A Short Glance at the History of Tattoo Machines – Part Two

02/06/2011 14:02

Then there came Thomas Riley, who made out one set of tattoo machines with a single coil operated to work by electromagnets, got his invention just twenty days after O’Reily patented his machine.


When 1899, Alfred Charles Smith, another smart guy in London, doubles the coil in tattoo machines, which lead to the close prototype of today’s devices. The first version of this two- coil electromagnet tattoo machine is very heavy, it can be no exaggeration to say that while working they sometimes need to be fixed onto the ceiling of the tattoo studio and then hung down to the tattoo artists for work.


In the next 200 years, tattoo machines basically maintain the original design and the appearance, which, around 1929, had then been slightly improved and developed by Percy Waters; an American lived in Detroit, who promoted the tattoo machines and set them in the tune of the modern way.


Although the set that Waters modified was with two coils in line with the tattoo machine frame, Waters had done a lot of other different changes to tattoo machines, such as on and off switch and spark shield. Due to his various modifications, he was the very first inventor who promoted tattoo machines into large market.


Fifty years later from then, in 1979, Carol Nightingale from Washington D.C. got his tattoo machine patented. He made full adjustments of coils, back spring mount and contact screw, as well as angled armature bar and so on.


With deeper development of technique, tattoo machines got more artistic precision and the control of speed and needle depth. In recent 2000, revolutionary pneumatic tattoo machines were invented by Carson Hill, which using air to work instead of electromagnets, to make the needle penetrating more smoothly.


You could say tattoo machines have gone through many modifications during these hundreds of years. However, no matter how many modifications they’ve been undergone, they will never suits each tattoo artist’s demand and individual application , because tattoo practice is personal, so as the tattoo machines. There could never be an end of continuing designs towards tattoo machines, and in America and Europe there are still many tattoo artists working on new inventions of tattoo machines, though not each time is an improvement, but the search goes on.