Massachusetts, killing a paymaster and a guard in the process.
Goddard was hired late in the game to microscopically examine the striations on the
death bullets and bullets test-fired from the guns of both foreign-looking and foreign-
acting men. He established that the Colt .32 automatic found on Sacco at the time of his
arrest, but not Vanzetti’s .38 Harrington & Richardson revolver, had fired the fatal shots.
But such “ballistics” evidence was too arcane for the appellate court, and most citizens
already believed that "anarchists" were bent on destroying America, so in 1927 both
Sacco and Vanzetti fried.
Two years after that the City of Chicago was too preoccupied with closing
speakeasies and arresting “the usual suspects” to give much thought to science or
spending money on it; but Massey had been sufficiently impressed by Goddard’s work
that he enlisted support from Walter Olson, president of the Olson Rug Company, and
they used their own funds to hire Goddard’s services. Goddard immediately left his
private laboratory in New York in the hands of two collegues and began setting up an
even more elaborate lab in Chicago to work on the Massacre. At Coroner Bundesen’s
suggestion--because the police themselves were still suspects--a Scientific Crime
Detection Laboratory was soon established under the auspices of the Northwestern
University Law School, between Chicago’s famous “Water Tower” (a souvenir of the
Great Chicago Fire) and the Lakefront...because nobody trusted the cops.
Calvin Goddard’s was a full-service laboratory, patterned partly after a lab established
about two years earlier by August Vollmer in California and partly after laboratories long-
established in several European countries. The Europeans were far ahead of the United
States in most areas of forensic science; where they came up short was in ballistics.
Their specialists (and Vollmer’s as well) had a basic understanding of the rifling marks on
bullets, but for evaluation they still were wrapping slugs in tinfoil and trying to match
them by studying the patterns with a magnifying glass.
Goddard (who usually called himself major in stead of his war-time rank of colonel)
employed a new split-image comparison microscope developed by Philip Gravelle, which
was a pair of microscopes linked to a single eye piece and had two independently
rotating posts instead of the mirror-and-plate arrangement that would normally hold a
slide. Bullets mounted with wax on each post could be slowly turned until the nearly-
invisible striations perfectly matched up--or failed to match up, if the bullets came from
Goddard also used a “helixometer,” newly developed by John Fischer based on the
medical cytoscope, and which could optically examine the interior of a gun barrel which
would confirm its caliber, determine the pitch of the rifling, and examine it for powder
residue. Riflings differed among manufacturers and usually were unique to a particular
brand, model and caliber of handgun or rifle. Shotguns had no rifling, but each gun still
left marks on the primers and casings of their empty shells that were also unique to a
Using slugs taken from the Massacre victims and seventy shell casings picked up off
the floor, Goddard first spent many hours explaining to Bundeson's "coroner's jury" the
theory and practice of forensic ballistics; and then he established to their satisfaction
that two .45-caliber Thompson submachine guns had been used, one with a fifty-round
drum and the other with a twenty-round “stick” (or straight) magazine.
Since at least two of the Massacre killers had worn police uniforms, Goddard
obtained and test-fired all the Thompsons belonging to the police departments in
Chicago and its suburbs. These were ruled out, and it was not until Berrien County's
sheriff’s police raided a house near St. Joseph, Michigan, in December, 1929, and found
an arsenal that included two Thompson guns.
These were immediately delivered to Goddard’s laboratory for examination. Goddard
found them to be the weapons used in the Massacre, and man who had possessed them,
a Frederick Dane, who turned out to be Fred “Killer” Burke, had beat it out of town.
Meanwhile, the New York police, working on the killing of Brooklyn gangster Frankie
Yale a few months earlier, had traced the Thompson they had found in an abandoned
escape car to a gun dealer in Chicago. Evidently they knew that two machine guns had
been fired at Yale, and they figured they might have bullets from both. They also knew of
Goddard's new crime lab in Chicago. So they took their gun and their bullets to Goddard's
lab to see if anything matched up. And, sure enough, Goddard established that some of
the bullets from one of the two New York machine guns--the one that had come back to
Chicago--also had fired some of the bullets used in the Massacre.
Besides advancing the science of forensic ballistics, coupled with shooting angles and
distances, Goddard’s laboratory soon was doing hair and fiber investigations,
discovering new chemistries for use in serology (blood), and employing the new
“moulage” technique to make rubber-and-plaster casts of footprints and tire tracks. The
lab even utilized Leonarde Keeler’s new “lie-detector” equipment, which could help
police narrow their list of suspects (but which is still not admissible as courtroom
Additionally, in 1931, the Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory set up month-long
classes to train future criminalists, as they were now being called, one of whom turned
out to be a “G-man” who took his knowledge back to Washington, D.C. There he provided
J. Edgar Hoover with everything he had learned from Goddard to help set up a national
crime laboratory some eighteen months later, using the same equipment and
technologies. When FBI Director Hoover later chewed out Melvin Purvis for doing
business with the Chicago lab, and otherwise ignored its existence, Goddard was really
After its initial financing by two wealthy Chicagoans, Massey and Olson, Northwestern
University itself began funding the work of laboratory. This was partly offset by charging
for services performed, but even that was not enough to meet laboratory expenses.
During Chicago’s "Century of Progress" World Fair in 1933-34 the lab had to set up an
exhibit and sell souvenirs, such as matchbox-size containers enclosing a bullet and shell
casing from a "Machine Gun taken from Chicago Gangsters." (Any ol' gangster would do.)
In the early 1930s the laboratory outgrew its quarters at the Northwestern Law School in
downtown Chicago and was moved from 469 Ohio Street to another Northwestern
building at 222 East Superior. Calvin Goddard went back to New York, leaving the lab in
the hands of Fred E. Inbau and a well-trained civilian staff. By 1938 the Chicago police
had lost enough of its gangster-era stigma to purchase the facility for $25,000, including
two chemical laboratories, a photography room and darkroom, a chamber outfitted with a
“lie detector,” a document examiner’s room, a library that included some 1000 books on
scientific crime detection, and an exhibits room containing many hundreds of guns and
other implements of crime.
Most of the civilian staff was employed to operate the police department’s lab, which
had been relocated to the police headquarters building at 1121 North State Street; and
when the department expressed a desire to replace these men with police personnel,
Inbau began training officers who had at least some background in science.
Meanwhile, Joe Wilimovsky, who also worked with the coroner's office, scrounged
most of Goddard's personal files, photos and other items not nailed down, and with his
brother Allan helped set up a similar crime lab for the State of Wisconsin. Eventually this
material went to Wisconsin collector Neal Trickel, together with an original Dillinger death
mask and mold. (From the mold, Neal, a hospital lab technician, plucked three eyebrow
hairs that in 1984 he graciously donated to The John Dillinger Died For You Society's
Doctor Horace Naismith, the nom de guerre of Your Benefactor.)
One of the original crime lab’s major and lasting contributions was its American
Journal of Police Science, first published in January-February, 1930, by the Northwestern
University Press, and which has since been incorporated into the Journal of Criminal Law
and Criminology, published originally in 1910 as an academic periodical and still widely
|The Northwestern University Law School's
Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory
|The First American "Crime Lab"
The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
exceeded any gangland killings
before or after February 14, 1929,
throwing the city into a frenzy of
police activity, awakening the
Chicago Crime Commission, and
businessmen who were tired of
hearing their city called the world's
Coroner Herman Bundesen,
wielding more authority than any
medical examiner before or since,
virtually took charge of the case
and immediately selected a “blue-
ribbon commission” of leading
citizens who became part of a
special grand jury that would attend
a year’s worth of hearings.
The hearings accomplished as
little as the police investigations,
except in one respect. Bert
Massey, vice-president of the
had heard of a New York
“criminalist” named Calvin Goddard
who was introducing the new
science of forensic ballistics into
the court case of Nicola Sacco and
Bartolomeo Vanzetti, the self-
described anarchists already
convicted pulling a 1920 payroll
robbery in South Braintree,
|Calvin Goddard, trained as a physician, became a major
and then a lieutenant colonel in World War I before
joining with Charles E. Waite, Phillip Gravelle and
John Fischer to form the privately-owned Central
Bureau of Forensic Ballistics in New York in 1922.
The Goddard crime lab had a vast collection of firearms (and a
waste basket full of cotton into which guns were test-fired), as
well other devices for comparing bullet rifling marks. Most of
the lab was sold to the Chicago Police Department in 1938, with
such employees as Joe Wilimovsky hired to train cops in its use.
In those days, Real Men didn't bother with hearing protection.
Below: Photo of Calvin Goddard (far left) along with Massacre gun and his handwritten calculation of the
number of murders committed with such guns. Included also are a "bullet box" sold at Chicago's World's
Fair, Goddard's business card, a barrel showing internal rifling, a .45-caliber bullet found in the drum of a
Fred Burke Tommygun, a box for United State Cartridge Co. cartridges siezed at Burke's house near St.
Joseph, Michigan, and a pamphlet picturing shell casings from the earlier Sacco-Vanzetti killings
examined the Goddard laboratory in New York.
|In 1934, after John Dillinger's death mask and mold
were confiscated by the officious Sgt. Mulvaney, both
were stashed in the Coroner's Office where they were
later salvaged by Joe Wilimovsky. They were eventually
obtained by Neal Trickel, who found and plucked three
eyebrow hairs--which he donated to Your Benefactor
before selling the mask and mold at auction in 1990.
|AS FOR THE RECENT DISCOVERY OF THE LONG-AND-PRESUMED-LOST
ST. VALENTINE'S DAY MASSACRE
SLUGS AND SHELL CASINGS
WITH FULL DOCUMENTATION, Y'ALL WILL JUST HAVE TO GO TO THE BOTTOM
OF THIS PAGE BECAUSE YOUR BENEFACTOR (ME) DOESN'T FEEL
LIKE REVAMPING ALL THE CRIME LAB STUFF. BUT HERE'S A QUICK SNIFF...
Assortment of crime-lab photos and papers from
Joe Wilimovsky, who also kept six .38 Special
rounds from Frank Guzenberg's revolver plus a
Type XX "box" magazine siezed at Fred Burke's
house, along with .45-caliber ammunition for the
Thompson guns and a 12-gauge Climax shotgun
shell such as used in the St. Valentine's Day
Massacre, both manufactured by the U.S.
Cartridge Co., and all courtesy of Neal Trickel, a
friend of Joe and his brother Allan Wilimovsky.
|Now that wasn't so bad, was it? (Presuming anybody bothered to read about the Goddard crime lab.)
OK. Here's the story on the St. Valentine's Day
Massacre slugs, shell casings, and other
A Wisconsin collector, Neal, an old friend of Your Benefactor (me), is not only into Col.
Calvin Goddard's Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory (because he personally knew two
aging people who had worked there), but he also is intrigued by the Massacre that brought
Goddard from New York to Chicago in the first place.
Neal personally knew Joe Wilimovsky and his brother Allan, and when the lab was sold
to the Chicago Police Department in 1938 Joe not only helped train science-oriented cops
but was delighted to keep much of Goddard's letters, paperwork, some of his guns, and
many of their cartridges. (Joe also possessed the original Dillinger death mask and mold, as
the lab was still operating under Goddard in 1934; and his brother, Allan, who also had
worked for Goddard, was instrumental in setting up a similar laboratory in Wisconsin.)
Anyway, because of an unrelated shooting, Michigan police had raided a house
belonging to a Frederick Dane, who turned out to be Fred Burke, long presumed to be one
of the shooters in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Burke, then employed by Al Capone as
one of his special-assignment squad known as "the American boys," were mostly from St.
Louis and unknown to either the Chicago police or to Capone's rivals. Which suited Mr
Capone, who mainly wanted to nail his North Side adversary, Bugs Moran. And he would
have but for the screw-up by a lookout across the street who ID'd one of Moran's
lieutenants instead. Hence the Massacre, because the shooters didn't know any better and
just machine-gunned everybody who happened to be in Moran's North Clark Street garage.
Needless to say, such a mass murder freaked out the cops, who arrested every
gangster they could find while the actual killers got the hell out of town. Which might have
worked except that Fred Burke, probably drunk, banged into another car in St. Joseph,
Michigan, the following December and then shot the cop who came over to talk to the
After that shooting Burke escaped, but at his house near St. Joseph (a Chicago gangster
lakeside hangout because of its popular Hot Springs) the police turned up a small arsenal
that included weapons, boxes of ammunition, and bullet-proof vests.
Two of the weapons were Thompson submachine guns, and these, plus boxes of
ammunition in various calibers, were taken not to the Chicago police (at least not without
telling them) but to Calvin Goddard's new crime lab--where they belonged. And Goddard,
after test-firing the guns, established that their bullets matched those taken from victims of
So the items of evidence pertaining to "the Gangland Crime of the Century" were in fact
not lost in the police department's basement flood some sixty years ago, as crime
researchers have long believed, but have turned up in one of the trunks of materials
recently acquired from Goddard's early and long-time employee, the late Joe Wilimovsky.
One of the several trunks that had
belonged to Calvin Goddard's employee
Joe Wilimovsky yielded this St. Valentine's
Day Massacre evidence, which crime
researchers assumed had been trashed
because of a Chicago Police Department
flood some 60 years ago
What about Neal? (Whose last name I won't mention here lest he get swamped with emails
pertaining to this Great Find.) (Although anyone who goes through this site might well
figure it out.)
Besides being a Wisconsin hospital technician, Neal is big into loading tracer
ammunition of different colors, does not foul barrels, and do not do the other disgusting
things common to military tracer of which the Army has many millions. He also makes
"spotter" rounds that do a loud pop on contact with a target. (And probably on people,
although I think he sticks to targets. And he's now in the process of getting hooked up
with a large-scale supplier. Naturally his chemical compounds are patented
But otherwise his attic is stacked to the brim with boxes, crates, trunks and such, and
he goes through the Wilimovsky stuff only when it surfaces. Like this trunkload of St.
Valentine's Day slugs, casings, the test-rounds from other Cook County Tommyguns (when
the cops were still under suspicion, autopsy reports, and wound diagrams. He's currently
sorting through the Massacre ammo and the paperwork that goes with it, along with
Goddard's letters and other paperwork.