The 3 Greatest Moments in Body Tattoo History
Getting tattooed… a tale as old as time. Well, ok maybe not but at least as old as whenever it was that one brilliant Homo sapien made a pointy tool. Carbon-dating has revealed 5000-year-old mummies with ink. Do you know what that means? For thousands of years, people all over the world have shared one unifying thought, “Why did I get that tattoo there?” For an aesthetic that isn’t completely mainstream, tattooing the body is one of womankind’s (and mankind’s) most ancient practices. Artifacts have been discovered from nearly every civilization throughout history: Egyptian, Inuit, Nubian, Libyan, Siberian, Greek, Roman, Chinese, Japanese, Columbian and many more. Tattoos were used for therapeutic purposes, fertility and birthing purposes, protection, to indicate social status, and as a form of religious worship. And while the modern ink industry is male-dominated, prior to the early 300s B.C. body tattoos were placed primarily on women.
Here are the 3 greatest moments in the history of body tattoo:
- 1450 B.C. –First modern tattoo tool. A bronze implement with wood handle was discovered in Gurob in Northern Egypt. Carbon-dating reveals that the tool is more than three thousand years old. While this is the first recovered artifact, mummies that date back 5,200 years have been excavated with distinct tattoos on the body. Archeologists theorize that the earliest practices of body tattoos served therapeutic purposes based on the placement of the tattoos on the body.
- 1876– Thomas Alva Edison receives a patent for his invention of the first electric pen meant for autographic printing. Edison’s invention inspired Samuel F. O’Reilly to slap a tube and needle on it and voila! First modern tattoo gun! Thomas Riley and Alfred Charles soon after modified the concept to use electromagnetic technology giving birth to the technology of today.
- 1958– Gordon Gould proposes the concept of Q-switching. Three years later Robert W. Hellwarth and F.J. McClung demonstrated the practical use of Q-switching in a ruby laser. And behold, the greatest moment in tattoo history… tattoo removal technology! Since the beginning of time, people have been forced to live with ink regret. Thanks to Hellwarth and McClung, tattoos don’t mean forever. The first technology used Q-switching that generated light pulses in terms of nanoseconds. Allowing pigments in the skin to be broken up and then naturally cleared out by the body. But alas, always looking for bigger and better, in 2013 the world was introduced to lasers that were capable of producing light pulses in terms of picoseconds. The higher the repetition speed the better the laser is at breaking up the pigments of tattoos. And unlike our ancestors we get to ink ourselves with the entire rainbow and not just dark browns and blacks. Currently, the Picosure laser- that uses light pulses in terms of picoseconds- is the most highly advanced technology for removing tattoos.
Suffering from some ink regret? Come experience the Picosure laser at Millefiori Medical Skin Rejuvenation in downtown Melbourne, FL. A tattoo doesn’t have to mean forever.
Lineberry, Cate. Tattoos: the ancient & mysterious history. 2007. Smithsonian.com. Obtained on June 5, 2015 from
Tattoo Today. Tattoo Machine. Tattoo Today. Obtained on June 5, 2015 from http://www.tattootoday.co.uk/tattoo-
O’Reilly, Samuel F.. Tattooing Machine. 1891. United States Patent Office. Obtained on June 5, 2015 from