Results tagged “Tattoo machine”

07:47 AM
Oreilly tattoo patent.pngOn this day in 1891, Samuel O'Reilly patented his electric "tattooing-machine", unknowingly creating a big future for quick and easy bad tattoo decision making. If there was a tattoo version of Back to the Future, taking out O'Reilly in the past could mean that young girls don't get dumb Rihanna tattoos today. Something to think about.

In honor of this legal anniversary, I picked some headlines that touch upon tattoo law:

Tattoos are often the source of controversy at criminal trials -- particularly when they are sought to be used as evidence of guilt. I wrote a post last year --  "Tattoos at Trial" -- noting a number of cases that have dealt with this issue.

In recent news, a teardrop tattoo led an innocent man to 16 years in prison for multiple rape charges as victims described their attacker as having the same tattoo. Recently exonerated, Luis Lorenzo Vargas said that he got his now faded teardrop tattoo when he was 13 to "fit in" with neighborhood kids. Vargas appealed his conviction a number of times but "it was not until the California Innocence Project urged authorities to test DNA evidence that he was vindicated."

On the flip side, a judge in Maine decided that a photo of a victim's tattoo would not be shown to jurors as it could prejudice jurors. The victim, Ricky Cole, had a "RIP" tattoo across his neck. Lawyers for Jason Cote, the man accused of bludgeoning Cole with a pipe, argued that this tattoo put Cole in fear of his life. The judge ruled that the photo wouldn't be used because "it implied Cole's involvement with the criminal justice system and would suggest to the jury that Cole had a propensity to violence."

In Germany, prosecutors are investigating whether a man violated the country's ban of the public display of Nazi symbols by appearing at a swimming pool with a tattoo of the Auschwitz death camp on his back. According to the Times of Israel, the prosecutors' spokesperson Lolita Lodenkaemper said that "another bather took a photo of the tattoo, which also carried the slogan from the Buchenwald concentration camp's gate, 'Jedem das Seine' -- 'to each his own' -- at a pool in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, on November 21. She says that having such a tattoo is legal but showing it publicly could be considered incitement."

03:21 PM
symbeos rotary.jpgI often get asked what's the main thing behind tattooing's popularity today: TV shows? Fashion? Beckham?

I truly believe that it's the incredible artistic heights that we are seeing now in the craft. Maybe Rihanna's midnight tattoo sessions on TMZ play a part, but in the end, I have faith that beauty and art win out over all.

This level of artistry today is the product of certain key components: readily available information--largely via the Internet; the development of fine art skills of tattooers; and the advancement of materials and tools.

It's the tools and how they have evolved that I find particularly fascinating and cool. And so, when Eikon Device approached us about being a Needles & Sins sponsor, and spreading the word about the Symbeos Rotary Tattoo System, I thought it was a great fit.

In creating the Symbeos Rotary Tattoo System, with HM Tools & Dye, Eikon made the first ever rotary tattoo machine with the adaptability of a coil machine. The lightweight and versatile system features one machine body and a system of interchangeable components, which allows tattoo artists to make quick and easy changes to suit the machine to one's particular needs. Essentially, in this one Symbeos system, is the diverse functionality of many machines.
I hear rumors that the Symbeos Rotary Tattoo System also makes tasty fruit smoothies; however, I could only confirm from Eikon that it allows you to do the following:
  • Easily make changes without risking your current machine setup.
  • Switch out your motor to change the speed and torque.
  • Swap out your slide to adjust the give.
  • Change the stroke wheel to adjust the stroke length.
Testimonials from well-respected tattoo artists, including Horimatsu and Daemon Rowanchilde, affirm that the Symbeos Rotary Tattoo System lives up to its reputation. For example, in this video, Daemon explains to a client that the Symbeos is "gentlest, easiest to control machine ever," and also notes how a more refined machine like the Symbeos means that there will be the less irritation on the skin.

The Symbeos Rotary Tattoo System is available as a Deluxe or a Flex and is ready to tattoo -- right out of the box. Add extra Symbeos Machine Bodies to either System and build an arsenal of Symbeos Rotary Tattoo machines at a fraction of the cost of an industry standard rotary tattoo machine.
Find out more here:
11:09 AM
I think it's fairly safe to say that we'd have no bio-mechanical movement in tattooing if it weren't for the art of H.R. Giger, so it only seems fitting that he's paid homage to the art-form with his "Tattoo Mechanoid" sculpture and ring.

Both pieces are based on a 2001 drawing from his series "The Professionals" the 5"x6" sculpture features a hand clutching a 2.5" sterling silver tattoo machine, which it's ready to apply to its own leg (an time-old tradition of any apprentice or fledgling tattooist).  Cast in brass and finished with an acid bath for a unique finish, the sculpture sits atop a 6"x6"x1" base which features Giger's distinctive Alien Crest and an etching of his signature.  The pieces are available in a limited edition of 500.

For those who would rather wear this beautiful image, there's also a one-size-fits-all ring, cast in sterling silver.

TattooBiomechanoidRing.jpegBoth of these very cool pieces are available in the web-store at

12:35 PM
toy tattoo machine.jpg Over at Complex Mag, from western cedar.

Woodworker Michael Riley of Arkansas created these toys, which measure 6 inches long by 3 inches wide, to hold most types of crayons. He also does custom orders should you, say, opt for a rotary than coil machine. The handmade awesomeness is only $20 plus shipping.

I plan on buying a bunch for my friends' little girls to replace their Princess Barbies and get them started on their art careers early.
07:43 PM
Photo by Edgar Hoill

Today is the 120th anniversary of Samuel O'Reilly's electric tattoo machine, patented in 1891. As noted in this post, the New York tattooist's invention is "based on the design for Thomas Edison's autographic printer, which was essentially a motorized engraving tool [which] sped up the process of tattooing while vastly improving the quality of the final product."

The Tattoo Archive has an extensive article on the machine's history. They also have cool posters for sale with the original patent text and illustrations (shown below).

Also check Jinx Boo's writing on the electric machine (and her entire blog if you haven't).

[ link via the Hope Gallery Blog.]

12:03 PM
norm tattoo.jpg
Custom machines by tattoo & graffiti artist NORM of Will Rise Studio in LA are featured on Designboom today. The post includes a video of Norm discussing how he came to tattoo and his interest in building machines, from a "hunk of shit metal, ugly thing" to a tool that makes art. And you'll find more photos including those of  his tattoo work and shop.

Thanks to Nick Schonberger for the link.

norm machine.jpg
11:11 AM
In the words of Notorious B.I.G.: "If you don't know, now you know."

Tattoo machine graphic by Myra Phan via Gizmodo.
01:23 PM
tatto machine.jpgAs I'm going through the tattoo news, I found this article in The Oregonian, which looks at Jeff Johnson, co-owner of The Sea Tramp Tattoo Co.-- the oldest tattoo studio in Portland.

But the article is less about the shop and more about Jeff's recently published book, Tattoo Machine: Tall Tales, True Stories, and My Life in Ink

I'm seriously looking forward to curling up to Jeff's memoir of his tattoo life because, word is, the artist knows how to tell a story, from shop pranks to tattooing a suspected serial killer.

The Oregonian says:  "There's talk that Tattoo Machine could do for tattooing what Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential did for the restaurant business -- take a snappy, irreverent look at something people are curious about but don't really understand."

You can order the book on for $16.50.

Or even better, if you're in Portland, pick it up at one of Jeff's readings:

Hopefully, I'll get to a proper review of my copy very soon.  Ok, the news is up next.
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