Today, the streets of cities like Boston and New York swarm with tattoo parlors, but few realize these are extremely recent developments. Many states took the extreme measure of banning tattoos entirely during the 1960s, when the hysteria of hepatitis outbreaks reached critical mass. It was illegal to get a tattoo in New York City between 1961 and 1997, forcing artists to operate on an underground basis. In Massachusetts, tattooing was illegal all the way up until 2000, with severe penalties including possible jail sentences. Today, all states allow tattooing, although the rules for minors vary from state to state—some allow kids to get inked with parental permission while others require waiting until 18, no exceptions.
New Zealand’s Roger Ingerton moved to Sydney, Australia in 1957, and tattooed with hand tools around the local pubs and for a time in his living accommodation.
He also started to get tattooed by Australian tattooing legend Alex Chater as well as getting worked on by Sailor Bill – on the veranda of Bill’s home studio in Liverpool Street, Paddington (Sydney) – And in Melbourne, Roger got tattooed by possibly one of the best Australian tattoo artists of his day – and that was Dick Reynolds – who was known for tattooing completely freehand with out drawing the design on first, or having to use a stencil.
2. The people of the Micronesia Islands believed that if they were not tattooed they would not be allowed to enter the next world after death, and this is what the Inuit (Eskimo) people also believed.
3. The Inuit (Eskimo) people would tattoo themselves, in much the same way, as one would darn a sock – with a thread that would be dipped in ink and pulled through the skin like stitching. Their tattoos would consist of lines and cross’s and in some cases tattooed completely from knee to groin as well as on the arms and thighs.
4. In the Islands of Samoa in the South Pacific there are (were) three goddesses of tattooing – Taema and sisters Sina and Sena.
5. The word in Japanese for tattoo is Irezumi – which roughly translates, tattooing for punishment.
6. Hawaiian people used to tattoo their tongue with dots when a loved one passed away as a state of mourning.
7. Henry J Topping who was once the husband of film star Lana Turner, had both his arms tattooed, and not only was being married to Miss Turner one of his claims to fame, he was also at one time the proud joint owner of the New York Yankees baseball team.
8. Thomas Lipton (later Sir Thomas) had a tattoo of a sailing yacht tattooed on his chest. Lipton of course was the famous British tea merchant.
9. During the Second World War, the King of Norway Haakon VII relocated to England so he could lead his countries war effort through exile. And while he was in London he was tattooed by one of the capitals finest tattooers Tom Riley, who did the tattooing at 432 The Strand.
10. Tattoo Jack of Liverpool, England worked in Boaler Street in the 1940’s and was believed to have been the first tattoo artist in England to use other peoples designs. British tattooers of the time usually only tattooed on designs they drew themselves.
11. Hugh O’Brian tough guy actor and star of over 45 feature films and is best loved, for his role in the television series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. Had a skull and cross bones tattoo on the inside of his right forearm, which he got when he was in the US Marine Corps.
12. In June of 1914 Irish woman Queenie Morris appeared as a tattooed lady with both legs and arms completely covered in tattoos at London’s Earls Court – Her tattooist was the famed Prof. Joseph Kilbride.
13. In 1966 Huck Spaulding of the Spaulding and Rogers tattoo supply company fame stated that there would be a tattoo shop on every street corner one day. And now in the year 2005 there are more tattoo studios then ever before.
14. Wally Hammond famed Australian tattoo artist, passed away on the 7th of September 1992 in Noosa on the Sunshine State. Wally was one of the first to set up a professional tattooing shop on the Kings Cross of Sydney, New South Wales and was indeed a tattoo artist who many other tattoo artists looked up to.
15. Dickie Reynolds who tattooed for fifty years in Melbourne, Australia before retiring in 1985, is thought to be one of the longest serving tattoo artists in Australian tattooing history…
16. In Perth, Western Australia in 1960 there was only one tattoo artist and his name was Bob Thornton.
17. Betty Cusko of Australia was a heavily tattooed female who featured in the Kobel photograph collection of the 1950’s. It is not known if she worked the sideshow circuits.
18. South London tattoo artist, England’s B
Ten more tattooing facts
1…Roman Emperor Caeser wrote that all Briton’s stain their skins with woad, and Herod of Antioch found that the Briton’s had animal designs incised onto their bodies.
2…The Pict’s of Scotland also painted their bodies in blue woad and in some cases many believe that they were also tattooed.
3…In A.D.325 Emperor Constantine the Great, banned facial tattoos among Christian’s living in the Roman Empire. As it disfigured what was fashioned in God’s image. And in 787AD the British council of churches at Calcuth, Northumberland – under the direction of the second council of Nicaea (the Seventh Ecumenical Council of Christianity) – banned all body markings as a pagan practice.
4…Tattoos are generally regarded as marks that sailors have done, which of course is perfectly true. For in the days before overseas holidays, sailors would bring home souvenirs of travel – in rather the same way as one would bring home a gift today. And for sailors in a bygone age, a tattoo would be the souvenir of a well-travelled man.
5…In the journal of British settler John Smith (1579-1631) he recorded of how he became a settler in Virginia of the USA and of how he was captured by Indians and just as he was about to be put to death he was saved by a thirteen year old girl called Pocahontas, and not only was he saved he was subsequently adopted by the tribe. And in his writings, he also told of the body mark tattoos that the Indian’s of Virginia decorated their bodies with. Consisting of black spots on their arms, legs and face’s.
6… In the autobiography ‘So You Can’ (published in 2001) from Japanese lawyer Mitsuyo Ohira, she writes ‘it is never to late to start over’. Starting with a childhood that saw her bullied by kids at school, becoming so bad that it prompted a suicide bid at the age of 14, by the act of Hara-Kiri no less. And where at the tender age of 16 saw her married to a Yakuza crime lord. The painful leaving behind of the child that she had at 19, after she turned her back on her then life to start a new one, and the hardships she has faced in turning it all around to become a top Lawyer in her country. Her book ‘So You Can’ has sold over 2 million copies and she became the deputy-mayor of the Osaka region of Tokyo in 2003. But what is probably more surprising to a lot of people is that Mitsuyo has a full Japanese tattoo back piece and when she was once asked if she was going to get rid of her tattoos (in a magazine article) – She was quoted as saying ‘It’s possible to erase them of course. But even if I do so, it’s not going to change anything. The past will not run a different course because I got rid of my tattoos. Changing the surface doesn’t change what is underneath. I’ll keep my tattoos until I die’.
7… In issue 72 of July 1991’s DC Marvel comic ‘Avengers West coast – Irezumi The Tattoo Spirit’ Stan Lee presented the main feature (strip) entitled ‘CHAOS and CHRYSANTHEMUMS’. In which the strip has in it the Ironman doing battle with the Japanese Mafia, the Yakuza. Of course there was the totally tattooed Yakuza member, who went by the name (you’ve guessed it) Irezumi (the Japanese name for tattoo). But it wasn’t the man who fights – it is the man’s tattoos that gave the Ironman a bit of a bashing (the tattoos depict the essence of whatever they are up against). So to fight Irezumi you had to fight the tattoos first. This DC comic has a painted cover of a man with tattoos of Marvel comic hero’s tattooed on him. Priced at (in 1991) a dollar US – $1.25 Canada and 60p in the UK.
8…Keen Manchester United soccer fan Shaun Southwick was so besotted with his team that in 2000 he had all of the clubs 64 honour's tattooed on his back.
9…On the 16th of February 2000 in Glasgow, Scotland – a man tried to trick police into thinking that they were questioning his brother, forgetting that his real name was tattooed across his knuckles.
10…Back in the days of pop group ‘Take That’ Robbie William