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The Tattoo Process And Significance Of Tattoos

1862 words - 7 pages

Significance of Tattoos

In the past, tattoos were commonly thought of as trashy or bad. One would often relate them to bikers, rock and heavy metal stars, pirates, or gangsters. That has considerably changed over the years. According to Swan, "In 2003 approximately 40 million Americans reported to have at least one tattoo." Today's culture is still fascinated with tattooing. In the 1990s, tattoos were the sixth fastest growing retail behind the Internet, paging services, computer and cell phone services. 28% of adult’s ages 30-39 were tattooed and that number rose to 36 percent in the 25-29 age group. 31% of the gay, lesbian and bisexual population, regardless of age, was inked as well. Tattoos are significant because they represent and symbolize different things to many people.
Erika Aldama. (2007, Febuary 8). The History of Permanent Trend. Retrieved January 13, 2008, from

The word tattoo is said to have two major origins- from the Polynesian word ‘ta’ which means striking something and the Tahitian word ‘tatau’ which means ‘to mark something’. The history of tattoo began over 5000 years ago. Many past cultures included tattoos in their tradition. Tattoos were used for different reasons such as communicating among spies, for criminals and slaves to be marked, culture, religious and ceremonial, or social status.

The first permanent tattoo shop in New York City was settled up in 1846 and began a tradition by tattooing military servicemen from both sides of the civil war. Samuel O'reilly invented the electric tattooing machine in 1891. O'Reilly's machine was based on the rotary technology of the electric engraving device invented by Thomas Edison. Modern tattoo machines use electromagnetic coils. The first coil machine was invented by Thomas Riley in London, 1891 using a single coil. The first twin coil machine, the predecessor of the modern configuration, was invented by Alfred Charles, in 1899.The birthplace of the American style tattoo was Chatham Square in New York City. Tattooing had little respect in American culture. Design boom. (2007). A Brief History of Tattoos. Retrieved January 14, 2008, from

In the late 1960s, the attitude towards tattooing changed. Much credit can be given to Lyle Tuttle. He is charming and interesting and knows how to use the media. He tattooed celebrities, mostly women. Magazines and television went to Lyle to get information about this ancient art form. Lyle Tuttle (born 1931) is a well-known American tattoo artist and historian of the medium, who has been tattooing since 1949. He was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, after having tattooed Janis Joplin and several other notable musicians and celebrities of the time.
Lyle Tuttle. (2007, June 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia....

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