According to some dedicated tattoo history research by Daredevil Tattoo co-owner Michelle Myles, the likely first permanent place of business for tattooing in the United States was that of Martin Hildebrandt over 150 years ago. Michelle notes, "Hildebrandt's 'atelier' was a few blocks southeast of the Bowery and Chatham Square, where Samuel O'Reilly later patented the first electric tattoo machine and other Bowery legends, including Charlie Wagner, worked until tattooing was banned in NYC in 1961."
That tattoo atelier was just steps away from the current location of Daredevil Tattoo, a highly respected place for tattooing today, and also, what will become a tattoo museum, which will be a resource for others to connect with that NYC's tattoo history through their collection of artifacts and documentation. Daredevil co-owner Brad Fink has been collecting tattoo memorabilia for over 20 years and has amassed a collection with items including a Thomas Edison engraving pen (that the O'Reilly patent was based on) and original O'Reilly artwork, among many other gems. But before Michelle and Brad can bring the pen and other artifacts to their museum, they need to to complete the work on the space and finish the display cases so the entire collection can be secured. They are asking for some help in doing that.
While I have a "no-Kickstarter rule" for this blog (as there are way too many requests), I'm making an exception here because this is an important project that will benefit the tattoo community overall.
On Daredevil Tattoo's NYC Museum of Tattoo History Kickstarter page, you'll find this beautiful video, embedded above, which I highly recommend watching, even if you cannot contribute, because it is so chock full of wonderful history lessons, including archival footage and a NYC tattoo history timeline. You'll also get to peak inside the Daredevil studio and growing museum space.
If you do contribute, even as little as $1, there are some fantastic perks, like beautiful prints from Daredevil's artists, tees, customized lighters, even a sideshow banner. For bigger spenders, Michelle will give you a tattoo history walk and lunch in Chinatown, along with the other perks, and for the top contribution, there's 12 hours of tattooing in the package, dinner for 6 at the chic Beauty & Essex, original artwork, and all the other goodies. Some serious swag, and for a good cause.
You can find more on it all here. But, as I said, I highly recommend you check out the video for a little learning.