What are the Different Types of Fingerprint Supplies?

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  • Written By: M.R. Anglin
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 August 2019
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Fingerprinting is one of the most accepted methods of identification. Police use it to identify a suspect and to prove their presence at a crime scene, immigration officials can use it to register and identify legal residents, and employers can use it to ensure the individuals they are hiring are eligible for that particular form of employment. In order to take a fingerprint, a person may have to have different types of fingerprint supplies. Fingerprint supplies can range from fingerprinting ink, rollers, slabs, and card holders. There are even devices for taking fingerprints from people who have died.

One of the most important fingerprint supplies is fingerprinting ink. Fingerprinting ink can often come in the form of pads, strips, or liquid ink. Fingerprint ink pads can be classified as ink or inkless. Inkless pads use a special chemical coupled with a card that is covered with a specific material that will allow the fingerprint to show up. Ink pads use actual ink in their pads that can be left on the fingers and will need to be cleaned with a special ink cleaning pad.

Fingerprint cards are used to display the fingerprints that are taken. These cards are used in various departments and applications. For instance, some employers require fingerprints on these cards as part of a job application. Fingerprinting ink needs to be used with normal fingerprint cards.


Ink slabs and ink rollers are two types of fingerprint supplies that are closely related. An ink slab is a flat piece of material such as stainless steel or glass on which the fingerprint ink is rolled. The ink is placed on the slab and the roller is used to spread the ink evenly along the slab. Then the fingers can be rolled in the ink, and the fingerprint placed on the card. The card is usually held in place by a card holder, which may have mounting brackets to secure it to the table.

Many organizations are switching from traditional fingerprint supplies to electronic fingerprint captures. These computers can record a fingerprint without fingerprint ink, slabs, and other supplies, and print them onto a fingerprint card. It is even possible for fingerprints already on a card to be scanned into the computer to form an electronic print. Sometimes it is even possible to find a company providing this as a mobile service.


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