History of SPEX Forensics

History of SPEX Forensics

Posted on: Jul 04, 2017

When we started making forensic products back in 1993, it was just one product for a specific customer. It seemed like a small idea for a big company who had spent the better part of a century making equipment for academia. But with that first shipment we began to realize the forensic community had a definite need for a more versatile light source.  We then developed the CrimeScope CS-16-10 and the first Mini-CrimeScope the MCS-10 and they were becoming popular.

First marketing image of the CrimeScope CS-5000

In 1995 SPEX Forensics won its first major contract for 48 CrimeScope's CS-16-10 (the 300W unit with 24 filters) from the National Police Agency of Japan to equip all their major laboratories.  The MCS-10 started to catch on for its ease of use, and due to the popularity of both units we then took the next step.

Some of the CrimeScope CS-16-10 for the NPA

In January 1997, SPEX Forensics was formed as its own division within the company. The division consisted of only four people back then. But soon we started to grow, innovating all the way.  We started the development of what would eventually turn out to be our most popular light source, the Mini-CrimeScope 400.

Tom and George at their first IAI in 1997

In 1998 SPEX Forensics shipped seventy-one of the Mini-CrimeScope 400W  units to the FBI (for all Evidence Response Teams).  The MCS-400 configuration included White light, UV, a high power filter for crime scene searching and several other filters for specific applications.  A new, light-weight, carrying case was designed to allow agents to fly anywhere with the Mini-CrimeScope MCS-400 as a carry-on or checked-in luggage.  A sample product was first evaluated for many criteria and compared with other brands.  We are proud of having the FBI as a major customer as the award of this contract proved the reliability, and performance of our instruments.  (Note: As a Federal Agency the FBI cannot and will not endorse any particular brand.)

The 71 MCS-400s just before they shipped in Dec. 1998

Durability Test by our technician Ed.  A 37 year employee,
Ed built nearly every MCS-400 and continues to build the 
current MCS-ADV.


As the years passed we refined our initial offerings, all the while listening to the community; we learned.  In the process, we gained a reputation as the premier manufacturer of Forensic Light Sources shipping thousands of light sources worldwide. Eventually we expanded the product line with RUVIS, then Imaging Systems, and eventually our own AFIS system.

In 2001 the French Gendarmerie purchased 26 of the MCS-400 Crime Scene units after another long process of competitive comparison.

In 2002, the FBI purchased another 70 Mini-CrimeScopes for their Evidence Response Teams.  As before the MCS-400 was compared with other brands of alternate light sources.  And as before, the Mini-CrimeScope proved itself to be the brightest and easiest to use, as well as providing the most uniform illumination spot.  Essentially the unit hadnt changed much, it had a new silkscreen.  And the case changed as well, we updated the look with the inclusion of our patch logo.  As before, the bag was tested with a one-meter drop onto a concrete surface.  As with the original bag the unit survived unscathed.  (Note: As a Federal Agency the FBI cannot and still will not endorse any particular brand.)

Also in 2002, the Italian Carabinieri purchased 107 Mini-CrimeScope 400's and 30 SceneScope UV Imagers.  

In the early part of the century the Mini-CrimeScope 400 became the standard crime scene forensic light source for the state of Illinois with their purchase of 38 units, and the Kentucky State Police purchased 17 MCS-400 for use in and out of their state labs.

In 2009 the National Police Agency of Japan purchased another 51 CrimeScopes, but by this time it was the updated, even more powerful CS-16-500W.  They were still using the original 48 CS-16-10's but were looking to purchase newer technology.  After the evaluation of the major Forensic Light Sources available, they again chose the CrimeScope Series, the unit proving yet again, it is the “Ultimate Forensic Light Source”.

In 2017 SPEX Forensics celebrates its 20th Anniversary by releasing the first LED light source that performs like a true Forensic Light Source, the HandScope LED.

24 of the HandScope LED shipped to the Royal Thai Police
Shipped in August, 2018

We would like to thank all of our customers over the years, for their trust and partnership in making SPEX Forensics a success; and for all the hard, crucial work they do for the public good.

We are proud to be their partners.