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Old 11-05-2000, 10:07 PM
delphica delphica is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: The Empire State
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... as in those things that detectives in mysteries from the 1950s are always using to solve crimes.

I just read one where a murder victim's body was identified from the laundry mark on her slip. In another, the killer was identified by the laundry mark in a shirt that he had thrown away (it was all bloody, of course).

What are they exactly? Did they indicate both the laundry service and the customer?

What did they look like, and where on the clothing would they be? The label seems like it would make sense, but labels aren't very big, especially with something like a slip.

And finally, were they ever actually used in identifying people, or is this more of a literary device?
Old 11-05-2000, 10:31 PM
Billdo Billdo is offline
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Location: Delectable City of Gotham
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Not surprisingly, a laundry mark is a mark made on clothing to identify it when it is laundered (in a commercial laundry, not in a personal washing machine or laundromat). I bring my dress shirts to be laundered, and will sometimes bring things like tablecloths. The place I currently go does both laundry and dry cleaning, and marks the shirts by small tags stapled through a button-hole.

However, prior to moving to my current apartment, I used a traditional Chinese laundry which focused almost exclusively on cleaning dress shirts. To identify my shirts, they put my initials on the inside of the shirt collars with a laundry marker. When they were done, they would wrap them in brown paper and tie the parcels up with string.

If I were wearing one of those shirts, and the police found me dead on the street without identification, they could see my initials in the neck of my shirt and use the clue to help identify my body.
Old 11-05-2000, 11:54 PM
bizerta bizerta is offline
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Location: wilmington, ma
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Sometimes the laundry marks made with pens were made with ultra-violet ink that required a special lamp. Of course the "real" villian would not see the laundry mark because he didn't put the shirt under a UV lamp.
Old 11-06-2000, 12:30 AM
CurtC CurtC is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Texas
Posts: 6,460
By the way, the common name for the permanent "Marks-A-Lot" kind of pen is a "laundry marker."

Some of my shirts have my name on the shirt tail, written by some previous cleaner with a laundry marker.
Old 11-06-2000, 01:00 AM
delphica delphica is offline
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Location: The Empire State
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I guess I'm still confused about how you would go from a dead body with a shirt with a laundry mark, to identifying the person. If my cleaner puts my initials on a shirt, would the police go to every cleaner/laundry service in the city until they found mine? This seems like a huge task. I guess if you have no other clues, you go with what you have, but still ... would my initials be so distinct that my cleaner would recognize them, especially since they most likely have hundreds of other customers? And probably several employees who make the marks, to boot.
Old 11-06-2000, 03:53 AM
Triskadecamus Triskadecamus is offline
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Location: I'm coming back, now.
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Believe it or not, long ago, Chinese Laundries made Laundry Marks in Chinese. They put them in various places on garments, usually out of sight. The mark was the Chinese Laundry's name for the customer, and usually was a nickname. In a large city, the laundry owner might not know the customer by name, but in many laundries, they would. Most laundries, including Non Chinese laundries, the owners could recognize their own marks. In the case of a well-known customer, that could provide identification.

I am sure the number of fictitious examples is greater than the number of forensic examples.



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