The History of Tattooing


Tattooing is by no means a modern trend. Tattoos are an ancient tradition in several parts of the world and discoveries have helped to show the true age of tattooing. The discovery in 1991 of a frozen body known as Otzi the ice man has further deepened our understanding of tattooing and its age. Born in around the year 3,300 BC, Otzi’s skin held 57 tattoos, mostly lines and other designs, proving that tattoos are at least 5,000 years old.

The popularity of tattoos as a cultural adornment is most well known to herald from Polynesia and the surrounding areas. Early Polynesian tattoos are known to be incredibly intricate works that are started around the early teens and continue throughout life until the entire body is covered in the design. These are seen as the real birthplace of tattoos as a feature in popular culture and are the origin of the still extremely popular tribal designs.

Tattoos made their way to Europe and on to the rest of the world when early explorers sailed to Asia and Polynesia and first encountered heavily tattooed tribes. Many of these European sailors inevitably took some of this art home with them on their own skin and started a demand for tattoos in Europe that has gathered pace ever since.

Tattooing was at first a lengthy and extremely painful affair that involved several needles of different types and thicknesses being hammered into the skin. In 1876 Thomas Edison invented an electric pen that was originally meant as a copy device, in 1891 though Samuel O’Reilly discovered this pen could be used to deliver ink to the skin and patented a tube and needle system to provide an ink reservoir. This was the birth of the modern tattoo machine and the design has not drastically changed since.

Once tattoos could be applied quickly and with greater precision they really took off as an art form, designs developed and tattooists really honed their craft into a genuine art form. Tattoos are now more popular than ever and one fifth of Britons sports a tattoo of some sort. It is now possible to get almost anything tattooed onto your skin, no matter how complex the design there will be an artist out there with the talent to transfer it to your skin.

There are now thousands of tattoo parlors up and down Britain that thrive on providing you with exactly what you want. Here at Body Shock we provide these tattoo studios with the highest quality tattoo supplies to make sure that all of your tattoos are performed hygienically and with the best possible equipment and inks.