Brief history of Tattooing in America

Tattoos have been a part of American culture for centuries, and the history of American tattooing is a fascinating one. From the early days as a mark of tribal identity to the current status as a popular form of self-expression, tattoos have played an important role in American history. The practice of tattooing has been around for thousands of years, with evidence of tattooing dating back to ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. However, it wasn’t until the 1700s that tattoos began to gain popularity in America. The first tattoos in America were brought over by sailors and seamen, who often had tattoos that represented their travels and experiences at sea. Sailors would often get tattoos of anchors, ships, and nautical stars, which became popular symbols of their profession. It was also the origin of what today we call American traditional tattoos. By the late 1800s, tattoos had become more mainstream in America, with tattoo parlors opening up in major cities. However, tattoos were still seen as taboo and were often associated with criminals and outcasts. The turning point for tattoos in America came in 1891, when Samuel O’Reilly invented the electric tattoo machine. This invention made it easier and quicker to apply tattoos, and as a result, tattoos became more accessible to the general public. In the early 1900s, tattoos became a popular form of entertainment, with tattooed performers traveling the country and performing in sideshows and circuses. However, tattoos still faced a stigma in mainstream society, and it wasn’t until the 1960s and 70s that tattoos began to gain more acceptance. The counterculture movement of the 1960s and 70s saw tattoos become a symbol of rebellion and self-expression. People began getting tattoos as a way to express their individuality and reject mainstream culture. Today, tattoos are more popular than ever, with people from all walks of life getting art. Tattoos are no longer seen as taboo especially in urban cities and many people view them as a form of art and personal expression. While tattoos still face some stigma in certain parts of society, they have become more accepted and mainstream than ever before. Personally I miss the stares and finger pointing that we used to get for being heavily tattooed.

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