Love them or hate them, tattoos are as popular now as they have ever been, and people are constantly finding new and creative ways to produce unique ink designs that will last a lifetime. However, did you know that the tattoo machine itself is not only another American invention, but it also shares an inventor with one of the most iconic breakthrough inventions of all time?
The creator of the first electric pen, intended to be used for duplicating designs, was invented by none other than Thomas Edison, creator of the modern light bulb, in 1876. Four years later, it was discovered that modifying the pen allowed it to inject ink into skin to create a tattoo. Although similar experiments had been done already by tattoo artists, businessman Samuel O’Reilly patented the necessary modification for the first time and began a successful tattoo business in New York in 1891. Continue Reading