History of Tattoos

Darshini Vijayakumar

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






1891: Samuel O’Reilly’s tattoo machine gets patented in New York and tattoos become more popular to the American public, but they lose their upper-class status symbol.

Early 1900’s: Tattoos are viewed as more for lower classes, and they are not advertised publicly and no regulation exists. Although tattoos are not all that common, cosmetic tattoos are decently popular among women.

1936: Life Magazine’s article shows that only 6% of the population at the time are tattooed. Individuals with tattoos commonly work at circuses, carnivals, and freak shows.

Mid-1900’s: Tattoos during this time are commonly associated with individuals such as delinquents and gang members, and a hepatitis outbreak causes the popularity of tattoos to plunge, as tattoo parlors are blamed.

1970’s: The tattoo industry witnesses its rebirth, as the surge of feminism and the hippie movement pushes more females to get tattoos and the art becomes more commonplace.

2006: A study conducted by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology finds that in America, 36% of tattooed individuals are between the ages of 18 to 29, and 24% between the ages of 18 to 50 are tattooed.

2010: A revisit of the study shows an increase of percentages, as 40% of tattooed individuals are between the ages of 18 to 29, and 36% between the ages of 18 to 50 are tattooed.