The History Of Tattooing… Ok Well Not All Of It


As cool as it would be to sit here and tell you the entire back story to tattoos, (and tattoos on backs HAHA! See what I did there?) it would take far too long. But tattooing itself does have some very awesome history. I’ll cover some of it here but definitely encourage you to read some books or watch some documentaries on it, if that is what you are into.

A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…

Egyptian mummy tattoos

Tattooing goes back thousands and thousands of years. Historians estimate roughly 5,000 years or so in ancient Egypt. Tattoos were discovered on both men and women from about the same time the pyramids were being built. Now, it’s fair to say that we aren’t talking about the best artists in the world here. They were very simplistic designs made with very rudimentary methods. However, as advanced of a culture as the Egyptians were, it comes as no surprise that they are some of the first documented cases of body modifications.

More Than Sushi

Japanese tattooing

Sushi is one of the great contributions of Japan, however they also greatly contributed to tattooing. In the early 19th century many sailors would return from over seas covered in tattoos collected in the East. At the time, many of these were applied using a stick-and-poke method (fucking OUCH!). Needles may be constructed out of various materials, and designs were applied one poke at a time. However, the art work was beautiful and Japanese styled tattoos are some of the most popular artworks of today.

More Power!

First Tattoo Machine

In the late 1800’s Sam O’Reilly invented the electric tattoo machine and we all thank him for that. This replaced so many different methods of applying tattoos. You owe this man your gratitude. Now, this still wasn’t as fast or effective as today’s machines, but the man was a fucking pioneer. However, Percy Waters was the one who came along and created many different versions of tattoo machines.

The Nifty Fifties

1950's Tattoos

While it became fashionable in the 20’s to have tattoos, the Great Depression kind of changed that. After that time only whores and slags got tattoos. But it was in the 1950’s when artists really began to emerge and take tattooing to new levels. Artists began borrowing inspiration from other cultures such as Polynesia to style their work. And it was also in the 50’s that we saw the first tattoo convention.

Back To The Future

Now, I could go on and on and tell you about all the other cultures that practiced tattooing and the meanings behind their designs, but we’ll save that for another time. For now, get on in to Electric Eye Tattoo in Sapulpa and schedule some work!


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