When you take a look back through time and study where tattoos originated from it is actually quite interesting. Sailors who were overseas in the Pacific Islands were actually giving themselves tattoos. From there the custom was introduced to the Europeans. This is likely about as far back as most people have any given knowledge about but it is believed that tattooing actually started in Egypt, before Egypt was even an organized society, 6,000 years ago.
Of course during the Egyptian times people were not getting tattoos to display on their bodies in the form of artwork but the earliest tattoos were given on women’s legs as a symbolic but preventative measure to avoid dangers of childbirth. From Egypt tattooing was later spread and shared with other parts of Africa, into Asia, and Pacific islands through trade lines and travelers.
Certain scientists claim that marks on the skin of the Iceman which was discovered mummified and who dated from way back in 3300 BC were tattoos and exist as the earliest evidence that tattoos existed as far back as that period. Tattoos which were more widely recognized have been found on both Egyptian and Nubian mummies from 2000 B.C onwards.
Ever since this period, different cultures have used the art of tattooing in one form or another for different purposes. Some of the purposes of tattooing include religious and superstitious reasons. Others have chosen to bear tattoos for historical reasons. Tattoos have also been more than an indication of such reasons and have also played a role as symbols of pride. Polynesians allowed both men and women to bear tattoos but in various other cultures only men were allowed to bear tattoos. In Japan the art of tattooing even goes back earlier than the period it was discovered in the West and was used for various purposes.
The first electric tattoo machine was first invented by Thomas Edison in 1876 which was actually supposed to be an electric engraver. Ironically, years later it began the revolution of tattooing. From there the machines just began to become more and more advanced and profound. From Edison’s original blueprints, a man named Samuel O’Reilly created the electric pen which was also a huge advancement towards how tattoos were given.
The machine which is usually in use nowadays was made by Charlie Wagner and it is a dual coil reciprocating engraver specifically made for tattooing. Modern circuses always have one show or the other where a man or woman covered in tattoos is on display. This also played a role in what contributed to the history of tattoos in America.
In 787 AD Pope Hadrian was said to have banned the practice of tattooing and from that period onwards, history has recorded one controversy or the other as far as tattoos were concerned. Hepatitis outbreaks have been blamed on tattoos and the practice has been associated with everything from criminals to sailors.
Millennia after the origin of tattoos, they are becoming less taboo and more accepted. A lot of tattooing studios and institutions are opening up and providing services to various individuals.