapor of iodine are due to
chemical agents whose strength has altered either the fibers of the
surface, or the paste uniting them.

In a word, the test of a document or paper by vapor of iodine has the
double advantage of indicating the place of the supposed alteration
and operating afterwards with appropriate reagents to bring back the
traces of ink. It is only the reappearance of former letters or
figures written or effaced that demonstrates forgery. Much time may be
profitably spent in merely scanning each letter of a document, and the
writing by lines, paragraphs, and pages before a closer scrutiny.
Gradually, if the writing be genuine, its character will begin to
reveal itself, and unconsciously a hypothesis as to the physical
causes of the irregularities or characteristics will be formed.

When an entire document or page is forged, the ornamentation,
flourishes, or the capitals at its head will often be seen to be out
of keeping, either with its nature or with the supposed author's
habits in similar cases. In a writing all must agree, place, day,
year, handwriting, superscription or heading, signature, and material
carrying the writing, especially paper, both as to constitution and
color and ink.

See illustrations of various kinds of handwriting at end of this book.



CHAPTER XV

GUIDED HANDWRITING AND METHOD USED

The Most Frequent and Dangerous Method of Forgery--How to Detect
a Guided Signature--What Guided Handwriting Is and How It Is
Done--Character of Such Writing--Writing by a Guided Hand--Difficulty
in Writing--Force Exercised by Joint Hands--A Hand More or Less
Passive--Work of the Controlling Hand--How Guided Writing Appears--Two
Writers Acting in Opposition--Distorted Writing--How a Legitimate
Guided Hand is Directed and Supported--Pen Motion Necessary to Produce
Same--Influence in Guiding a Stronger Hand--Avoiding an Unnatural and
Cramped Position--Effect of the Brain on Guided Hand--Separating
Characteristics From Guided Joint Signature--Detecting Writing by a
System of Measurement.


Guided handwriting is one of the most frequent means of forgery and
oftentimes the most difficult to detect. It has been established that
with care the elements of each handwriting can be detected and proven
in a guided signature. The leading handwriting experts of the world
are unanimous in declaring that it is possible for holding another's
hand in making a guided signature to infuse the character of the
guider's hand into the writing.

Guided handwriting is the writing produced by two hands conjointly and
is usually erratic, and at first sight, hard to connect with the
handwriting of any one person.

The character and quality of writing in case of a controlled or
assisted hand must depend largely upon the relative force, exercised
by the joint hands. The difficulty in writing arises from the
antagonizing motion of one hand upon the other, which is likely to
produce an unintelligible scrawl, having little or none of the
habitual characteristics of either hand.

Where one hand is more or less passive, the controlling hand doing the
writing, its characteristics may be more or less manifest in the
writing. But obviously the controlling hand must be seriously
obstructed in its motions by even a passive hand; and since the
controlling hand can have no proper or customary rest, the motion must
be from the shoulder and with the whole arm. The writing will
therefore be upon an enlarged scale, loose, sprawling, and can have
little, if any, characteristic resemblance to the natural and habitual
style of the controlling writer, and of course none of the person's
whose hand is passive.

In appearance it changes abruptly from very high or very wide to very
low or narrow letters. This is to be explained by the non-agreement in
phase of the impulses due to each of the two writers. If both are
endeavoring at the same moment to write a given stroke the length of
that stroke will be measured by the sum of the impulses given by the
two writers. If they act in opposition to one another, one seeking to
make a down stroke while the other is trying to make an up stroke, the
result will be a line equal to the difference between the stronger and
the weaker force.

As these coincidences and oppositions occur at irregular but not
infrequent intervals, like the interference and amplification phases
of light and sound waves, the result traced on the paper might be
expected in advance to be--and in fact is--a distorted writing where
maxima and minima of effect are connected together by longer or
shorter lines of ordinary writing.

The only state of things which can justify the guiding of a hand
executing a legal instrument is the feebleness or illness of its
owner.

When such assistance is required it is usually given by passing the
arm around the body of the invalid and supporting the writing hand
while the necessary characters are being made.

Both participants in this action are looking at the writing, and both
are thinking of the next letter which must be written, and of the
motion of the pen necessary to produce it. Unless the executing hand
were absolutely lifeless or entirely devoid of power, it would be
impossible for it not to influence the guiding and presumably stronger
hand; for the least force exerted cannot fail to deflect a hand,
however strong, in an unnatural and cramped position. Nor can the hand
of the guider fail to add its contribution to the joint effort,
however much the brain which controls it may strive to render the hand
entirely passive. Both minds are busy with the same act, and
insensibly both hands will write the same letter with the results just
described.

Can the characteristics of each hand be separated from those of the
other and the relative amount of the two contributions to the joint
signature be stated?

This is a question which is naturally asked during the trial of a case
involving the consideration of a guided hand. From the comparatively
small number of experiments made in this direction it would be too
hazardous to answer it in the affirmative, but it may be said that
some of the characteristics of each hand can usually be made apparent
by the system of measurement, and the indications seem to point to the
probability of being able to increase the number of characteristics
elicited in proportion to the number of observations made. If the
significance of every part of every stroke could be properly
interpreted, it follows that a complete separation of characteristics
would be effected, but this would require an indefinitely large number
of observations to be made and a quite unattainable skill in
explaining them.

See specimens of guided signatures in Appendix.



CHAPTER XVI

TALES TOLD BY HANDWRITING

Telling the Nationality, Sex and Age of Anyone Who Executes
Handwriting--Americans and Their Style of Writing--How English,
German, and French Write--Gobert the French Expert and How He Saved
Dreyfus--Miser Paine and His Millions Saved by an Expert--Writing
with Invisible Ink--Professor Braylant's Secret Writing Without
Ink--Professor Gross Discovers a Simple Secret Writing Method With a
Piece of Pointed Hardwood--A System Extensively Used--Studying the
Handwriting of Authors--How to Determine a Person's Character and
Disposition by Handwriting.


It is possible for a trained expert in handwriting to tell with a fair
degree of accuracy the nationality, sex, and age of any one who
executes writing of any kind. A study of the handwriting of the
different nations makes it comparatively easy to recognize in any
questioned specimen the nationality of the writer. The aggregate
characteristics of a nation are reflected in the style of handwriting
adopted as a national standard. The style most in use in the United
States is the semi-angular, forward-slant hand, although the vertical
round-hand is now being largely taught in the public schools and will
affect the appearance of the writing of the next generation quite
appreciably.

Frequently educational and newspaper critics compare unfavorably
American writing with that of other nations. The writer has
investigated the subject by collecting from many countries copy-books
and specimens of writing from leading teachers of writing, students in
various grades of schools, clerks and business men.

America is so far in advance of any other country in artistic and
business penmanship that there is really no second. Americans as a
whole write at a much higher rate of speed and with a freer movement
than any other nations, and, consequently, many critics stop when they
have criticized form alone, not making allowance for quantity.
Nervous, rapid writers (and such the Americans are) produce writing
more or less illegible, but it is not the fault of the standard so
much as the speed with which the writing is done.

The writing of England is either angular (for rapid business style),
or the civil-service round-hand--too slow for the every-day rush of
business. England's colonies, influenced by her copy-books and
teachers, write about as England does. Canada is an exception, as her
proximity to the United States causes her to mix the English and
American styles, with the American gaining ground.

The German and French write two radically different styles. Hence the
identity of the nation producing the writer as well as the identity of
the writer himself usually can be established. Before the writer is
known this frequently is of great benefit to the cause of justice as
it narrows down the search.

A case such as the Dreyfus affair has a tendency to confuse the public
mind and leads to wrong conclusions. In initiating the prosecution of
Dreyfus the French government submitted the documents to expert
Gobert, of the Bank of France, who is considered the leader in this
line in France. Gobert reported that Dreyfus did not write the
incriminating documents. The prosecutors then placed the papers in the
hands of Bertillon, the inventor of the anthropometric system of
measurements (used principally on criminals) which bears his name. It
mattered not that Bertillon had never appeared in a handwriting case
before, or that his skill in this line was unknown. He was a man of
science, of great renown in other lines, and the government relied on
these facts to bolster up its claim that Dreyfus wrote the
incriminating papers Bertillon reported in favor of the government's
contention, and it was an easy matter to get some alleged
experts--weak as to will and ability--and one or two honest but
misguided men to agree with him. Some of these afterward changed their
opinions when better standards of writing were given to them.

Dreyfus' friends sent engraved reproductions of standards and disputed
documents to the best-known experts all over the world, and without
exception these reported that Dreyfus was not the writer of the
disputed papers. On the side of the French government were a few
so-called "experts," headed and dominated by a man with no experience
whatever. The experts of skill and experience in France and the world
over were practically unanimous in favor of Dreyfus. A critical
examination of the documents in question produced an absolute
conviction that they could not possibly have been written by Dreyfus.

Unless the individual is fitted by nature and inborn liking for
investigations of this character, no amount of education and
experience will fit him. But, given natural equipment and inclination,
it is necessary first of all that the expert have a good general
education. He should have a sufficient command of language to make
others see what he sees. He should have a good eye for form and color,
and a well-trained hand to enable him to describe graphically as well
as orally what his trained eye has detected. A few strokes on a
blackboard or large sheet of paper will often make a clouded point
appear much plainer to court, jury and lawyers than hours of oral
description. The ability to handle the crayon and to simulate well the
writings under discussion is a great aid.

A very interesting case was involved in the will of Miser Paine in New
York in 1889. Here a deliberate attempt to get away with something
like $1,500,000 was made, which was frustrated by a handwriting
expert. When quite a young man, James H. Paine was a clerk in a Boston
business house. He absconded with a lot of money and went to New York,
where all trace of him was lost. He speculated with the stolen money,
and everything he touched turned to gold. He soon became a
millionaire. Then he became a miser. He went around the streets in
rags, lodged in a garret with a French family on the West Side, who
took him out of pure charity, and lived on the leavings which
restaurant-keepers gave him. There was only one thing that he would
spend money on; that was music. He was passionately fond of music, and
for years was a familiar figure in the lobby of the Academy of Music
during the opera season. He would go there early in the evening, and
beg people to pay his way in. If he didn't find a philanthropist he
would buy a ticket himself, but he never gave up hope until he knew
that the curtain had risen.

Finally Paine was run over by a cab in New York. He was taken to a
hospital, but made such a fuss about staying there that he was finally
removed to his garret home. He died there in a few days. Then a man
came forward with a power of attorney which he said Paine gave him in
1885 and which authorized him to take charge of Paine's interest in
the estate of his brother, Robert Treat Paine. The closing paragraph
empowered him to attend to all of Paine's business and to dispose of
his property without consulting anybody, in the event of anything
happening to him. Nothing was known then of Paine's possessions. Later
the French family with whom Paine lived opened an old hair trunk they
found in the garret. In this trunk they found nearly half a million
dollars in gold, bank notes, and securities. Chickering, the piano
man, came forward then and said that some years before Paine gave him
a package wrapped up in an old bandana handkerchief for safe keeping.
He had opened this package and found that it contained $300,000 in
bank notes. Other possessions of Paine's were found. Relatives came
forward and employing handwriting experts proved that the power of
attorney presented was a forgery and the estate went to the relations
of Paine. This was a celebrated case in its day and called attention
to the value of experts in this line.

Ovid, in his "Art of Love," teaches young women to deceive their
guardians by writing their love letters with new milk, and to make the
writing appear by rubbing coal dust over the paper. Any thick and
viscous fluid, such as the glutinous and colorless juices of plants,
aided by any colored powder, will answer the purpose equally well. A
quill pen should be used.

The most common method is to pen an epistle in ordinary ink,
interlined with the invisible words, which doubtless has given rise to
the expression, "reading between the lines," in order to discover the
true meaning of a communication. Letters written with a solution of
gold, silver, copper, tin, or mercury dissolved in aqua fortis, or
simpler still of iron or lead in vinegar, with water added until the
liquor does not stain white paper, will remain invisible for two or
three months if kept in the dark; but on exposure for some hours to
the open air will gradually acquire color, or will do so instantly on
being held before the fire. Each of these solutions gives its own
peculiar color to the writing--gold, a deep violet; silver, slate; and
lead and copper, brown.

There is a vast number of other solutions that become visible on
exposure to heat, or when having a heated iron passed over them; the
explanation is that the matter is readily burned to a sort of
charcoal. Simplest among these are lemon juice or milk; but the one
that produces the best result is made by dissolving a scruple of
salammoniac in two ounces of water.

Several years ago Professor Braylant of the University of Louvain
discovered a method in which no ink at all was required to convey a
secret message. He laid several sheets of note paper on each other and
wrote on the uppermost with a pencil; then selected one of the under
sheets, on which no marks of the writing were visible. On exposing
this sheet to the vapor of iodine for a few minutes it turned
yellowish and the writing appeared of a violet brown color. On further
moistening the paper it turned blue, and the letters showed in violet
lines. The explanation is that note paper contains starch, which under
pressure becomes "hydramide," and turns blue in the iodine fumes. It
is best to write on a hard surface, say a pane of glass. Sulphuric
acid gas will make the writing disappear again, and it can be revived
a second time.

One of the simplest secret writings, however, to which Professor Gross
of Germany calls attention is the following:

Take a sheet of common writing paper, moisten it well with clear
water, and lay it on a hard, smooth surface, such as glass, tin,
stone, etc. After removing carefully all air bubbles from the sheet,
place upon it another dry sheet of equal size and write upon it your
communication with a sharp-pointed pencil or a simple piece of pointed
hardwood. Then destroy the dry paper upon which the writing has been
done, and allow the wet paper to dry by exposing it to the air (but
not to the heat of fire or the flame of a lamp). When dry, not a trace
of the writing will be visible. But on moistening the sheet again with
clear water and holding it against the light, the writing can be read
in a clear transparency. It disappears again after drying in the air,
and may be reproduced by moistening a great number of times. Should
the sheets be too much heated, however, the writing will disappear,
never to reappear again. This system is used extensively in Germany.

An interesting study is the handwriting of authors, as it indicates to
a greater or less degree their personal temperaments.

Longfellow wrote a bold, open back-hand, which was the delight of
printers, says the Scientific American. Joaquin Miller wrote such a
bad hand that he often becomes puzzled over his own work, and the
printer sings the praises of the inventor of the typewriter.

Charlotte Bronte's writing seemed to have been traced with a cambric
needle, and Thackeray's writing, while marvelously neat and precise,
was so small that the best of eyes were needed to read it. Likewise
the writing of Captain Marryatt was so microscopic that when he was
interrupted in his labors he was obliged to mark the place where he
left off by sticking a pin in the paper.

Napoleon's was worse than illegible, and it is said that his letters
from Germany to the Empress Josephine were at first thought to be
rough maps of the seat of war.

Carlyle wrote a patient, crabbed and oddly emphasized hand. The
penmanship of Bryant was aggressive, well formed and decidedly
pleasing to the eye; while the chirography of Scott, Hunt, Moore, and
Gray was smooth and easy to read but did not express distinct
individuality.

Byron's handwriting was nothing more than a scrawl. His additions to
proofs frequently exceeded in volume the original copy, and in one of
his poems, which contained in the original only four hundred lines,
one thousand were added in the proofs.

The writing of Dickens was minute, and he had a habit of writing with
blue ink on blue paper. Frequent erasures and interlineations made his
copy a burden to his publishers.

Horace Greeley could not decipher his own writing after it got cold.

Mark Twain writes a cramped, plain hand, and writes with haste.

For an evening entertainment when a few friends happen to drop in ask
each one to write any quotation that pops into his head and carefully
sign his name in full. Pen and ink are better than pencil, but the
latter will answer in a pinch. If the writing is dark this shows a
leaning toward athletics and a love for outdoor life and sports. If
the letters are slender and faint the writer is reserved and rarely
shows emotion or becomes confidential. Sloping letters indicate a very
sensitive disposition, whereas those that are straight up and down
evince ability to face the world and throw off the "slings and arrows
of outrageous fortune."

Curls and loops are out of fashion nowadays, but any inclination to
ornate penmanship is a sure indication of a leaning toward the
romantic and sentimental, while the least desire to shade a letter
shows imagination and a tendency to idealize common things. If the
same letter is formed differently by the same person this shows love
of change. Long loops or endings to the letters indicate that the
writer "wears his heart upon his sleeve," or in other words, is
trusting, non-secretive, and very fond of company. If the "y" has a
specially long finish, this shows affectation, but if the same person
is also careless about crossing the "t's," the combination is an
unhappy one, as it points to fickleness in work and to affectation. A
curved cross to the "t," or the incurving of the first letters of a
word shows an affectionate and good-natured disposition if taken
separately; but if the two are indulged in by the same writer it is a
sign of jealousy.

Writing that is rather small points to cleverness, quick intuitions, a
liking for one's own way, brilliant intellect, and fine powers of
penetration. Round, jolly, comfortable-looking letters betoken a
disposition to correspond.

With these hints in mind it will be surprising to find how many caps
may be found to fit ourselves and our friends.



CHAPTER XVII

WORKINGS OF THE GOVERNMENT SECRET SERVICE

Officials of This Department Talk About Their Work--How Criminals
Are Traced, Caught and Punished--Its Work Extending to All
Departments--Secret Service Districts--Reports Made to the Treasury
Department--Good Money and Bad--How to Detect the False--System of
Numbering United States Notes Explained--Counterfeiting on the
Decrease--Counterfeiting Gold Certificates--Bank Tellers and
Counterfeits--The Best Secret Service in the World.


The secret service bureau of the Treasury Department is not an old
concern. It has not been in operation many years, compared to the
existence of other bureaus, but it grows in importance each year.
There are now a large number of investigators, by some called
detectives, in the field, but the exact number is not known and will
not be made public.

Counterfeiting money is an old offense. It was done before the United
States became a government, but does not seem to have become so
widespread until the United States began making its own paper money
during the Civil War. Prior to that time the offenses had been dealt
with by states and municipalities, with such help as the general
government cared to give. The increase in the crime, however, caused
recognition by Congress in 1860, when $10,000 was appropriated for its
suppression to be expended under the direction of the Secretary of the
Treasury. This sum was paid out in rewards to private detectives,
municipal officers and others instrumental in bringing to trial and
punishment those engaged in making bogus money.

With the turning out of greenbacks by the government an increase in
the appropriation and a more organized fight against counterfeiting
were necessary. In 1864 Congress appropriated $100,000 and placed upon
the solicitor of the treasury the responsibility and supervision of
keeping down counterfeiting. This really inaugurated a methodical
system of hunting and punishing counterfeiters. The solicitor of the
treasury gathered about him a corps of men experienced in criminal
investigations and set them to work. The plan worked so well that when
John Sherman was secretary of the treasury he gave his approval to the
organization of a separate bureau for suppressing the output of
spurious currency. Under foreign governments the handling of
counterfeiters is in control of a centralized police organization,
which looks after all kinds of criminal offenses against the general
governments. The one bureau has surveillance over criminals of every
class. The tendency is in that direction in this government. The
secret service bureau is now being used by a number of departments of
the government.

The operations of the secret service are confined by law to the
suppression of counterfeiting and the investigation of back pay and
bounty cases. This is all the law permits the officials of the service
to work on, but every day they are at work on other matters. That the
law may not be openly violated the secret service operators assigned
to do other work are practically taken off the secret service rolls
and the department employing them is required to pay their salaries
and expenses. Nearly all the departments now recognize the efficiency
of the service and call upon the bureau at any time for a man. The
Department of Justice has used a number of the operators in the last
few years. In the course of time this will become so general that this
government will probably build up a great criminal bureau, one that
will supply officers for investigation of any crime. The Postoffice
Department now has its own system of inspectors, who investigate
violations of postal laws, and the plan of pitting specialist against
specialist is regarded as perfect. This could be continued, though, if
all the criminal organizations of the government were centralized.

The United States is divided into thirty secret service districts,
each in charge of an operative who has under his direction as many
assistants as the criminal activity of the section demands. The force
is concentrated in one district if there are counterfeiting operations
in progress, and then sent to another district as required. A written
daily report, covering operations for twenty-four hours, is exacted
from each district operative and from each man under him. These daily
reports frequently contain many fascinating stories, many details of
criminal life and espionage that would make columns. The reports
received by the bureau in Washington are carefully filed away in the
offices of the Treasury Department. Accompanying the reports are the
photographs and measurements of every man arrested for counterfeiting.
The Bertillon system of measurements is used by the service, as well
as a plain indexed card system. The two are so complete that even
without the name of a man his name and record can be obtained if his
measurements are forwarded.

Hanging on the walls and in racks in the two rooms that are occupied
by the chief and his two assistants are the photographs of every known
counterfeiter in the country. Among these are the faces of William E.
Brockway, the veteran dean of counterfeiters; Emanuel Ninger, the most
expert penman the service ever knew, and Taylor and Bredell, who hold
the record as the cleverest counterfeiters in history next to
Brockway. There are hundreds of others who have at some time or other
gotten into the clutches of the service, many of them the most
desperate characters. Some of these have taken human life with the
same ease they would make a paper dollar or a silver coin.

The development of modern processes of photolithography, photogravure,
and etching has revolutionized the note counterfeiting industry. So
famous a counterfeiter as Brockway realized this. In the old days all
counterfeiting plates were hand engraved and it took from eight to
fifteen months to complete a set. Now this part of the work may be
done in a few hours.

Information as to the personnel and operations of the secret service
is carefully withheld from the public. The names of the heads of the
various districts and the operators are unknown and are seldom
published unless in case of the arrest of a counterfeiter and the the
facts get into the newspapers. The bureau is managed by John E.
Wilkie, chief. He has held the position since 1898, when he succeeded
Chief Hazen. Mr. Wilkie is a newspaper man having held responsible
positions on many large papers. He began his career as a reporter and
worked his way up to city editor of one of the big Chicago papers. He
has a great "nose" for criminal investigation, and his work is
regarded as brilliant.

All the United States notes are printed in sheets of four notes of one
denomination on each sheet. Each note is lettered in its respective
order, in the upper and lower corners diagonally opposite, A, B, C,
and D, and this is the system for numbering notes: All numbers, on
being divided by 4 and leaving 1 for a remainder, have the check
letter A; 2 remainder, B; 3 remainder, C; even numbers, or with no
remainder, D. Any United States note the number upon which can be
divided by 4 without showing the above result is a counterfeit, and
while this rule is not infallible in all instances it will be found of
service in the detection of counterfeits.

Compared with a dozen or so years ago, there is nothing like the
counterfeiting going on in this country. Shortly after the war the
country was practically flooded with it, but so perfect is the
machinery of the secret service and so successful have its officers
been in recent years in unearthing the big plants and their operators,
and placing the latter behind the bars, that counterfeiting has almost
ceased.

The receipts of subsidiary counterfeit coins at the subtreasury at New
York have been in recent times inconsequential. Some time ago an
Italian silversmith, who was an expert coin counterfeiter, was
captured, and the destruction of his plant and his subsequent
conviction had a wholesome effect upon his fellow countrymen, some of
whom have come over to the United States for the express purpose of
counterfeiting its silver coins. Only five counterfeit issues of notes
made their appearance during the year in question, and of these three
were new and two were reissues of old counterfeits.

This shows how well the counterfeit situation, as it were, is kept in
check and under control by the government. By some it is supposed that
most of our counterfeiters come from abroad, but this is not strictly
accurate, though many of those who attempt to imitate our silver
dollar and the subsidiary coin issues hail from Italy and Russia.

In order to set up a first-class counterfeit shop for the turning out
of good paper counterfeits, there are so many indispensable requisites
on the part of the spurious money-makers that they get discouraged or
caught in most instances almost at the very outset of their would-be
easy money-making careers. All of the good engravers who are capable
of turning out good plates are more or less under the constant
supervision of the secret service officers, while the paper supply, or
its possible supply, is equally well watched.

Because gold and silver coins pass current out on the Pacific coast,
where notes do not yet circulate freely as in the east, California has
more counterfeiting cases than any other state in the Union, with
Pennsylvania, with its large foreign population in the mining regions,
a close second.

A moderately deceptive $5 silver certificate was made in Italy,
imported into this country by various gangs of Italians and passed
quite extensively in the eastern states, but the secret service
officers quickly got on to the source of issue, and made many arrests
and secured convictions. So closely did they hit the trail of a fairly
good counterfeit note issued in the west that they got the maker and
passer arrested and convicted and the plates captured so quickly that
it must have caused him acute pain. It was the same with a $10 note of
deceptive workmanship which appeared in New York. Only three of these
notes were circulated.

Of course there are plenty of counterfeit notes and coins in
circulation--if there were not the secret-service officers would have
an easy time of it--but the output has largely decreased as compared
with former years, and, unless all signs fail, it is likely to go
still lower, as the secret service officers become each year more
expert in detecting this class of crime and putting the criminals away
where they will serve the state the best. Gold certificates issued
below the denomination of $20, are numbered the same as treasury notes
and are check-lettered in their order upon each sheet.

The only denominations of the gold certificates which have been
counterfeited are the issues for $20 and $100, respectively, as the
gold certificates present a pretty tough counterfeiting proposition,
though most of the denominations of the various issues of the silver
certificates have been more or less extensively counterfeited, perhaps
the issues for $5 and $10, respectively, being the most favored at the
counterfeiter's hands, by reason of the ready circulation of these two
issues.

The main deterrents to counterfeiting nowadays are, first, lack of
good engravers who will take the risk; second, the difficulty in the
making and the assembling of first-class plates, and third, the
difficulty in the securing of suitable paper. As to the last, the
fiber paper now in use with the two silk threads running through the
note lengthwise presents a hard proposition for imitation, and lastly,
and an important provision, is the fact the public is now pretty well
educated on the question of counterfeits, and know how a spurious bill
both looks and feels. As for the bank tellers, they scent counterfeits
by instinct. Things have changed for the counterfeiter, too, and they
are not for the best from his point of view.

The secret service of the United States is without a question the best
in the world.



CHAPTER XVIII

CHARACTER AND TEMPERAMENT INDICATED BY HANDWRITING

A Man's Handwriting a Part of Himself--Cheap Postage and Typewriters
Playing Havoc with Writing by Hand--Old Time Correspondence
Vanishing--Two Divisions of Handwriting--Fashion Has Changed Even
Writing--Characteristic Writing of Different Professions--Handwriting
a Sure Index to Character and Temperament--Personality of
Handwriting--Handwriting a Voiceless Speaking--A Neglected
Science--Interest in Disputed Handwriting Rapidly Coming to the
Front--Set Writing Copies no Longer the Rule--Formal
Handwriting--Education's Effect on Writing--Handwriting and
Personality--The Character and Temperament of Writers Easily
Told--Honest, Eccentric, and Weak People--How to Determine Character
by Writing--The Marks of Truth and Straightforwardness--How
Perseverance and Patience Are Indicated in Writing--Economy, Generosity
and Liberality Easily Shown in Writing--The Character and Temperament
of Any Writer Easily Shown--Studying Character from Handwriting a
Fascinating Work--Rules for Its Study--Links in a Chain That Cannot Be
Hidden--A Person's Writing a Surer Index to Character Than His Face.


A person's handwriting is really a part of himself. It is an
expression of his personality and his character and is as
characteristic of his general make-up as his gait or his tone of
voice.

There is always a direct and apparent connection between the style of
handwriting and the personality of the writer. Another familiar
evidence of this is the fact that no two persons write exactly alike,
notwithstanding that hundreds of thousands of people learned to write
from the same copy-books and were taught to form their letters in
precisely the same way. Thus, it will be seen, if handwriting bore no
relationship to personality and temperament and was not influenced by
the character of the individual, we would all be writing the beautiful
Spencerian copper-plate we were taught in our school days. But, as it
is, not one in fifty thousand writes in this manner five years after
leaving school.

Like speech or gesture, handwriting serves as a means for the
expression of thought; and in expressing our thoughts we give
expression to ourselves. When once the art of writing is learned we
are no longer conscious of the mental and manual effort required to
form the letters. It becomes, as it were, a second nature to us. We do
it mechanically, just as we form our words when talking, without
realizing the complex processes of mind and muscle that it involves.

Of course, the style of handwriting does not in every case remain the
same throughout the entire life of a man or woman. A man of fifty may
not write the same hand that he did when he was eighteen or twenty,
and if he lives to be eighty or ninety it will in all probability show
further indications of change. This fact only emphasizes the
relationship between handwriting, character, and personality; for it
will always be found that where there is a change in the style of
penmanship there is a corresponding change in the person himself. Very
few of us retain the same character, disposition, and nature that we
had in youth. Experience and vicissitudes do much to modify our
natures, and with such modifications come alterations in our
handwriting. In some persons the change is very slight, while in
others it is noticeably evident.

When a man attempts to change his style of handwriting he simply
alters the principal features of it. If his writing normally slopes to
the right, he will probably adopt a back-hand. He may also use a
different kind of pen; may change the size of the writing, alter the
customary formation of certain letters, and add certain unfamiliar
flourishes. But knowing nothing about the many minor characteristics
of his natural writing he unconsciously repeats them, notwithstanding
his best efforts to veil the identity of his chirography. In this
respect he resembles the actor, who, while he may assume all the
outward characteristics of another individual, still retains certain
personal peculiarities of which he is himself unaware and which render
it impossible for him to completely disguise his own individuality.

The introduction of cheap postage and the immense increase of
every-day correspondence has ruined handwriting and banished forever
the art of composition. The short, modern, business-like letters of
to-day will not bear comparison with the neat, voluminous letters full
of graphic scenic descriptions, which our forefathers were wont to
compile, and were worth keeping and rereading. Now, when similar
correspondence is undertaken, it is dictated to a stenographer, copied
on a typewriter, or printed, for few people will take the trouble to
read manuscript composition of any kind. Looking backward, we find a
marked paucity of ideas and carelessness of writing in correspondence,
getting worse the farther back we go. Few letters are preserved these
days, except those on business, which is a pity, for a letter is
always a unique production, being a correct reflect of a writer and
his times.

There are always two divisions of handwriting, the formal hand
employed for clerk's work, and a freer, less mechanical, less careful
style, used for private correspondence. Writing was a profession only
understood by a few, and as late as the sixteenth century, when it was
necessary to communicate with persons at a distance, a professional
scribe was employed to write the letter. But letter-writing was rare
and did not become general till after the close of the sixteenth
century, and even then it was restricted to the upper classes of
society.

Fashion changes in everything. Every generation had its own particular
type of writing. Compare, for instance, any bundle of letters taken at
random, out of an old desk or library. It is quite easy to sort them
into bundles in sequence of dates, and also guess accurately the age
and position of the writers. The flowing Italian hand, used by
educated women early in the nineteenth century, has now developed into
a bold, decisive, almost masculine writing.

It will be found that most professions have special characteristics in
writing and these are all liable to change, according to circumstances
and writing is the clearest proof of both bodily and mental condition,
for in case of paralysis, or mental aberration, the doctor takes it as
a certain guide.

The most noticeable movement by which cultured people recognize one
another are the play of the features, the gait, talking and writing.
Of these evidences the last named is the most infallible, for by a few
hasty lines we may recognize again a person whom we neither see nor
hear, and enjoy in addition the advantage of being able to compare
quietly and at our leisure the traits of one individual thus expressed
with the characteristics of another. There are not many men to be
found in any walk of life who do not endeavor to conceal to some
extent, however slight, their true views and emotions, when brought
into close contact with their fellow-beings. But the mind photographs
itself unsuspectingly in the movements of the hands, by the use of pen
and ink away from all alien observation, and with the rigid
unchangeable witness in our possession the character of the author of
the manuscript lies open to the gaze of the intelligent reader.

In this way handwriting becomes much more individual than any other
active sign of personality. It varies more, it is more free, it
represents the individual less artificially than voice or gesture.
There must exist between the form and arrangements of letters in words
and lines, on the one hand, and certain individual peculiarities of
the writer, on the other, some kind of connection. It is strange that
no scientific writing has ever yet been undertaken, for it seems
conclusive that handwriting is a kind of voiceless speaking,
consequently a phenomenon, and therefore an operation which lies
within the province of physiology.

Yet there are no books or studies on the subject of disputed
handwriting up to the present time, short newspaper and magazine
articles and sketches being the only contributions the public has been
favored with up to the publication of this work.

There is as yet no physiology of handwriting formulated, and that the
further question of the relation of handwriting to the moods of the
writer has not ever been touched upon scientifically. The history of
science teaches us that in case a fact, which is theoretically and
practically important, has been neglected for decades and even
centuries by trained scientists; but the subject will now be taken up
and a place made for it among the prominent and leading studies of the
day. Interest in disputed handwriting and writing of all kinds is
rapidly coming to the front in the United States, and is a study and
research that the business man of the future will be perfectly
familiar with.

It is now no longer the rule to teach to write entirely by the aid of
set copies, as was the case with our forefathers, who wrote after one
approved pattern, which was copied as nearly as possible from the
original set for them; therefore characteristics, peculiarities are
longer in asserting themselves and what is now considered a "formal"
handwriting was not developed till late in life. There were, and still
are, two divisions or classes of handwriting, the professional and
personal; with the first the action is mechanical and exhibits few, if
any, traces of personality. Yet in the oldest manuscripts studied and
consulted there are certain defined characteristics plainly shown. The
handwritings of historical and celebrated personages coincide to a
remarkable degree with their known virtues and vices, as criticized
and detailed by their biographers.

As the art of writing became general, its form varied more, and more,
becoming gradually less formal, and each person wrote as was easiest
to himself.

Education, as a rule, has a far from beneficial effect upon
handwriting; an active brain creates ideas too fast to give the hand
time to form the letters clearly, patiently and evenly, the matter,
not the material, being to the writer of primary importance.

So as study increased among all classes, writing degenerated from its
originally clear, regular lettering into every style of penmanship.

If the subject of handwriting, as a test of personality is carefully
studied, it will be found that immediate circumstances greatly
influence it; anxiety or great excitement of any kind, illness or any
violent emotion, will for the moment greatly affect the writing.
Writing depends upon so many things--a firm grasp of the pen, a
pliability of the muscles, clearness of vision and brain power--even
the writing materials, pens, ink and paper, all make a difference. It
is not strange, then, that with so many causes upon which it depends,
writing should be an excellent test of personality, temperament and
bodily health.

Excitability, hastiness, temperament, personality and impatience are
all seen in the handwriting at a glance. A quick brain suggests words
and sentences so fast, one upon another, that though the pen races
along the page, it cannot write down the ideas quickly enough to
satisfy the author.

Temper depends upon temperament. The crosses of the letter "t" are the
index whereby to judge of it. If those strokes are regular through a
whole page of writing, the writer may be assumed to have an
even-placed temper; if dashed off at random-quick short strokes
somewhat higher than the letter itself, quick outbursts of anger may
be expected, but of short duration, unless the stroke is firm and
black, in which case great violence may safely be predicted.

Uncertainty of character and temperament is shown by the variation of
these strokes to the letter "t." Sometimes the cross is firm and
black, then next time it is light, sometimes it is omitted altogether,
varying with each repetition of the letter like the opinions and
sentiments of an undecided person. The up and down strokes of the
letters tell of strength or weakness of will; graduations of light and
shade, too, may be observed in the strokes.

Capital letters tell us many points of interest. By them originality,
talent and mental capacity are displayed, as well as any deficiency or
want of education. There are two styles of capital letters at present
in use. The high-class style employed by persons of education is plain
and often eccentric, but without much ornamentation. The other may be
called the middle-class, for it is used by servants and tradespeople,
having a fair amount of education, mingled with a good deal of
conceited ignorance and false pride.

With these last, the capital letters are much adorned by loops, hooks
and curves, noticeable principally in the heads of the letters, or at
their commencements.

Therefore to become an expert on handwriting, a careful study must be
made of the writings of those whose life and character, together with
personal peculiarities, are intimately known and understood, and from
this conclusions may be drawn and rules arrived at for future use. Get
some friend to write his name and from your knowledge of his character
follow rules given in this work and you will find that a correct
conclusion will be arrived at. The same correct solution will be found
by studying any signature.

Affection is marked by open loops and a general slant or slope of the
writing. A hard nature, unsympathetic and unimpressionable, has very
little artistic feeling or love of the fine arts; therefore the same
things which indicate a soft, affectionate disposition will also
indicate poetry, music and painting, on one or other kindred subjects.
The first of these accompanies a loving, impulsive nature. In
painting, four things are absolutely necessary to produce an artist,
form, color, light and shade. Success in art implies a certain degree
of ambition, and consequently upon its vanity and egotism; hence an
artist's signature is generally peculiar and often unreadable from its
originality, egotism and exuberance of creative power.

Imagination and impulse do not tend to improve handwriting. The
strokes are too erratic. Haste is visible in every line. A
warm-hearted, impulsive person feels deeply and passionately at the
moment of writing and dashes off the words without regard to the
effect they will produce upon the reader.

Truth and straightforwardness give even lines running across the page
and at regular distances from one word to another. Tact is very
essential. This quality requires often slight deceptions to be allowed
or practiced; hence an unevenness in the writing is observed.
Untruthfulness gives greater unevenness still; but do not rush to
conclusions on this point for an unformed handwriting shows this
peculiarity very often, being due, not to evil qualities, but to an
unsteady hand employed in work to which it is unused.

Very round, even writing, in which the words are not closed, denotes
candor and openness of disposition, with an aptitude for giving
advice, whether asked or unasked, and not always of a complimentary
kind.

Blunt, crabbed writing suggests obstinacy and a selfish love of power,
without thought for the feelings of others. True selfishness gives
every curve an inward bend, very marked in the commencement of words
or capital letters.

Perseverance and patience are closely allied. In the former the letter
"t" is hooked at the top and also its stroke has a dark, curved end,
showing that when once an idea has been entertained no earthly
persuasion will alter or eradicate it. Such writers have strongly
defined prejudices and are apt to take very strong dislikes without
much cause.

Carelessness and patience also are frequently linked together, more
often in later life, when adversity has blunted the faculties, or the
drill routine of an uneventful existence has destroyed all romance.
Then the writing has short, up and down strokes, the curves are round,
the bars short and straight; there are no loops or flourishes, and the
whole writing exhibits great neatness and regularity.

Economy of living, curiously enough, is marked by a spare use of ink.
The terminals are abrupt and blunt, leaving off short. Where economy
is the result of circumstances, not disposition, only some of the
words are thus ended, while others have open, free curves and the long
letters are looped.

Generosity and liberality may be seen likewise in the end curve of
every word. Where these characteristics are inconstant and variable,
the disposition will be found to be uncertain--liberal in some
matters, while needlessly economical and stingy in others.

When a bar is placed below the signature, it means tenacity of
purpose, compared with extreme caution; also a dread of criticism and
adverse opinions. No dots to the letter "i" means negligence and want
of attention to details, with but a small faculty of observation. When
the dots are placed at random, neither above nor in proximity to the
letter to which they belong, impressionability, want of reflection and
impulsiveness may be anticipated.

Ambition and gratified happiness give to the whole writing an upward
tendency, while the rest of the writing is impulsive without much
firmness.

Sorrow gives every line of the writing a downward inclination.
Temporary affliction will at once show in the writing. A preoccupied
mind, full of trouble, cares little whether the letter then written is
legible or not; hence the writing is erratic, uncertain, and the
confusion of mind is clearly exhibited in every line. Irritable and
touchy persons slope the nourishes only, such as the cross of the
letter "t" and the upper parts of the capital letters. When the
capital letters stand alone in front of the words and the final
letters also are isolated, it betokens great creative power and
ideality, such as would come from an author and clever writer.

The most personal part of a letter or document is, of course, the
signature, but alone without any other writing it is not always a safe
guide to character. In many instances the line placed below or after a
signature tell a great deal more than the actual name. A curved
bending line below a signature, ending in a hook, indicates coquetry,
love of effect, and ideality. An exaggerated, common-like form of line
means caprice, tempered by gravity of thought and versatility of
ideas. An unyielding will, fiery, and at the same time determined,
draws a firm hooked line after the signature. A wavy line shows great
variety in mental power, with originality. Resolution is shown in a
plain line, and extreme caution, with full power to calculate effect
and reason a subject from every point of view, is shown by two
straight dashes with dots, thus --:--

The personality of a writer can never be wholly separated from his
works. And in any question of date or authenticity of a document being
called in dispute, the value of graphology and its theories will be
found of the utmost importance, for the various changes in the style
of handwriting, or in the spelling of words, although, perhaps, so
minute and gradual as seldom to be remarked, are, nevertheless, links
in a chain which it would be extremely hard to forge successfully so
as to deceive those acquainted with the matter as well as versed in
its peculiarities.

See specimens of handwriting in Appendix with descriptions thereof.



CHAPTER XIX

HANDWRITING EXPERTS AS WITNESSES

Who May Testify As An Expert--Bank Officials and Bank Employees Always
Desired--Definition of Expert and Opinion Evidence--Both Witness
and Advocate--Witness in Cross Examination--Men Who Have Made the
Science of Disputed Handwriting a Study--Objections to Appear in
Court--Experts Contradicting Each Other--The Truth or Falsity
of Handwriting--Sometimes a Mass of Doubtful Speculations--Paid
Experts and Veracity--Present Method of Dealing with Disputed
Handwriting Experts--How the Bench and Bar Regard the System--Remedies
Proposed--Should an Expert Be an Adviser of the Court?--Free
from Cross-Examination--Opinions of Eminent Judges on Expert
Testimony--Experts Who Testify without Experience--What a Bank
Cashier or Teller Bases His Opinions on--Actions and Deductions of
the Trained Handwriting Expert--Admitting Evidence of Handwriting
Experts--Occupation and Theories That Make an Expert--Difference
Between an Expert and a Witness--Experts and Test Writing--What
Constitutes an Expert in Handwriting--Present Practice Regarding
Experts--Assuming to Be a Competent Expert--Testing a Witness with
Prepared Forged Signatures--Care in Giving Answers--A Writing Teacher
as an Expert--Familiarity with Signatures--What a Dash, Blot, or
Distortion of a Letter Shows--What a Handwriting Expert Should Confine
Himself to--Parts of Writing Which Demand the Closest
Attention--American and English Laws on Experts in
Handwriting--Examination of Disputed Handwriting.


While the qualification necessary for the permission of a witness to
testify in court as an expert is largely discretionary with the judge,
such discretion is usually exercised with so great liberality that it
is not often that a witness offered as an expert is refused by the
court on the ground of deficient qualification. It is usually held
that any one possessed of anything more than ordinary opportunity for
studying or observing handwriting may give expert testimony, which the
jury may receive for what it is deemed to be worth. Bank officials and
employees are declared by most courts to be competent witnesses. If on
any previous occasion one has given testimony, that fact is usually
accepted as a sufficient qualification, or if he has ever seen the
person write whose writing is in question, he is deemed competent.
With such limited qualification it is no matter of surprise that
expert testimony is sometime made to appear at very great
disadvantage. Incompetent and mercenary witnesses will seek
employment, and since there are always two sides to a case, and on
each side lawyers who spare no efforts for victory, there is a chance
for every kind of witness, as there is for every kind of attorney.

Expert evidence is that given by one especially skilled in the subject
to which it is applicable, concerning information beyond the range of
ordinary observation and intelligence.

Opinion evidence is the conclusions of witnesses concerning certain
propositions, drawn from ascertained or supposed facts, by those who
have had better opportunities than the ordinary individual or witness
to judge of the truth or falsity of such propositions, or who are
familiar with the subject under inquiry, and give their conclusions
from the facts within their own knowledge concerning certain questions
involved.

Let us look at the question as it presents itself to the layman, to
men of science and experience, to microscopists, to bank officials and
others having much to do with writing. An expert in handwriting
occupies a totally anomalous position when called before a court as a
witness. Technically he is both a witness and an advocate, sharing the
responsibilities of both but without the privileges of the latter. He
has to instruct counsel and to prompt him during its course. But in
cross examination he is more open to insult because the court does not
see clearly how he arrives at his conclusions, and suspects whatever
it does not understand. Nearly every person who has had to appear in
court as an expert has been subjected to more or less humiliation by
the judge.

It may be, perhaps, cynically hinted that men who have made the
science of disputed handwriting a study should be willing to bear all
kinds of arrogance for the public good. In the first place, many
thoroughly competent experts in any department of science distinctly
and peremptorily refuse to be mixed up in any affair which may expose
them to cross examination. Many experts will investigate a matter,
give a report of their conclusions, but absolutely refuse to appear in
court.

Another not very edifying spectacle is that of paid handwriting
experts standing in court and contradicting each other, or pretending
to contradict in the interests of their respective clients, is not
exactly right. These men would change places and reverse positions and
arguments if necessary. Men of the world are tempted to say that
"Science can lay but little claim to certainty in demonstrating the
truth or falsity of handwriting and the whole procedure is more a mass
of doubtful speculations than a body of demonstrable truths." But it
must be remembered that a professional expert must be paid for his
services, and always tell the truth as it appears to him.

It is clearly seen that our present method of dealing with experts
regarding disputed handwriting is found to be on all sides not just
exactly satisfactory. Oftentimes the public is skeptical and many
honest and thorough experts are scandalized. The bench and bar share
this feeling but unfortunately are disposed to blame the individual
rather than the system.

There is no question but what this unanimity of dissatisfaction will
vanish as soon as a remedy is seriously proposed. To that, however, we
must come unless we are willing to dispense with expert evidence
altogether.

It is contended by many that an expert should be the adviser of the
court, not acting in the interest of either party in a lawsuit. Above
all things an expert ought to be exempt from cross-examination. His
evidence, or rather his conclusions, should be given in writing and
accepted just as the decisions of the bench on points of law.

Opinions of eminent judges have differed widely respecting the
reliance to be placed upon testimony founded upon expert comparisons
of handwriting, but it should be remembered that those opinions have
been no more varied than has been the character and qualifications of
the experts by whose testimony they have been called forth.

It is too true that very frequently persons have been allowed to give
testimony as experts who were utterly without experience in any
calling that tends to bestow the proper qualifications for giving
expert testimony.

The constant professional observation of handwriting in any line of
financial or commercial business tends to confer expert skill. It
should be said here, however, that the average bank cashier or teller
bases his opinions and his identifications generally upon the
pictorial effect without recourse to those minuter and more delicate
points upon which the skilled expert rightly places the greatest
reliance. Such testimony can not be compared for accuracy or value
with that of the scientific investigator of handwriting. It follows,
then, that one who is endowed with more than ordinary acuteness of
observation, and has had an experience so varied and extensive as to
cover most of these lines, is likely to be best fitted for critical
and reliable expert work.

In a word, the trained expert eye, even on so slight a thing as a
simple straight line, will detect certain peculiarities of motion, of
force, of pressure, of tool-mark, etc., that in normal circumstances
the result will stand for its author just as his photograph stands for
him. Now, this being undoubtedly true within certain limitations, how
more than incontestable must be the proposition to any rational man
that if, instead of a simple undeviating pen-stroke, lines that run to
curves and angles and slants, and shades and loops and ticks, and
enter into all sorts of combinations, such as any specimen of
handwriting must, however simple, bear inherent evidences of
authorship that yield their secrets to the expert examiner as the
hieroglyphics on an Egyptian monument do to a properly educated
antiquarian.

The propriety of admitting the evidence of handwriting experts in
investigating questions of forgery is now recognized by statute in
most states. Common sense dictates that in all investigations
requiring special skill, or when the common intelligence supposed to
be possessed by the jury is not fully adequate to the occasion, we
should accept the assistance of persons whose studies or occupations
have given them a large and special experience on the subject. Thus
such men of experience or experts are admitted to testify that work of
a given description is or is not executed with ordinary skill; what is
the ordinary price of a described article; whether described medical
treatment or other practice was conducted with ordinary skill in a
specific case; which of two colliding vessels, their respective
movements being given, was in fault; whether one invention was an
infringement of another, looking at the models of both; and other
cases already mentioned.

This is as near to an exact definition of who are admissible as
experts as it is possible for us to come. In all these cases it is to
be observed that the expert is to speak from no knowledge of the
particular facts which he may happen to possess, but is to pronounce
the judgment of skill upon the particular facts proved by other
witnesses. Of course the court must be first satisfied that the
witness offered is a person of such special skill and experience, for
if he be not, he can give no proper assistance to the jury; and of
course, also, very much must at least be left to the discretion of the
court, relative to the need of such assistance in the case; for very
often the matter investigated may be so bunglingly done that the most
common degree of observation may be sufficient to judge it.

Where a witness is called to testify to handwriting, from knowledge of
his own, however derived, as to the hand of the party, he is not an
expert, but simply a witness to a fact in the only manner in which
that fact is capable of proof. Nor is he an expert who is called to
compare a test writing, whose genuineness is established by others,
with the writing under investigation, if he have knowledge of the
handwriting of the party, because his judgment of the comparison will
be influenced more or less by his knowledge, and will not be what the
testimony of an expert should be, a pure conclusion of skill.

But when a witness, skilled in general chirography, but possessing no
knowledge of the handwriting under investigation, is called to compare
that writing with other genuine writings that have been brought into
juxtaposition with it, he is strictly an expert. His conclusions then
rest in no degree on particular knowledge of his own, but are the
deductions of a trained and experienced judgment, from premises
furnished by the testimony of other witnesses.

One of the palpable anomalies of the present practice regarding
experts on handwriting is that a person who has seen another write, no
matter how ignorant the observer may be, is competent to testify as to
whether or not certain writing is by the hand of the person he has
once seen engaged in the art of writing, while an expert handwriting
witness may only testify that the hand appears to be simulated but may
not point out the differences between specimens of genuine writing and
the instrument in controversy.

It is safe to presume that the apparently unreasonable position of the
law was assumed with a good object in view, and it is probable that
the object was the protection of the court from the swarm of so-called
experts which might be hatched by a laxity in the wording of the law.
Few things would be easier for a dishonest person than to swear he was
a competent expert, and then to swear that a document was, in his
opinion, forged or genuine, according to the requirements of his
hirer. The framers of the practice in reference to expert testimony on
documents seem to have had in mind that the only possible kind of
testimony as to documents was that based upon impressions; and that
the only method of coming to a conclusion was by giving words to the
first mental effect produced on a witness after he has looked at a
writing.

For this reason the practice has grown up in many trials of preparing
carefully forged signatures and producing them before the witness as a
test of how far he is able to distinguish genuine from forged
signatures.

However expert a witness may be, however successful in discriminations
of this kind, self-respect and a becoming modesty should induce him to
refuse to answer them without distinctly stating that his answer,
which gives his best judgment at the time, must be subject to reversal
if by longer and more thorough investigation it appear that the
opposite view were the true one.

When there is presented before a court of law a document, of which it
is important to know whether a part or the whole of the body, or the
signature, or all, is actually in the handwriting of some person whose
writing or signature in other exhibits is admitted to be genuine, the
counsel on each side usually seeks the aid of one or more handwriting
experts.

Usually a teacher of writing is called, but more often the cashier or
paying teller of a bank is preferred. There seems to be a good reason
for choosing a bank cashier or a paying teller, for the man upon whose
immediate judgment as to genuineness of signatures, reinforced by a
large and varied knowledge of human nature and quick observation of
any suspicious circumstances depends the safety of a bank, has
certainly gained much experience and is not apt to be easily deceived
in the kind of cases coming daily before him. How much the average
cashier and paying-teller depends upon the trifling circumstances
attending the presentation of a check, the appearance of the person
presenting it, the probability of the drawer inserting such a sum,
etc., becomes apparent when one has heard a number of these useful
officers testify in cases where they are deprived of all these
surroundings, and required to decide whether a certain writing is by
the same hand which produced another writing, both being unfamiliar to
them.

In this case they are obliged to create a familiarity with the
signatures of a man whose character and peculiarities they have never
known.

They miss the aid of some feature, such as a dash, a blot, or the
distortion of a letter, which would recall to them the character of
the writer. Most of the best experts of this class confess that they
cannot tell on what their judgment is based. They simply think that
the writing is not by the same hand as that admitted to be genuine.
"No," they will tell you, "it is not merely superficial resemblance. I
don't know what it is, but I feel sure," etc. These witnesses are more
frequently right than the more pretentious professional expert. The
former trust to the instantaneous impressions which they receive when
papers are handed to them; the latter too often give their attention
to the merely superficial features of chirography without getting
beyond the more obvious resemblances and differences which are
frequently the least important.

While the expert in handwriting should confine himself to the concrete
examinations of the paper, ink, seals, etc., and leave to the counsel
the task of reasoning on the purport of the words added, and all other
matters not allied to the materials left as the result of the forgery,
yet it would be unreasonable to neglect altogether these means of
corroborating a previously formed suspicion, or directing a course of
inquiry.

That expert would be more or less than human who could shut his eyes
to the importance of the fact that certain words containing evidence
in the manner of their formation or their position that raised doubts
as to their genuineness by their import gave to the person who might
have written them benefits which he would not have derived in their
absence.

The parts of a writing which demand the closest attention are those
which have been made unconsciously and which are not easily noted by a
superficial view. The height, the spread of the letters, the
peculiarities of the endings, the nourishes, and the general shape are
things which the forger observes and imitates, often with success; but
the curvature of a letter in its different parts is not easily
appreciated by the naked eye.

There are but few laws in the United States regarding the functions of
handwriting experts. Courts in various states have followed decisions
made by higher courts where matters affecting expert testimony have
been carried to the court of last resort. A code of uniform laws on
this question is being agitated and will soon be called to the
attention of all state legislatures. England has adopted a simple and
concise law on admissibility of testimony of handwriting experts.

In the absence of such laws a few extracts from Stephens' Law of
Evidence, an English work, will be found interesting and instructive:

Article XLIX: "When there is a question as to any point of science or
art, the opinions upon that point of persons specially skilled in any
such matter are deemed to be relevant facts.

"Such persons are hereinafter called experts.

"The words 'science or art' include all subjects on which a course of
special study or experience is necessary to the formation of an
opinion, and amongst others the examination of disputed handwriting.

"Illustration: The question is, whether a certain document was written
by A. Another document is produced which is proved or admitted to have
been written by A.

"The opinions of experts on the question whether the two documents
were written by the same person, or by different persons, are deemed
to be relevant."

Article LI: "When there is a question as to the person by whom any
document was written or signed, the opinion of any person acquainted
with the handwriting of the supposed writer that it was or was not
written or signed by him, is deemed to be a relevant fact.

"A person is deemed to be acquainted with the handwriting of another
person when he has at any time seen that person write, or when he has
received documents purporting to be written by that person in answer
to documents written by himself or under his authority, and addressed
to that person, or when in the ordinary course of business, documents
purporting to be written by that person have been habitually submitted
to him.

"Illustration: The question is, whether a given letter is in the
handwriting of A, a merchant in Calcutta.

"B is a merchant in London, who has written letters addressed to A,
and received in answer letters purporting to be written by him. C is
B's clerk, whose duty it was to examine and file B's correspondence. D
is B's broker, to whom B habitually submitted the letters purporting
to be written by A for the purpose of advising with him thereon.

"The opinions of B, C, and D on the question whether the letter is in
the handwriting of A are relevant, though neither B, C, or D ever saw
A write.

"The opinion of E, who saw A write once twenty years ago, is also
relevant."

Article LI I: "Comparisons of a disputed handwriting with any writing
proved to the satisfaction of the judge to be genuine is permitted to
be made by witnesses, and such writings, and the evidence of witnesses
respecting the same, may be submitted to the court and jury as
evidence of the genuineness or otherwise of the writing in dispute.
This paragraph applies to all courts of judicature, criminal or civil,
and to all persons having by law, or by consent of parties, authority
to hear, receive, and examine evidence."



CHAPTER XX

TAMPERED, ERASED, AND MANIPULATED PAPER

Sure Rules for the Detection of Forged and Fraudulent Writing of Any
Kind--A European Professor Gives Rules for Detecting Fraud--How to
Tell Alterations Made on Checks, Drafts, and Business Paper--An
Infallible System Discovered--Results Always Satisfactory--Can Be
Used by Anyone--Vapor of Iodine a Valuable Agent--Paper That Has
Been Wet or Moistened--Colors That Tampered Paper Assumes--Tracing
Written Characters with Water--Making Writing Legible--How to Tell
Paper That Has Been Erased or Rubbed--What a Light Will
Disclose--Erasing with Bread Crumbs--Hard to Detect--How to Discover
Traces of Manipulation--Erased Surface Made Legible--Treating
Partially Erased Paper--Detecting Nature of Substance Used for
Erasing--Use of Bread Crumbs Colors Paper--Tracing Writing with a
Glass Rod--Tracing Writing Under Paper--Writing With Glass Tubes
Instead of Pens--What Physical Examination Reveals--Erasing
Substance of Paper--Reproducing Pencil Writing in a Letter
Press--Kind of Paper to Use in Making Experiments--Detecting Fraud
in Old Papers--The Rubbing and Writing Method.


Prof. G. Brynlants of the Belgian Academy of Sciences, who has made
the detecting of forgery and disputed handwriting a study for twenty
years, recently made public an account of the researches he had made
and deductions arrived at with a view of making known how frauds and
alterations are made on checks, drafts, and business paper generally
and how same can easily be detected. The system he recommends is now
in use in nearly every bank in Europe and the result of his work and
his recommendations should be carefully read and the system applied by
the banks and business houses of the United States, when occasion
requires.

The following article has been specially prepared for this work; and
if its recommendations are carefully carried out it will prove a sure
rule for the detection of forged and fraudulent handwriting:

"Although my experiments were not always carried on under the most
favorable circumstances, their results were eminently satisfactory and
will prove a boon to the banking and business world. A piece of paper
was handed to me for the purpose of determining if part of it had been
wet and if another part of it had been manipulated for the purpose of
erasing marks upon it; in other words, whether this part had been
rubbed. The sample I had to work upon had already gone through several
experiments. I had remarked that the tint of the paper exposed to the
vapor of iodine differs from that which this same paper assumes when
it has been wet first and dried afterwards. In addition to this I
realized that when sized and calendered paper, first partially wet and
then dried, is subjected to the action of iodine vapor, the parts
which have been wet take on a violet tint, while those which had not
been moistened became either discolored or brown. The intensity of the
coloration naturally varied according to the length of time for which
the paper was exposed to the iodine.

"There is a very striking difference also when the water is sprinkled
on the paper and the drops are left to dry off by themselves in order
not to alter the surface of the paper.

"Thorough wetting of the paper will cause the sprinkled spots to turn
a heavy violet-blue color when exposed to vapor while the parts which
are untouched by the water will become blue.

"If, after sprinkling upon a piece of paper and evaporating the drops
thereon, this piece of paper is thoroughly wet, then dried and
subjected to the action of iodine, the traces of the first drops will
remain distinguishable whether the paper is dry or not. In the latter
case the trace of the first sprinkling will hardly be distinguishable
so long as the moisture is not entirely got rid of; but as soon as
complete dryness is effected their outlines, although very faint, will
show plainly on the darker ground surrounding the spot covered by the
first drop.

"In this reaction, water plays virtually the part of a sympathetic
fluid, and tracing the characters with water on sized and calendered
paper, the writing will show perfectly plain when the paper is dried
and exposed to action of iodine vapor. The brownish violet shade on a
yellowish ground will evolve to a dark blue on a light blue ground
after wetting. These characters disappear immediately under the action
of sulphurous acid, but will reappear after the first discoloration
provided the paper has not been wet and the discoloration has been
effected by the use of sulphurous acid gas.

"The process, therefore, affords means for tracing characters which
become legible and can be caused to disappear, but at will to reappear
again, or which can be used for one time only and be canceled forever
afterwards.

"The usual method of verifying whether paper has been rubbed is to
examine it as to its transparency. If the erasure has been so great as
to remove a considerable portion of the paper, the erased surface is
of greater translucency; but if the erasure has been effected with
great care, examining same close to a light will disclose it; the
erased part being duller than the surrounding surface because of the
partial upheaval of the fibers.

"If an erasure is effected by means of bread crumbs instead of India
rubber, and care is taken to erase in one direction the change escapes
notice; and it is generally impossible to detect it, should the paper
thus handled be written upon again.

"Iodine vapors, however, show all traces of these manipulations very
plainly giving their location with perfect certainty. The erased
surfaces assume a yellow brown or brownish tint. If, after being
subjected to the action of the iodine, the paper on which an erasure
has been made is wet, it becomes of a blue color the intensity of
which is commensurate with the length of time to which it has been
under the action of the iodine, and when the paper is again dried the
erased portions are more or less darker than the remainder of the
sheet. On the other hand when the erasure has been so rough as to take
off an important part of the material exposure to iodine, wetting, and
drying result in less intensity to coloration on the parts erased,
because the erasing in its mechanical action of carrying off parts of
the paper removes also parts of the substance which in combination
with iodine give birth to the blue tint. Consequently the action of
the iodine differs according to the extent of the erasure.

"When paper is partially erased and wet, as when letters are copied,
the same result although not so striking follows upon exposing it to
the iodine vapor after letting it dry thoroughly.

"Iodine affords in certain cases the means of detecting the nature of
the substance used for erasing. Bread crumbs or India rubber turn
yellow or brownish yellow tints and these are distinguished by more
intense coloration; erasure by means of bread crumbs causing the paper
to take a violet shade of great uniformity. These peculiarities are
due to the upheaval of the fibers caused by rubbing. In fact this
upheaval creates a larger absorbing surface and consequently a larger
proportion of iodine can cover the rubbed parts than it would if there
had been no friction.

"When paper upon which writing has been traced with a glass rod, the
tip of which is perfectly round and smooth, is exposed to iodine
vapor, the characters appear brown on yellow ground which wetting
turns to blue. This change also occurs when the paper written upon has
been run through a super-calender. If the paper is not wet the
characters can be made to appear or be blotted by the successive
action of sulphurous and iodine vapor.

"Writing done by means of glass tips instead of pens will show very
little, especially when traced between the lines written in ink. The
reaction, however, is of such sensitiveness that where characters have
been traced on a piece of paper under others they appear very plainly,
although physical examination would fail to reveal their existence,
but a somewhat lengthy exposure to iodine vapors will suffice to show
them.

"If the wrong side of the paper is exposed to the iodine vapor the
characters are visible; but of course in their inverted position.

"If the erasure has been so great as to take off a part of the
substance of the paper the reconstruction of the writing, so as to
make it legible, may be regarded as impossible. But in this case
subjecting the reverse side of the paper to the influence of the
iodine will bring out the reverse outlines of the blotted-out
characters so plainly that they can be read, especially if the paper
is placed before a mirror. In some instances, when pencil writing has
been strong enough, its traces can be reproduced in a letter press by
wetting a sheet of sized and calendered paper in the usual way that
press copies are taken, placing it on paper saturated with iodine and
putting the two sheets in a letter book under the press, copies being
run off as is usual in copying letters. The operation, however, must
be very rapidly carried out to be successful. As a matter of fact the
certainty of these reactions depends entirely upon the class of paper
used. Paper slightly sized or poorly calendered will not show them.

"Another point consists in knowing how long paper will contain these
reactive properties. In my own experience the fact has been
demonstrated that irregular wetting and rubbing three months old can
be plainly shown after this lapse of time. Characters traced with
glass rod tips could be made conspicuous. I have noticed that
immersing the written paper in a water bath for three to six hours
will secure better reactions, but although these reactions are very
characteristic they are considerably weaker."



CHAPTER XXI

FORGERY AS A PROFESSION

How Professional Forgers Work--Valuable Points for Bankers and
Business Men--Personnel of a Professional Forgery Gang--The Scratcher,
Layer-down, Presenter and Middleman--How Banks Are Defrauded by
Raised and Forged Paper--Detailed Method of the Work--Dividing the
Spoils--Action in Case of Arrest--Employing Attorneys--What "Fall"
Money Is--Fixing a Jury--Politicians with a Pull--Protecting
Criminals--Full Description of How Checks and Drafts Are
Altered--Alterations, Erasures and Chemicals--Raising Any
Paper--Alert Cashiers and Tellers--Different Methods of Protection.


[This Chapter was written for this work by the manager of one of the
largest detective agencies in the United States. They make a specialty
of bank work and from the number of forgers apprehended and convicted
know just how the work is done. A careful reading of this chapter will
put bankers and the public on their guard against the most pestiferous
rascals they have to deal with.]

Professional forgers usually make their homes in large cities. They
are constantly studying schemes and organizing gangs of men to defraud
banks, trust companies and money lenders by means of forged checks,
notes, drafts, bills of exchange, letters of credit, and in some
instances altering registered government and other bonds, and
counterfeitering the bonds of corporations. These bonds they dispose
of or hypothecate to obtain loans on.

A professional forgery gang consists of: First, a capitalist or
backer; second, the actual forger, who is known among his associates
as the "scratcher"; third, the man who acts as confidential agent for
the forger, who is known as the "middleman" or the "go-between";
fourth, the man who presents the forged paper at the bank for payment,
who is known as the "layer-down" or "presenter."

The duties of the "middleman" or "go-between" are to receive from the
forger or his confidential agent the altered or forged paper. He finds
the man to "present" the same, accompanies his confederates on their
forgery trips throughout the country, acts as the agent of the backer
in dealing out money for expenses, sees that their plan of operations
is carried out, and, in fact, becomes the general manager of the band.
He is in full control of the men who act as "presenters" of the forged
paper. If there be more than one man to "present" the paper, the
middleman, as a rule, will not allow them to become known to each
other. He meets them in secluded places, generally in little
out-of-the-way saloons. In summer time a favorite meeting place is
some secluded spot in the public parks. At one meeting he makes an
appointment for the next meeting. He uses great care in making these
appointments, so that the different "presenters" do not come together
and thereby become known to each other. The middleman is usually
selected for his firmness of character. He must be a man known among
criminals as a "staunch" man, one who cannot be easily frightened by
detectives when arrested, no matter what pressure may be brought to
bear upon him. He must have such an acquaintanceship among criminals
as will enable him to select other men who are "staunch" and who are
not apt to talk and tell their business, whether sober or under the
influence of liquor. It is from among this class of acquaintances that
he selects the men to "present" the forged paper. It is an invariable
rule followed by the backer and the forger that in selecting a
middleman they select one who not only has the reputation of being a
"staunch" man, but he must also be a man who has at least one record
of conviction standing against him. This is for the additional
protection of the backer and forger, as they know that in law the
testimony of an accomplice who is also an ex-convict, should he
conclude to become a state's witness, would have to be strongly
corroborated before a court or jury in order to be believed.

As the capitalist and forger, for self-protection, use great care in
selecting a "middleman," the middleman to protect himself also uses
the same care in the selection of men to "present" the forged paper.
He endeavors, like the backer and forger, to throw as much protection
around himself as possible, and for the same reasons he also uses
ex-convicts as the men to "present" the forged paper at the banks. The
"presenters" are of all ages and appearances, from the party who will
pass as an errand boy, messenger, porter, or clerk, to the prosperous
business man, horse trader, stock buyer, or farmer. When a presenter
enters a bank to "lay down" a forged paper, the "go-between" will
sometimes enter the bank with him and stand outside the counter,
noting carefully if there is any suspicious action on the part of the
paying teller when the forged paper is presented to him, and whether
the "presenter" carries himself properly and does his part well. But
usually the middleman prefers waiting outside the bank for the
"presenter," possibly watching him through a window from the street.
If the "presenter" is successful and gets the money on the forged
paper, the middleman will follow him when he leaves the bank to some
convenient spot where, without attracting attention, he receives the
money. He then gives the presenter another piece of forged paper,
drawn on some neighboring bank. They go from bank to bank, usually
victimizing from three to five banks in each city, their work being
completed generally in less than an hour's time. All money obtained
from the various banks on the forged paper is immediately turned over
to the middleman, who furnishes all the money for current expenses.
After the work is completed the presenters leave the city by different
routes, first having agreed on a meeting point in some neighboring
city. The "presenters" frequently walk out of the city to some
outlying station on the line of the road they propose to take to their
next destination. This precaution is taken to avoid arrest at the
depot in case the forgery is discovered before they can leave the
city. At the next meeting-point the middleman, having deducted the
expenses advanced, pays the "presenters" their percentage of the money
obtained on the forged paper.

A band of professional forgers before starting out always agree on a
basis of division of all moneys obtained on their forged paper. This
division might be about as follows: For a presenter where the amount
to be drawn does not exceed $2,000, 15 to 25 per cent; but where the
amount to be drawn is from $3,000 to $5,000 and upwards, the
"presenter" receives from 35 to 45 per cent. The price is raised as
the risk increases, and it is generally considered a greater risk to
attempt to pass a check or draft of a large denomination than a
smaller one. The middleman gets from 15 to 25 per cent. His work is
more, and his responsibility is greater, but the risk is less. There
are plenty of middlemen to be had, but the "presenters" are scarce.
The "shadow," when one accompanies the band, is sometimes paid a
salary by the middleman and his expenses, but at other times, he is
allowed a small percentage, not to exceed 5 per cent, and his
expenses, as with ordinary care his risk is very slight. The backer
and forger get the balance, which usually amounts to from 50 to 60 per
cent. The expenses that have been advanced the men who go out on the
road are usually deducted at the final division.

In case of the arrest of one of the "presenters" in the act of "laying
down" forged paper, the middleman or shadow immediately notifies other
members of the band who may be in the city. All attempts to get money
from the other banks are stopped, and the other members of the band
leave the city as best they can to meet at some designated point in a
near-by city. Out of their first successful forgeries a certain sum
from each man's share is held by the "middleman" to be used in the
defense of any member of the band who may be arrested on the trip.
This money is called "fall money," and is used to employ counsel for
the men under arrest, or to do anything for them that may be for their
interest. Any part of this money not used is paid back in proportion
to the amount advanced to the various members of the band from whose
share it has been retained. Sometimes, however, in forming a band of
forgers there is an understanding or agreement entered into at the
outset that each man "stand on his own bottom"--that is, if arrested,
take care of himself. When this is agreed to, the men arrested must
get out as best they can. Under these circumstances there is no
assessment for "fall money," but usually the men who present the paper
insist on "fall money" being put up, as it assures them the aid of
some one of the band working earnestly in their behalf and watching
their interests, outside of the attorney retained.

When one of the party is arrested, an attorney is at once sent to him.
As a rule, in selecting an attorney, one is employed who is known as a
good criminal lawyer. It is also preferred that he should be a lawyer
who has some political weight. The middleman employs the attorney, and
pays him out of the "fall money." The arrested man is strictly
instructed by the attorney to do no talking, and is usually encouraged
by the promise that they will have him out in a short time. In order
to keep him quiet, this promise is frequently renewed by the attorney
acting for the "middleman." This is done to prevent a confession being
made in case the arrested man should show signs of weakening. Finally,
when he is forced to stand trial, if the case is one certain of
conviction, the attorney will get him to plead guilty, with the
promise of a short sentence, and will then bargain to this end with
the court or prosecutor. Thus guided by the attorney selected and
acting for the "middleman" and his associates, the prisoner pleads
guilty, and frequently discovers, when it is too late, that he has
been tricked into keeping his mouth shut in the interests of his
associates. It is but fair to state, however, that if money can save
an arrested party, and if his associates have it, they will use it
freely among attorneys or "jury fixers," where the latter can be made
use of, and frequently it is paid to politicians who make a pretense
of having a "pull" with the prosecuting officers of the court.

In most instances when checks are sent out they are not seen again by
the maker for a period of days. As business houses of any considerable
magnitude always have a comfortable balance with their bankers, ample
time and an abundance of cash are thus placed at the disposal of the
check-raisers.

As to the best methods of raising checks so that the fraud will not be
readily detected, much depends upon the way in which they are written.
The style of handwriting, the texture and quality of the paper, and
the chemical properties of the inks, are points which are necessary to
be considered.

Many checks may be altered to a larger amount by the mere addition of
a stroke of the pen here or the erasure of a line, by means of
chemicals, in some other place. For instance, take a check of $100, no
matter how it may be written, there are five or six different ways in
which it may be altered to a much larger amount, and in such a manner
as to defy the scrutiny of the most careful bank teller. It may be
made into six hundred by merely adding the "S" loop to the "O,"
dotting the first part of the "n" to make of it an "i," and crossing
the connecting stroke between the "n" and the "e" to form the "x." To
complete the change it will be found necessary to erase with chemicals
part of the "e."

A check for one hundred dollars may also be easily altered to eight
hundred dollars, especially when sufficient space has been left
between the "one" and the "hundred," as follows: Add to the "O" the
top part of an "E," dot part of the "n" to form an "i," connect the
remaining part of the "n" with the "e," forming the loop of a "g," and
then add "ht." The figure "i" is very easily changed to "8."

Sometimes a small capital is used for an "o." In this case an
alteration into "Four" hundred is easily accomplished by simply
prefixing a capital "F" and transforming the "e" into an "r," the "n"
being made to serve as a "u."

Another change frequently made is to "Ten" hundred. It is done simply
by adding the stem and top part of the "T" to the "O" and changing the
first part of the "u" to an "e."

Of course, any of the foregoing changes may be made with equal
facility whether the amount be "hundred" or "thousand."

Two hundred, if anything, is a much easier amount to alter than one
hundred. It is done in the following manner: Make an "F" by simply
crossing the "T;" dot the first part of the "w" to make an "i." and
change the "o" into an "e." The figure "2" can be made into a perfect
"5" by simply adding the top part of the "5" to it.

Three hundred is not so easily altered; still it may be done by
changing the word "hundred" into a "thousand"--an alteration which is
by no means rare, and which is quite simple, especially when the word
is begun with a small "h." The modus operandi is as follows: Place a
capital "T" before the "h"; change the first part of the "u" into an
"o," connecting it with the second part, which, with the first part of
the "u," will form a "u"; change the second part of the "u" to an "s";
erase the top part of the "d," making of it an "a," and complete the
alteration by making an "n" of the "r" and "e." This alteration may
appear to be somewhat complicated, but a trial of it according to
direction will show how nicely it may be done.

"Four" is another easy amount to alter. It is done by extending the
second part of the "u" into a "t," and adding the "y" loop to the "r."
"Five" is changed into "Fifty" and "Fifteen." "Six," "Seven," "Eight,"
and "Nine" are changed into "Sixty," "Seventy," "Eighty," and "Ninety"
by simply affixing the syllable "ty." "Twenty" is another easily
changed amount; all that is necessary to make "Seventy" of it is to
make an "S" of the "T," and change the first part of the "w" into an
"e." To make the alteration perfect, the top part of the "T" must be
erased with chemicals.

In regard to the chemicals used to erase ink, much depends upon the
ink. For most writing fluids and copying inks which are in daily use,
a saturated solution of chloride of lime is the best eraser known, and
when properly made is very quick and effective in its work. It may be
applied with a glass pointed pen, to avoid corrosion, or with a clean
bit of sponge. It acts as a powerful bleach, and with it the face of a
check may be washed as white as before it was written upon. When inks
have become dry and hard, sometimes carbolic or acetic acid is used
effectively with the chlorine. The application of any alkali or acid
to the clean polished surface of a check will, of course, destroy the
finish and leave a perceptible stain, but the work of covering up
these traces is quite as simple as removing the ink in the first
place.

A favorite trick of forgers and check and draft raisers, who operate
on an extensive scale, is for one of them to open an office in a city
and represent himself as a cattle dealer, lumber merchant, or one
looking about for favorable real-estate investments. His first move is
to open a bank account, and then work to get on friendly terms with
the cashier. He always keeps a good balance--sometimes way up in the
thousands--and deports himself in such a manner as to lead to the
belief that he is a highly honorable gentleman, and the bank officials
are led to the belief that he will eventually become a very profitable
customer.

Occasionally he has a note, for a small amount to begin with, always
first-class two-name paper, and he never objects--usually insists--on
paying a trifle more than the regular discount. At first the bank
officials closely examine the paper offered, and of course find that
the endorsers are men of high standing, and then their confidence in
the "cattle king" is unbounded. Gradually the notes increase in
amount, from a thousand to fifteen hundred dollars, and from fifteen
hundred to two or three thousand. The notes are promptly paid at
maturity. After the confidence of the bank people has been completely
gained, the swindler makes a strike for his greatest effort. He comes
in the bank in a hurry, presents a sixty-day note, endorsed by
first-class men, for a larger amount than he has ever before
requested, and it generally happens that he gets the money without the
slightest difficulty. Then he has a sudden call to attend to important
business elsewhere. When the note or notes mature, it is discovered to
be a very clever forgery. This has been done time and again, and it is
rare that the forger has been apprehended.

The latest mode is for the forger to imitate a private check by the
photo-lithographic method, after having obtained a signed check. The
signature, after being photographed, is carefully traced over with
ink, and the body of the check is filled up for whatever amount is
desired. The maker of the check is requested to identify the person
who holds it, and as a general thing he does not wait to see the money
paid. The moment his back is turned, the layer-down palms the small
check and presents the large one. This way of obtaining money is
without the assistance of a middleman.

Private marks on checks are no safeguards at all, although a great
many merchants believe they can prevent forgery by making certain
dots, or seeming slips of the pen, which are known only to the
paying-teller and themselves. This precaution becomes useless when the
forger uses the camera. Safe-breakers are often called upon by forgers
and asked to secure a sheet of checks out of a check-book. When this
is accomplished a few canceled checks are taken at the same time.
These are given to the forger and he fills them up for large amounts,
after tracing or copying the signature. The safe burglars receive a
percentage on the amount realized. If your safe, vault or desk is
broken open where your check-book is kept, carefully count the leaves
in your check-book, also your canceled checks. If any are missing
notify the banks and begin using a different style of check
immediately. The sneak-thief, while plying his trade, often secures
unsigned bonds of some corporation which has put the signed bonds in
circulation, leaving the rest unsigned until the next meeting of the
directors.

Frequently unsigned bonds are left in the bank vault for safe keeping.
These are stolen and sent to the penman or "scratcher." Then a genuine
signed bond is purchased, from which the signatures are copied and
then forged. The same trick has been played on unsigned bank notes,
but on the bank notes almost any name will do, as no person looks at
the signature, as long as the note appears genuine.

The ingenuity of a countless army of sharpers is constantly at work in
this country, devising plans to obtain funds dishonestly, without
work, but, in fact, they often expend more time, skill and labor in
carrying out their nefarious schemes, than would serve to earn the sum
they finally secure, by honest labor. Every banker must, therefore, be
on his guard, and should acquaint himself with the most approved means
of detecting and avoiding the most common swindlers. This is just as
necessary as it is to lock his books and cash in his safe before going
home.

Next to the counterfeiter, the forger is the most dangerous criminal
in business life. Transactions involving the largest sums of money are
completed on the faith in the genuineness of a signature. Hence every
effort should be made to acquire the art of detecting an imitation at
a glance. This can only be done by considerable practice. It is
asserted that every signature has character about it which can not be
perfectly copied, and which can always be detected by an experienced
eye. This is problematical, but certainly a skillful bank-teller can
hardly be deceived by the forgery of a name of a well-known depositor.

A banker and business man should accustom himself to scrutinize
closely the signatures of those with whom he deals. He should cut off
their names from the backs of checks and notes, and paste then in
alphabetical order in an autograph book devoted to that purpose, and
compare any suspicious signature with the genuine one.

In consequence of the numerous frauds committed by forged checks, some
of the European bankers have adopted the custom of sending with their
letter of advice a photograph of the person in whose favor the credit
has been issued, and to stop the payment when the person who presents
himself at the bank does not resemble the picture. If this practice
were to become universal, the object of preventing frauds could be
well attained.

It is probably a fair statement to make that any draft issued can be
raised, but it is unquestionably true that some can be much more
easily altered than others, and as in the last ten years additional
safeguards have been thrown around the bills of exchange of banks, so
the forger has become more and more expert and proficient, just about
keeping the pace. As the question of armor that can not be pierced and
projectiles that will pierce anything are first one and then the other
a little ahead, so it is with the bank forger and the banks.

Admirable as some of the work unquestionably is, if anything so
disreputable can be called admirable, there is even yet a something
about either the work or the operator that should arouse the
suspicions of the teller or cashier who is on the alert; and a teller
or cashier without suspicion, and who is not on the alert, may be a
comparatively good man, but is certainly in the wrong place.

The presenter of a counterfeit bill at the teller's window may have no
knowledge of the character of the bill that he is presenting, but he
who presents a forged draft, in addition to presenting a bad bill, has
a consciousness himself of the fraud that he is attempting, thus
giving the teller not only the chance of scrutinizing the bill, but
also to judge of the appearance, whether nervous or otherwise, of the
man who is laying the trap, and these two facts should inure greatly
to the advantage of the teller.

As the news of the many successful depredations is scattered, we see
banks trying different methods of protection, many of which at first
glance are admirable, but which it will be seen on a little careful
study simply require but slight change of method on the part of the
professional forger to successfully evade. For instance: Many banks
are daily advising their correspondents of the number and amounts of
drafts issued, either in the course of the mails or otherwise. This at
first sight would seem to be almost absolute protection, but it really
may prove a trap to the bank so advised, as may readily be seen. Let
us suppose that Mr. Forger steps into a bank in Cleveland, buys a
draft for $5; a day or two later, or on the same day, he buys another
draft for $5,000. The first draft is successfully altered to $5,000,
but would not of course be paid by the correspondent bank for this
amount, because of the advice they have of this number is that it was
issued for $5; but it was a simpler matter to change the number of the
draft to correspond with the $5,000 draft, the number of which the
forger has, than it is to make the other alterations necessary to
raise it from $5 to $5,000. After making these alterations it goes in
for payment, and on reference to the advice sheet it is found that
this apparent number was issued for $5,000 and paid accordingly. Then
the forgers have simply the problem on hand to avail themselves,
either directly through the bank of issue or elsewhere of this genuine
$5,000 draft, which is certainly not a hard task for the men who have
successfully performed the harder one.



CHAPTER XXII

A FAMOUS FORGERY

The Morey-Garfield Letter--Attempt to Defeat Mr. Garfield for the
Presidency--A Clumsy Forgery--Both Letters Reproduced--Evidences of
Forgery Pointed Out--The Work of an Illiterate Man--Crude Imitations
Apparent--Undoubtedly the Greatest Forgery of the Age--General
Garfield's Quick Disclaimer Kills Effect of the Forgery--The Letters
Compared and Evidences of Forgery Made Complete.


Very few cases have arisen in this country in which the genuineness of
handwriting was the chief contention, and in which such momentous
interests were at stake, as in the case of the forged "Morey-Garfield
Letter." It was such as to arouse and alarm every citizen of the
republic. A few days prior to the presidential election of 1880, in
which James A. Garfield was the Republican nominee, there was
published in a New York Democratic daily paper, a letter purporting to
have been written to a Mr. H.L. Morey, who was alleged to have been
connected with an organization of the cheap-labor movement. The
letter, if written by Mr. Garfield, committed him in the broadest and
fullest manner to the employment of Chinese cheap labor. It was a
cheap political trick, a rank forgery, and the purpose of the letter
was to arouse the labor vote in close states against Mr. Garfield. It
was also a bungling forgery. We present herewith facsimiles of the
forged letter and one written by Mr. Garfield branding the Morey
letter a fraud.

[Illustration: THE MOREY-GARFIELD FORGERY.]

[Illustration: LETTER WRITTEN BY GARFIELD.]

The Morey letter was evidently written by an uneducated man. Here are
three instances of wrong spelling that a man of Mr. Garfield's
education could not possibly make. The words "ecomony" and "Companys"
in the eighth line and "religeously" in the twelfth line give evidence
of a fraudulent and deceitful letter at once.

The misplacing of the dot to the "i" in the signature to the left of
the "f" and over the "r" is a mistake quite natural to a hand
unaccustomed to making it, but a very improbable and remarkable
mistake for one to make in writing his own name. Another noticeable
feature in the Morey letter is the conspicuous variations in the sizes
and forms of the letters. Notice the three "I's" in the fifth line.
Variations so great in such close connection seldom occur in anything
like an educated and practiced hand. The "J" in the signature of the
Morey letter has a slope inconsistent with the remainder of the
signature and the surrounding writing. It is also too angular at the
top and too set and stiff throughout to be the result of a natural
sweep of a trained hand.

The Morey letter was written in January, 1880, and made public in
October of the same year. If Mr. Garfield wrote the Morey letter in
January there was at that time no motive to write it in any other than
his ordinary and natural hand. The letter of denial is in his
perfectly natural hand; these two letters should therefore be
consistent with each other.

The signature of the Morey letter is a clumsy imitation of General
Garfield's autograph. Observe the stiff, formal initial line of the
"_F_"--its sharp, angular turn at the top, absurd slope and general
stiff appearance, while the shade is low down upon the stem, and
compare with the free, flowing movement, round turns and consistent
slope of the same letter in his genuine autograph. We might extend the
comparison, with like result, to all the letters in the signature, and
to a multitude of other instances in the writing of the body of the
letter.

Many persons, and some professed experts, have remarked what appeared
to them striking and characteristic resemblances between the Morey
letter and General Garfield's writing.

It should be borne in mind that if the letter is not in the genuine
handwriting of Mr. Garfield it was written by some person whose
purpose was to have it appear so to be. That being the case, we should
naturally expect to find some, even more, _forms_ than we do, having a
resemblance to those used by Mr. Garfield. All these resemblances
appear to be either copied or coincidences in the use of forms. There
are no coincidences of the unconscious writing habit, which clearly,
to our mind, proves the Morey letter, as Mr. Garfield well
characterizes it, a very clumsy effort to imitate his writing. Indeed,
the effort seems to be little more than an endeavor, on the part of
the writer, to disguise his own hand, and copy a few of the general
features of Mr. Garfield's writing, adding a tolerable imitation of
his autograph.



CHAPTER XXIII

A WARNING TO BANKS AND BUSINESS HOUSES

Information for Those Who Handle Commercial and Legal
Documents--Peculiarity of Handwriting--Methods Employed in
Forgery--Means Employed for Erasing Writing--Care to be Used
in Writing--Specimens of Originals and Alterations--Means of
Discovering and Demonstrating Forgery--Disputed Signatures--Free
Hand or Composite Signatures--Important Facts for the Banking and
Business Public--How to Use the Microscope and Photography to Detect
Forgery--Applying Chemical Tests--How to Handle Documents and Papers
to Be Preserved--The Value of Expert Testimony--Using Chemical,
Mechanical and Clerical Preventatives.


The following chapter is written by Mr. William C. Shaw, of Chicago,
the well-known handwriting expert and expert on forgery, whose
services are called in all important forgery and disputed handwriting
cases in the country. It is replete with facts and suggestions of the
greatest importance, and will be found not only interesting reading,
but an instructive article throughout.

The comparative frequency with which checks, drafts, notes, etc., are
being raised or altered, as well as deeds, wills, etc., forged and
substituted, has naturally created a widespread interest in the
subject of "disputed handwriting." The importance of practical
knowledge in this direction by those who are continually handling
commercial papers and legal documents is at once apparent, but others
engaged in any business pursuit may be saved considerable loss,
trouble and annoyance by observing the principles and suggestions
explained and illustrated in this article.

In approaching the subject of detecting forged or fraudulent
handwriting let it be understood as a fundamental principle that there
are hardly two persons whose writing is similar enough to deceive a
careful observer, unless the one is imitating the other. Hands, like
faces, have their peculiar features and expression, and the imitator
must not alone copy the original, but at the same time disguise his
own writing. Even the most skilled forger cannot entirely hide his
individuality and is bound to relapse into his habitual ways of
forming and connecting letters, words, etc. The employment of extreme
care can be detected by signs of hesitancy, the substitution of curves
for angles, etc., which appear very plainly when the writing is
critically examined with a magnifying glass. When a signature has been
forged by means of tracing over the original, the resemblance is often
so exact as to deceive even the supposed author. In these cases the
microscope is generally effective in detecting the forgery, as well as
the methods employed. Perfect identity of two genuine signatures is a
practical impossibility; if, therefore, two signatures superposed and
held against the light completely coincide it is almost certain that
one of them is a forgery.

The methods employed in executing forged handwriting are varied and
depend largely on the individual skill and inclination of the party
attempting it.

The most frequent class of forgeries consists of erasures, which means
the removing of the genuine writing by mechanical or chemical means.
Erasing with knife, rubber, etc., has practically been abandoned by
expert forgers, on account of the almost certain detection which must
necessarily follow the traces left in evidence. Erasing fluids, ink
eradicators, etc., are more generally used for this purpose. These
have entered the market for legitimate purposes and can be
commercially obtained. Too much confidence should, therefore, not be
placed in the careful writing of checks, etc., alone, as with the aid
of chemicals the original writing can be entirely removed and forged
words and figures substituted.

[Illustration: Simple additions to genuine handwriting:
ORIGINAL--ALTERATION.]

Second in importance and frequency, and perhaps the easiest kind of
forgery, consists of simple additions to genuine handwriting. In
checks or drafts the changing of "eight" to "eighty" by the addition
of a single letter is a striking illustration. The change of "six" to
"sixty," "twenty" to "seventy," etc., can also be accomplished by
adding a few strokes and without erasure, as per specimens given.

The forging of signatures and writing in general is accomplished by
means of tracing as above referred to, free-hand copying, with the aid
of considerable practice, and copying by mechanical or chemical
processes. It is not intended here to give directions, but simply to
refer to facts, with a view to preventing losses and detecting
forgeries. For this reason one method of reproduction may briefly be
described. The carelessness with which blotters are used in public
places, bank counters, post, express and hotel offices is to be
strongly condemned. The entire signature of an indorser is often
clearly copied on the underside of the blotting paper, which only
needs to fall into the hands of a designing party to be projected on
any paper or document and in any desired position.

The means of discovering and demonstrating forged handwriting are as
varied as the methods employed in its execution, and it may be some
comfort to know that the cunning of the forger is more than matched by
the skill and ability of the expert.

The ordinary method of identifying handwriting consists in the
"comparison of hands." This, however, is only admitted in courts of
justice under certain limitations. The genuineness of a disputed
writing can be proved by a witness who has seen its execution, or by
comparison with correspondence received in the regular course of
business, or by comparisons with disputed specimens of the alleged
handwriting, which must also be in evidence. Disputed signatures may
be compared with other signatures acknowledged to be genuine, or with
letters or documents, the genuineness of which is unquestioned. In
arriving at conclusions many things are to be considered, the form of
the letters, their manner of combination, evidences of habit, etc.

Another method of detecting forgery is afforded by the internal
evidences of fraud of the writing itself, with or without the aid of
comparison with genuine writing. These evidences may consist of
alterations, erasures, additions, crowding, etc., as above referred
to; tracing a genuine writing by means of ink or pencil, afterwards
retraced, etc.

The copy of a genuine signature may be free-hand or composite, by
which is meant that the writing is produced discontinuously or in
parts. Comparison of the separate letters of the doubtful specimen of
writing with the separate letters of the genuine writing of the
supposed imitator or imitated always exhibits less uniformity if
imitation has been attempted, the copyist being frequently led into an
approach to his ordinary handwriting or into an oversight of some
special characteristics of the writing he is simulating. Even minor
points do not escape the expert's critical attention. The dotting of
the i's, or crossing of the t's, curls, loops, flourishes, intervals
between words and letters, connections, characteristics of up and down
strokes are all carefully noticed.

A glass of low magnifying power will, as a rule, exhibit erasures, and
even bring to view the erased letters. In tracing, the forger
frequently fails to cover over the first outlines, which can be
plainly distinguished. The places where the pen has been put upon and
removed from the paper may sometimes be noticed, which is in itself
strong evidence of fraud.

With the aid of a microscope the character of the alterations, certain
characteristics due to age, emotion, etc., the kind of pen used and
how it was held, the nature of ink, order of writing, with regard to
time, whether produced by the right or left hand, standing or sitting,
can often be determined. Indentations made by heavy strokes or a sharp
pen, as well as those employed as guides for the signature
subsequently written, will also be brought into prominence. Forged
signatures placed under the microscope have generally a patched
appearance, which results from the retracing of lines in certain
portions not occurring in genuine writing.

In case of disputed handwriting photography has also been employed to
great advantage. Of course the writing in question should, whenever
practicable, be compared with the original, photographic copies being
looked upon with disfavor and considered by most courts as secondary
evidence. Still, photographic enlargements of genuine and disputed
signatures are very useful in illustrating expert testimony. Certain
characteristics, differences in ink, attempts to remove writing, etc.,
may be brought to view, which would be entirely overlooked by direct
examination. The wonderful power of the camera has recently been
illustrated in a very striking manner. A large ocean steamer was
photographed, and on receipt of the proof the owners were surprised to
see a hand bill posted on the side of the hull. Examination of the
ship disclosed no hand bill there, but another photograph exhibited
the same result. A searching inspection revealed the presence of the
mysterious paper buried beneath four coats of paint, but defying the
superficial scrutiny of the human eye.

As a last resort chemical tests may be applied, by which the identity
or difference of the inks used may be established, etc. As a means of
demonstrating that chemical erasures have been made a certain
manipulation and treatment of the paper submitted will almost
invariably bring back the original and obliterated writing.

A few words regarding papers and documents, intended for preservation,
will not be amiss. Improved processes of manufacture have certainly
had no beneficial influence on the durability of the products, and
while inks and papers have become greatly reduced in price and
apparently improved in quality, it is very doubtful if much of our
book learning and many of our written instruments will go down to
future generations. Even fifty years will suffice to decompose many an
attractive volume at present on the shelves of our libraries, or fade
the writing of finely engraved and important documents. The quality of
the ink and paper selected is therefore of greatest importance.
Typewritten copies particularly are subject to the ravages of time,
and ought to be avoided when preservation for years to come is the
principal consideration, as for instance in the case of wills, etc.,
which ought to be made in one's own handwriting whenever practicable.

Briefly, I may state that all the safeguards employed on commercial
papers or legal documents, outside of the actual protection afforded,
have the beneficial effect or tendency to make forgeries, erasures or
alterations more difficult, at the same time warning prospective
forgers to keep a respectful distance.

The inks used, the position of the writing, the paper on which it is
written, the employment of certain chemical, mechanical and clerical
preventatives are all to be thoughtfully considered by those who
desire to protect themselves against losses resulting from fraudulent
handwriting.

With regard to expert testimony it may be said in conclusion that it
is most effective if governed solely by the evidence submitted, and
not by information otherwise obtained. The microscopic and
photographic examination of papers and documents, as well as their
mechanical and chemical treatment, require in all cases the trained
eye, the skilled hand and the extensive experience of the expert, in
order to fully utilize the available material and to arrive at
conclusions which are in entire accord with the facts under
consideration, thereby aiding in the just and equitable settlement of
weighty questions of profit or loss, affluence or poverty, liberty or
imprisonment, life or death.

Another expert in handwriting says that regarding the methods made use
of to determine authorship, specialists are naturally reticent. Some
of them have admitted, however, the nature of the leading principles'
which guide them. The philosophy of the matter rests mainly on the
fact that it is very rare for any two persons to write hands similar
enough to deceive a careful observer, unless one is imitating the
other. "Fists," like faces, have all some special idiosyncrasy, and
the imitator has not merely to copy that of some one else but to
disguise his own.

By careful and frequent practice he may succeed well enough to deceive
the ordinary man, but is rarely successful in baffling the expert.
Even the most skilful culprit cannot wholly hide his individuality, as
he is sure to relapse into his ordinary method occasionally. Then
again, great care has to be used, and this can be detected by the
traces of hesitancy, the substitution of curves for angles and _vice
versa_, which come out very plainly when the writing is examined under
the microscope, as it usually is by the expert.

A plan of detection which has been adopted with great success is to
cut out each letter in a doubtful piece of writing, and paste all the
A's, B's, etc., on separate sheets of paper. The process is also gone
through with a genuine bit of caligraphy of the imitator or the
imitated, as the case may be. Comparison almost invariably shows that
the letters are less uniform if imitation has been attempted, the
writer being occasionally betrayed into some approach to his ordinary
caligraphy, or into momentary forgetfulness of some special point in
the handwriting he is simulating.

No point is too small to escape an expert's attention. The dotting of
the "i's," the crossing of "t's," the curls and flourishes, the
intervals between the words, the thinness of the up-stroke and the
thickness of the down-stroke, are all noted and carefully compared.
Where only a signature has been forged, and that by means of tracings
from the original the resemblance is often so exact as to deceive even
the supposed author, but in these cases the microscope is generally
effective in determining not merely the forgery but the method by
which it was accomplished. It is some comfort to know that the cunning
of the forger is overmatched by the scientific skill of the trained
expert.



CHAPTER XXIV

HOW FORGERS ALTER BANK NOTES

Bankers Easily Deceived--How Ten One Hundred-Dollar Bills Are Made out
of Nine--How to Detect Altered Bank Notes--Making a Ten-Dollar Bill
out of a Five--A Ten Raised to Fifty--How Two-Dollar Bills are Raised
to a Higher Denomination--Bogus Money in Commercial Colleges--Action
of the United States Treasury Department--Engraving a Greenback--How
They Are Printed--Making a Vignette--Beyond the Reach of Rascals--How
Bank Notes Are Printed, Signed and Issued by the Government--Safeguards
to Foil Forgers, Counterfeiters and Alterers of Bank Notes--Devices to
Raise Genuine Bank Notes--Split Notes--Altering Silver Certificates.


A dangerous game and one too often successfully perpetrated, is the
raising of bank bills from a lower to a higher denomination.
Counterfeiters and forgers have often been detected making ten bills
of nine by the following operation:

A counterfeit one hundred-dollar bank note is cut into ten pieces; one
of these pieces is pasted into a genuine bill, cutting out a piece of
the genuine of the same size. In pasting nine genuine bills in this
manner nine pieces are obtained, which, with one piece of counterfeit,
will make a tenth bill, which is the profit. This operation is not a
very successful one, as the difference between the counterfeit and the
genuine will be very evident to any one who examines closely.

Every business man should know how to detect altered bank bills, and a
close scrutiny of all money offered, bearing in mind the suggestions
here made, will prove a safeguard. Bank notes are sometimes altered by
raising from lower to higher denominations, or replacing name of
broken bank by name of good one. This is done either by erasing words
and printing others in their place, or by pasting on the original bill
a piece of counterfeit work or a piece taken from some genuine bill.
If the former, the new counterfeit piece will always differ from the
surrounding genuine work. If the latter, the fraud will be revealed by
holding the bill up to the light, when the portion pasted will look
darker than the surrounding portions.

Another method employed is to cut ten-dollar bills in halves, also
five-dollar bills, then join them, and raise the five part to a ten by
the blue paper dodge. This bill can be successfully worked off in a
roll of other bills, owing to the workmanship, and sometimes a gang
will visit a certain locality and flood it with doctored bills.
Fifty-dollar bills have been often raised from a ten. This fraud is
generally neatly executed, and is well calculated to deceive the
unsuspecting, and a banker, in hurriedly counting money, is liable to
be taken in on one of these.

A recent scheme to defraud with raised bills is to raise a two-dollar
bill to a five. In order to accomplish this feat rascals cut out the
figure five in the left-hand corner of a "V" and paste it over the
figure "2" in the upper right-hand corner of the two-dollar bill. The
pasting is done so neatly that not one person in a hundred, or even a
thousand, unless an expert, would notice the difference. The very
small $2 marks in the scroll-work surrounding the large figure are
blotted out with a pencil and are not visible. The figure "2" in the
lower right-hand corner is erased with acids, and the bill is in all
respects a first-class imitation of the genuine article. Treasury
officials say that this is something new in the way of bill-raising,
and is very dangerous.

Many people who are not used to handling money have been swindled by
what is known as "Imitation Money." The United States Treasury
Department is making strenuous efforts to break up the practice of
issuing imitations of the national currency, to which many commercial
colleges and business firms are addicted. This bogus currency has been
extensively used by sharpers all over the country to swindle ignorant
people and its manufacture is in violation of law.

So vague is the general idea as to how a bank note is made that we
give an explanation of the various processes it goes through before it
is issued as a part of the "money of the realm," saying, by way of
introduction, that this country leads the world in bank-note
engraving. Unfortunately, the first consideration in making a
bank-note is to prevent bad men from making a counterfeit of it, and
therefore all the notes of a certain denomination or value must be
exact duplicates of each other. If they were engraved by hand this
would not be the case; and, another thing, hand engraving is more
easily counterfeited than the work done by the processes we herewith
describe.

Every note is printed from a steel plate, in the preparation of which
many persons take part. If you will look at a $5 "greenback" you will
see a picture in the center; a small portrait, called a vignette, on
the left, and in each of the upper corners a network of fine lines
with a dark ground, one of them containing the letter "V" and the
other the figure "5." These four parts are made on separate plates.

To make a vignette it is necessary, first, to make a large drawing on
paper with great care, and a daguerreotype is then taken of the
drawing the exact size of the engraving desired.

The daguerreotype is then given to the engraver, who uses a steel
point to mark on it all the outlines of the picture. The plate is
inked and a print taken from it. While the ink is still damp the print
is laid face down on a steel plate, which has been softened by heating
it red hot and letting it cool slowly. It is then put in a press and
an exact copy of the outline is thus made on the steel plate. This the
engraver finishes with his graver, a tool with a three-cornered point,
which cuts a clean line without leaving a rough edge.

Now this is used for making other plates--it is never used to print
from. It must be made hard and this is done by heating it and cooling
it quickly. A little roller of softened steel is then rolled over it
by a powerful machine until its surface has been forced into all the
lines cut into the plate. The outlines of the vignette are thus
transferred to the roller in raised lines, and after the roller is
hardened it is used to roll over plates of softened steel, and thus
make in them sunken lines exactly like those in the plate originally
engraved. The center picture is engraved and transferred to a roller
like the vignette, but the network in the upper corners, and also on
the back of the note, is made by the lathe. This machine costs $5,000,
a price that puts it beyond the reach of counterfeiters, and its work
is so perfect that it can not be imitated by hand.

The black parts of the note are printed first, and when the ink is dry
the green-black is printed, to be followed by the red stamps and
numbers. It is then signed and issued. For greater security one part
of the note is engraved and printed at one place and another part at
another place, when it is sent to Washington to be finished and
signed.

But even after all this care and all these safeguards many skillfully
executed counterfeits and raised and altered bank notes have been made
and issued, some of them so good as to deceive the most expert judges
of money.

Many devices have been resorted to by counterfeiters to raise genuine
bank-notes, as well as to manufacture bogus ones, but one of the most
novel has recently come to light. The scheme consists of splitting a
$5 and a $1 note, and then pasting the back of the $1 note to the
front of the $5 note and the front of the $1 note to the back of the
$5 note. The mechanical part of the work was excellently done, but the
fraud could be detected the moment the note was turned over.

An effort had been made to change the "one" to "five" on the "one"
side of the new combined note, but it was done so clumsily that the
fraud would have been seen at a glance, and the only hope of passing
the notes as fives would have been to pass them over with the $5 side
up and trust to the man receiving it not to turn it over before
putting it away. The doctored notes came to the notice of the writer
through one of the Chicago banks, with the request that they be
allowed whatever they were worth. The government always redeems notes
at the face value, and as the faces in this case were of a $1 and a $5
note, $6 was allowed. It is not known whether the bank was caught on
the split notes or not.

Another scheme for altering bank-notes is practiced with more or less
success. It is to take a one dollar silver certificate and by means of
powerful acids and fine penwork the large figure "one" on the reverse
side is split into two "tens," and the intermediate portion transformed
into a scroll. On the other side the "one" over the representation of
the silver dollar is obliterated and "ten" substituted, but the "s" is
left off the dollar. The single "1" figures in the corners are neatly
eaten off and the figure "10" substituted. The small "one" is changed
to an "X" and a new series number is printed in red upon the face. The
bill would pass anywhere. None but an expert would detect the fraud.



APPENDIX

INTERESTING WRITINGS OF VARIOUS KINDS FOR STUDY AND COMPARISON


FOUR ORDINARY SIGNATURES WITH DESCRIPTIONS

[Illustration: A mechanical or artificial hand in copy-book style,
lightly and delicately traced.

Characteristic signature, connected and rapidly traced letters
expressing great animation and mental activity.

A natural hand, letters vary in size, written with great spontaneity
and expression.

A restrained hand, letters slowly and deliberately traced, indicating
a slow intelligence and perception.]


STUDENTS' HANDWRITING--CRIMINALS' HANDWRITING

[Illustration: The above is a comparison of the students' and
criminals' handwriting, the selections being made from the records of
each class.]

[Illustration: The tremor of feebleness is shown in this signature.
This was written by a gentleman ninety-two years of age. Writing of
one who is ill or feeble is usually characterized by a light stroke.
The simulated tremor of a skilful penman is rarely successful in
deceiving a trained eye.]

[Illustration: This signature represents the tremor due to illiteracy.
The tremors and angular features shown are by no means indicative of
lack of power, but the power is misdirected.]

[Illustration: The signature of Ivan Wilson, herewith given, will serve
as an illustration of the tremor almost inseparable from forgery. The
tremors of a simulating hand are never so numerous nor so fine as real
tremors.]


GENUINE--FORGED TRACING--FORGED FREE-HAND

[Illustration: The first signature is the original. The second is a
bungling traced forgery and the third is a forged freehand. Taken
apart from one another they are clever enough to deceive, but studied
together here the fraud and deception is readily apparent.]


ORIGINAL SIZE--GENUINE--FORGED TRACING--FORGED FREE HAND.

[Illustration: We give above a genuine signature with a forged tracing
and a forged free-hand. You can readily detect the forgeries when
these signatures are placed together and explained. It gives one
points on how to study forged and disputed signatures.]


SOME THUMB AND FINGER-PRINT SUGGESTIONS

[Illustration: We show herewith two enlarged finger-prints. These are
taken from the index finger and are used in many cases instead of
thumb-prints.]

[Illustration: The above illustrations are fac-simile impressions of
the dermal furrows of the right and left thumbs of four different
persons. The left thumbs are in the top row, the right thumb being
below. These are enlarged to bring out the distinctive points. You
will note that no two are alike and it is absolutely impossible to
forge or duplicate the thumb-print of any person. "Thumb-prints Never
Forged" on page 115.]

[Illustration: Promiscuous thumb-prints taken at random, easily
distinguishable in the original impression but not enlarged as in
above illustration. A photographic reproduction showing the lines
without enlargement almost impossible.]


INTERESTING AUTOGRAPH SIGNATURES

[Illustration: Kaiser's signature published in book sanctioned by him
is the writing of an extremely erratic and nervous man.]

[Illustration: This is a facsimile of Capt. Myles Standish's
handwriting found on the fly-leaf of one of his books. Capt. Myles
Standish, known as the human sword blade, whose valor saved the
Pilgrims at Plymouth from utter destruction at the hands of hostile
Indians went back to England in 1625 on business for the colony.
Before his return, in 1626, he bought this book and carried it back to
America with him.]

[Illustration: In this signature of the great Liberator of Italy, we
have indications of energy in the angular form of the letters, and in
the hasty and irregular dot to the small letter "i," and originality
in the curious angularly waved line below the signature. It denotes
tenacity of purpose.]

[Illustration: In this signature of Napoleon Bonaparte, which appears
on a letter written by him when only a captain in the French army, we
have the "vaulting ambition" which made him all _but_ master of
Europe. There is the dominant will in the strongly marked "t," and in
the hard, thick line which terminates the flourish; his egotism and
self-assertion are evidenced in this flourish, his originality in the
peculiar form of the capital letter "B;" but ambition is here "still
the lord of all."]


GREELEY'S LAST LETTER.

[Illustration: This was the last letter ever written by Horace
Greeley, America's famous editor and horrible penman.]


[Illustration: The signatures of this group are by well-known men, all
leaders in a special line of activity. These autographs are original
and typical of the men writing them. The general character,
temperament and make-up of these gentlemen are well-known to all, and
a study of these signatures will be found interesting.]


[Illustration: Reduced copy of the signatures and seals of the English
and American commissioners who signed the treaty of peace between
Great Britain and the United States in 1783.]


CHARACTERISTIC WRITING OF SOME OF THE BEST KNOWN MEN IN THE BANKING
WORLD OF THE UNITED STATES

[Illustration: President American Bankers' Association and President
of the Continental National Bank, Chicago.]

[Illustration: Mr. Vanderlip, President of the National City Bank, New
York.]

[Illustration: Lewis E. Pierson, First Vice-president American
Bankers' Association and President Irving National Exchange Bank, New
York City.]

[Illustration: F.O. Watts, Chairman Executive Council American
Bankers' Association and President First National Bank, Nashville,
Tenn.]

[Illustration: Treasurer American Bankers' Association and Second
Vice-president Fidelity Trust Co., Tacoma, Wash.]

[Illustration: Fred. E. Farnsworth, Secretary American Bankers'
Association, New York.]

[Illustration: W.G. Fitzwilson, Assistant Secretary American Bankers'
Association, New York City.]

[Illustration: Assistant Cashier of the National City Bank, Chicago,
and formerly President of the American Institute of Banking.]

[Illustration: This gentleman is one of the best-known bankers in
America. He has also been Secretary of the Treasury.]

[Illustration: A rather complicated, though not altogether unreadable
signature of John K. Ottley, vice-president of the Fourth National
Bank, Atlanta, Ga.]

[Illustration: J. Furth, President of the Puget Sound National Bank,
Seattle, Wash.]

[Illustration: There is no better known gentleman in the country than
John Farson, the millionaire banker of Chicago. He dresses attractively,
loves legitimate notoriety, is absolutely democratic in his daily
life, is charitable and pleasant and believes in making everybody
happy, and is a great lover of flowers and children. His signature
indicates his character thoroughly.]

[Illustration: This is a fair specimen of the writing of a Japanese
banker and business man. This was written with great haste, also.]


CURIOUS AND FREAKISH SIGNATURES OF WELL-KNOWN BANKERS AND BUSINESS MEN

[Illustration: Banker Wm. W. Quigg thinks this is a pretty good
signature. He is a banker at Ontario, Calif.]

[Illustration: A Michigan bank cashier, E. Newell, writes this
signature.]

[Illustration: This is the signature of Common Parse.]

[Illustration: This is the way H.G. Nolton writes his name.]

[Illustration: This was the original freak signature of the country.
It will be recognized by every one as F.E. Spinner.]

[Illustration: F.S. Watts, teller in an Iowa bank, is not afraid to
use ink. He says this signature has never been counterfeited.]

[Illustration: This stands for Lloyd Bowers, a well-known Kansas
banker.]

[Illustration: R.J.B. Crombie, a Canadian banker, has a signature that
is certainly freakish.]

[Illustration: Tom Randolph, president of a Sherman, Texas, National
Bank, thinks he is a good writer.]

[Illustration: W.D. Mussenden, an eastern banker, thinks any man ought
to readily read his writing.]

[Illustration: C.W. Bush, president of the Bank of Yolo, Woodland,
California, makes these marks and they are good on any check.]

[Illustration: W.O. Cline, editor and publisher of a Chicago paper.
This is one of the most unique signatures in the United States.]

[Illustration: A B. Ming might write worse but it is doubtful.]

[Illustration: W.P. Hazen, a Kansas banker, has written this signature
so many years he thinks it ought to be legible to any one.]

[Illustration: This is the very complicated signature of Hugh
Harbinson, a well-known Connecticut business man.]

[Illustration: John Mohr, Jr., thinks this is a plain signature.]

[Illustration: Jas. V.D. Westfall, formerly a well-known New York
State banker.]

[Illustration: F.C. Miller, Kansas banker, wants this to pass current
as his name.]

[Illustration: Louis Houck, historian, Cape Girardeau, Mo.]

[Illustration: Tams Bixby, General Manager The Pioneer Press, St.
Paul, Minnesota. This is certainly a unique signature.]

[Illustration: J.W. Dunegan, Cashier First National Bank, Marquette,
Mich.]

[Illustration: This is known as the "Turn Around" signature. This was
furnished us by the president of one of the largest banks in New York
City. It is one of the most curious of signatures. Turn it around. It
reads the same both ways.]

[Illustration: P.B. Elder, formerly a Pennsylvania bank president,
known as the "upside down" writer. Turn it around.]

[Illustration: John R. Dixon, a well-known Chicago business man.]

[Illustration: Peter White, President First National Bank, Marquette,
Mich.]


HOW SOME CELEBRATED WOMEN WRITE

[Illustration: In this signature of the "divine Sarah," the flourish
peculiar to most actresses, which indicates love of admiration, is
very remarkable. We have also, in the return of the curve of the
letter "S" the sign typical of egotism; in the peculiar form of the
letter "B," we have originality; in the heavy down strokes we have
sensuousness; and in the angular forms of all the letters, strong
will.]

[Illustration: Who has not heard of that eccentric woman in man's
garb, Dr. Mary E. Walker. She is egotistical, seeks after notoriety,
and her signature is a correct portrayal of a petulant and whimsical
nature.]

[Illustration: This signature of Marie Antoinette was taken from a
letter written while she was in prison under sentence of death. This
is a despondent signature. Misfortune, separation from her husband and
children, and humiliation had crushed her pride, and the whole of this
signature is descendant, the four last letters remarkably so, which
indicates a thoroughly despondent condition.]


THREE OF AMERICA'S BEST-KNOWN MEN

[Illustration: Melville W. Fuller, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,
of the United States.]

[Illustration: P.S. Grosscup, Chicago, Judge of the Circuit Court of
the United States.]

[Illustration: John Hay, formerly Secretary of State, is a versatile
man. The most remarkable point in this autograph is its extreme
clearness, indicative of lucidity of ideas. Cultivation is shown in
the form of the capital letters in both Christian and surname. No
obstinacy is shown in this nature, only sufficient firmness to hold
his own when necessary, the signature showing also a strong literary
leaning.]


THREE FAMOUS MILITARY MEN

[Illustration: We present a group of signatures of famous military
men. The autograph of General Grant is plain and simple in its
construction, not an unnecessary movement or mark in it--a signature
as bare of superfluity and ostentation as was the silent soldier and
hero of Appomattox. In the autograph of R.E. Lee we have the same
terse, brief manner of construction as in Grant's. It is more
antiquated and formal in its style, more stiff and what might be
called aristocratic. Its firm upright strokes, with angular horizontal
terminal lines, indicate a determined, positive character. In somewhat
marked contrast with the two last-mentioned autographs is that of
General Beauregard, in that he indulges in a rather elaborate
flourish, which is a national characteristic.]


CHARACTERISTIC WRITING OF A FEW OF THE WORLD'S BEST-KNOWN LITERARY MEN
AND AUTHORS

[Illustration: Shakespeare's writing shows a strong, intuitive
observation--that quick movement of the mind which seizes character at
a glance--is shown by the want of _liason_ between the curiously
formed letter "h" and the "a" which follows it. With a poet's
disregard of order, Shakespeare puts no dots to either of the small
letters "i" in his Christian name, nor is there any full stop at the
end of the signature, so suggestive, when seen in an autograph, of
caution, and that attention to minutiae which seems almost
incompatible with the poetic nature. No flourish of any kind disgraces
this thoroughly characteristic signature of England's greatest poet.]

[Illustration: His popularity and fame as a novelist may be attributed
to the fascinating style and vivid portrayal of his imaginative rather
than realistic creations. The flourish after the signature has its
significance also. It is lacking in grace or harmony, and evidently
the quick, assertive stroke from the pen of one who will brook no
opposition.]

[Illustration: In this signature of Longfellow we have imagination in
the letter "L" in the signature of the surname, lucidity of ideas in
the extreme clearness of the writing, ideality in the absence of
_liason_ between the "l" and "o," but not as much tenderness as
one would have expected in the writing of the author of "Evangeline."]

[Illustration: Edgar Allen Poe was an egotistical and imaginative
writer. When the flourish takes any very peculiar abnormal form, it is
rather a sign of originality than vanity, though there is, perhaps
always a slight admixture of egotistical feeling in all flourishes.]

[Illustration: Who has not heard of Emile Zola? This signature has the
lightning flourishes in the "Z" and "a," and the entire separation of
letters indicate an almost wholly intuitive mind, but lacking in
logic, reason and judgment.]


AUTOGRAPHS OF SOME WELL-KNOWN MEN. THEIR WRITING IS AS DIFFERENT AS
THEIR CHARACTERS.

[Illustration: Uncle Joe Cannon, Speaker of the House of
Representatives, has a careless and rapid signature which indicates a
determined and arbitrary will.]

[Illustration: Cecil T. Rhodes, the wealthy South Africa diamond king,
has a signature denoting secrecy and thrift. The curve of the "C" and
"T" denoting love of publicity. His wonderful endowments gave him fame
and publicity.]

[Illustration: Signature of John Jacob Astor, the founder of that
well-known family.]

[Illustration: Ingersoll's signature is that of a combative man. This
is told by a certain irregularity in writing and at the same time all
the signs of ardent courage.]

[Illustration: Admiral George Dewey. Extreme straightforwardness is
indicated in this signature; the letters are all one height and the
line of writing is straight. It denotes precision, discipline and
loyalty.]

[Illustration: An enlarged signature of one of the most successful
merchants in the country. This signature shows intuitive perception of
character and the heavy characters denote precision, organization, and
care for details.]

[Illustration: The signature of H.N. Higinbotham, a former partner of
Marshall Field, and an immensely busy man. It shows that an active
business man can write a legible hand if he will.]

[Illustration: This signature is that of one of America's greatest
merchants and financiers. He is as careful in writing as in business
and gives the greatest care to all details. Philanthrophy is also
shown in his hand.]

[Illustration: This is the inventor of the telephone, and one of the
most famous characters of the country. This is a most pronounced
signature indicating inventive genius and charity, with strong
literary proclivities.]

[Illustration: Joseph Zeisler, one of the best known physicians in the
country. This writing, while difficult to read, indicates a nervous
body and active brain.]

[Illustration: Thomas A. Edison, the famous inventor.]

[Illustration: One of the richest men in America and a well-known
philanthropist.]

[Illustration: This signature evidences calm and clear judgment; the
open "o's," fluency of speech; and the simply formed capitals, the
modest, unpretentious nature.]

[Illustration: The writing of one of the most famous characters in
American politics. His writing indicates firmness, love of notoriety
and also a semblance of weakness.]

[Illustration: The signature of Emil G. Hirsch, Rabbi of Sinai
Congregation, Chicago, one of America's best-known and most-respected
Jewish citizens.]

[Illustration: "Oom Paul" Kruger, formerly president of the Transvaal
Republic. This is the signature of a man that believed the world was
flat. He was "sot" in his ways--stubborn, obstinate, unmovable. His
rugged character was never brought within the restraints of
conventionality, and neither, apparently, was his handwriting.]

[Illustration: One of America's best-known educators.]

[Illustration: Arthur N. McGeoch, Milwaukee, Wis., a well-known
attorney.]

[Illustration: Geo. E. Allen, Educational Director, American Institute
of Banking.]

[Illustration: Characteristic writing of business men in the early
days of our country. These autographs appear on the original agreement
which formed the first stock exchange in New York City, in 1792.
Whirls, flourishes, and other peculiarities are remarkably plenty in
the above, which is an indication of correct writing in those days.]

[Illustration: One of the few legible signatures to the Declaration of
Independence.]

[Illustration: P.M. Hanney, a leading Chicago business man, and a
director in the great firm of Siegel Cooper & Company.]

[Illustration: General counsel for the American Bankers' Association,
and authority on American banking law.]

[Illustration: Retired Major General of the United States Army.]


AUTOGRAPH SIGNATURES OF THE PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES

[Illustrations]





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