Stanley Keith took common nail identification technology to a new level in the realm of "fingerprint identification," in much the same Koehler did with the ladder wood evidence. While Koehler had the satisfaction of seeing his work become part of the circumstantial evidence testimony that convicted Hauptmann, Keith's work was deemed unnecessary due to Hauptmann's weak defense, and it was never presented at trial. As an aside, I'm not so sure that was the only reason, as Keith's courtroom charts would also have had to have been much more clearly understood than his research paper, for the Hauptmann Trial jury.
Keith's later article in Iron Age magazine, Oct. 17, 1935, is a challenge to follow all the way through, but it's a brilliant and conclusive piece of research. It demonstrates clearly the condition of the nail production dies at the Monessen, PA facility and their grip die forming characteristics for the common 8d nails produced over the standard period of deterioration of those dies, could not have produced more than 16 individual kegs of nails consistent with the identical grip markings and statistical variances found in both the nails of the kidnap ladder and the nails found in Hauptmann's possession. (from his keg, overalls and nails recovered from his demolished garage)
Keith's degree of certainty was in the order of one half of one thousandth of one percent probability that the two were not from one and the same production run. I'm sure the Pittsburgh Steel Co. Quality Assurance department learned something very valuable from Keith's research and his article.
You're probably right Sue, unless he had a translator available! He would have need plenty of charts and pictures as his aristocratic use of words and delivery would have stultified. Can you imagine... more
Thanks Sue, I have the Melsky copy of the Keith report from Ronelle's site and the photos aren't clear enough to differentiate the die grip markings. I'll keep an eye out on eBay for that copy of... more
Sue, I'm not sure if this is the actual report as it was originally in the Oct. 17, 1935 issue and this one looks like Dec. 1935. Also, it's only two pages, which makes me think it might be some kind ... more
Keith appears to have been the 'Koehler of Nails' and based on all of the information I've seen on the man, he was absolutely thorough in his work but humanly understanding enough to realize that his ... more