Bertillon Measuring EquipmentBertillonnage offered up the first self-consciously scientific system for storing encoded records of individual identity. The measuring equipment, designed by Bertillon himself, was used to perform the practice of anthropometry, or the systematic measurement of human beings.
Since the cards produced by the system were both stored and retrieved by means of these measurement numbers, the measuring protocol needed to produce highly predictable results. Different functionaries, at different times and places, needed to be able to produce the almost identical measurements from a given individual. Often, even an error of a few millimeters would be enough to store a card improperly or fail to retrieve a card because of a mismatch.