Battley Single Digit Classification System: Fingerprint Identification

Battley classification is a single-digit classification system that was designed to make fingerprint identification easy and less time-consuming.

But there is more to it.

Let’s dig deeper and know more about the Battley single-digit classification system in detail.

What is the Battley Single-Digit Classification System?

Chief Inspector Harry Battley and Detective Superintendent Fredrick Cherrill of New Scotland Yard were known to be the true gems that led the foundation of the single-digit classification system.

There are a lot of other single-digit classification systems but the Battley classification system was one of the most popular and oldest systems that were developed in 1929.

Need of Battley Single Digit System

Single-digit fingerprint classification systems emerge from the necessity of latent prints that were found on the crime scene.

As at the crime scene, most of the prints are not 10-digit, hence apprehension of criminals based on that, was quite difficult and time-consuming.

This leads to the emergence of a single-digit fingerprint classification system, which is also the fact behind the development of the Battley classification and identification system.

History and Development of Battley Single Digit System

History and Development of Battley Single Digit System

With the idea of making identification fast, Battley and Cherril in 1929, developed one of the most sophisticated, fastest, and new fingerprint classification systems that are called the Single Fingerprint System.

As stated earlier, the need for the single-digit classification system was to provide rapid identification using fingerprints that were left on the crime scene.

Conversely, with time, as it has a single-digit system, there were a lot of fingerprints per person—10x more than the Henry classification system.

This all required a great amount of work in maintaining and classifying it.

Eventually, the fingerprint data became so large that it became impossible to accurately and quickly individualize specific prints.

Collection of Fingerprints for Battley Single-Digit Classification

Battley single-fingerprint system has a special card on which each print will register. 

This special type of battery fingerprint registered card is called the Battley index card.

The following is how a Battley index card looks like.

Battley Single-Digit Fingerprint Index card

In a Battley index card, the following information is registered:

  • Number of digits
  • Name of digits
  • Criminal reference number
  • Henry Classification (if done)
  • Adhered Fingerprint
  • 10-subgroup designation

So, for each fingerprint, a Battley index card is filled. For each person, there is 10 index card from the right thumb (#1 collection) to the left little finger (#10 collection).

Also Read:

Procedure for Classifying Fingerprint Based on Battley Single Digit Classification System

Procedure for Classifying Fingerprint Based on Battley Single Digit Classification System

The following is the step-by-step guide on how the Battley index card is registered for the specific fingerprint.

1. Collection of Prints

In the Battley system of single-digit classification, all fingerprints of an individual should be taken as rolled fingerprints in the individual drawer of the fingerprint chart.

2. Subdivision Sets in Battley Classification

In this single digit fingerprint system, the print was first classified based on two broad sets. These are:

  1. Pattern-Based Subdivision
    • Radial or ulnar inclination
    • Ridge counts and tracing (using Battley reticle)
    • Formation of the core(s)
    • Position of the delta(s)
  2. Circle Reading Subdivision

Pattern-Based Subdivision

There is a misconception that the Battley single fingerprint classification system only uses the circle reading classification method.

Nevertheless, it’s not true.

The Battley single fingerprint system uses ten major pattern types that are further subdivided on their specific characteristics.

The following table illustrates all the subdivisions along with the designation that you needed in order to classify fingerprints.

ArchesPlain Arch1
Tented ArchesCircle reading (summit of first platform ridge)A-H
Radial loopsRidge count between delta and core#
 Predetermined core definitionsA-L
 Circle reading of deltaA-H
Ulnar loopsRidge count between delta and core#
 Predetermined core definitionsA-L
 Circle reading of deltaA-H
Whorls/Central pocket loopsCircle reading of first recurving ridgeA-H
 Predetermined core definitions limited to small spirals in “A” circle readingA.1A.2A.3A.4
 Circle reading of left deltaA-H
 Ridge tracingI,M,O
 Circle reading of right deltaA-H
 Ridge count between left delta and core#
 Ridge count between right delta and core#
Twinned LoopsRadial or ulnar slope of descending loopR,U
 Circle reading of core of descending loopA-H
 Ridge count between loops#
 Ridge count between core and delta of descending loops#
 Circle reading of left deltaA-H
 Ridge tracingI,M,O
 Circle reading of right deltaA-H
Lateral pocket loopsRadial or ulnar slope of majority of ridgesR,U
 Ridge count between delta and core of innermost loop#
CompositeNo division 
AccidentalNo division 
Severely scarredCannot classify 

Circle Reading Subdivision

In this subdivision, a special magnifying glass—reticle based magnifying glass—is used for the analysis.

Battley reticle magnifying glass has;

  • a center circle along with an apex dot in the middle (called point A), and
  • 7 concentric circles, each 2 mm in width.

These 7 concentric circles have respective radii of 3mm, 5mm, 7mm, 9mm, 11mm, 13mm, and 15mm. Each radius is represented by an alphabet from ‘B’ through ‘H’.

Circle Reading Subdivision of battley single digit classification along with reticle

After that, instead of counting ridges, the distance between the delta and cores is determined by placing the central apex dot on the innermost recurving ridge.

More precisely, this single-digit classification system uses a special core.

In loops and whorls, the special core is located in the center of the pattern to obtain circle readings.

After that, a corresponding alphabetical designation is given based on the ring to which the delta appears. Or you can say, the circle which touches or crosses the delta.

Also Read:

Other Single Digit Fingerprint Classification System

Name of single print systemSubdivisions
CollinsPattern types, Ridge counts, Ridge tracing, and Ridge characteristics
LarsonPattern types, Inclination of Pattern, Core type, Ridge characteristics, Delta type, Ridge tracing and combinations
OlorizPrimary from Oloriz tenprint system, Core type, Limiting Lines (Type Lines), Delta types and Apex Angle
BorgerhoffPattern types, Ridge counts and Ridge tracing 
StockisPattern types, Ridge counts, Apex Angle, Core type, Delta type and Ridge tracing
GastiTaken from Gasti (tenprint) classification for each finger
BornPattern type, Zone scheme with  marked minutiae
SagredoPrimary from Oloriz Tenprint System, No delta pattern type, One delta pattern type, Two delta pattern type, Pattern inclination, Ridge counts, Ridge tracing and Delta type
DresdenPattern types, Ridge counts and Pattern inclination
Neben Register of RoscherTaken from Roscher tenprint classification for each finger
LyonnesePattern type, Central basal angle from Oloritz and Ridge tracing
BarlowPattern type, Pattern inclination, Core type and Ridge counts
JaycoxPattern type, Pattern inclination, Core type and Ridge characteristics of core
JorgensonPattern type, Pattern inclination, Ridge counts, Core type, Delta position, Core to delta angle, Core diameter (whorl)
CrosskeyPattern type, Core type, Ridge counts and Presence of scar


  • Battley, H., Single Finger Prints, Yale University Press, New Haven [Onelibrary.Wiley]
  • Fingerprint Analysis Laboratory Workbook by Hillary Moses Daluz [Book]
  • The Fingerprint: Source Book by NIJ.Gov
  • Friction Ridge Skin: Comparison and Identification of Fingerprints by James M. Cowger [Book]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *