Tattoos 1870 To Today: Evolution Of Ink

21inkedd in Stories

Tattooing has existed for thousands of years. In places such as Irezumi in Japan, Ta Moko in New Zealand and and the Pe'a and Malu in Samoa.

There are of course countless other forms of traditional tattooing. Though tattooing as we know it today began around 1870, western tattooing as it is often called strays from traditional tribal tattooing with its use of electric machines, the first purpose built one coming in around 1891. Since then western tattooing has largely stayed the same, but of course in modern tattooing there exists better equipment, inks, artists and designs. But looking back over the history of western tattooing once can see modern tattooing has stayed true to its roots though more recently tattooing has really started pushing the artistic boundaries of what can be tattooed!!! For your viewing pleasure here are a collection of images, tattoos and designs covering the past 145 years of western tattooing!

Maud Vagner, an early 20th century circus performer and America's first female tattoo artist!
Maud Vagner, an early 20th century circus performer and America's first female tattoo artist!
Gus Wagner, Maud's husband was also a performer and tattoo artist
Gus Wagner, Maud's husband was also a performer and tattoo artist
La Bella Agnora, German circus performer
La Bella Agnora, German circus performer
Beautiful 1920s flash
Beautiful 1920s flash
George Kerns, sailor 1920s
George Kerns, sailor 1920s

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Traditional tattooing at its best
Traditional tattooing at its best
Evolution of ink
Evolution of ink
Awesome 1940s tattoos here!
Awesome 1940s tattoos here!
Some great 1940s flash
Some great 1940s flash
Bob Shaw circa 1940s
Bob Shaw circa 1940s
Tattoo legend Sailor Jerry played a huge role in 20th century tattooing!!
Tattoo legend Sailor Jerry played a huge role in 20th century tattooing!!
Sailor Jerry flash ship design
Sailor Jerry flash ship design
Sailor Jerry flash still inspires tattoos today!
Sailor Jerry flash still inspires tattoos today!
Sailor Jerry at work!
Sailor Jerry at work!
More awesome Sailor Jerry flash
More awesome Sailor Jerry flash
Ron Ackers at work, Bristol, Great Britain, 1950
Ron Ackers at work, Bristol, Great Britain, 1950
The brilliant 1950s style
The brilliant 1950s style
Different heart tattoo designs
Different heart tattoo designs
A snippet of 1970s tattooing
A snippet of 1970s tattooing
pulsating-paula-1970s-1980s-biker-babe-tattoo
pulsating-paula-1970s-1980s-biker-babe-tattoo
1980s Bob Roberts tattooing a back piece
1980s Bob Roberts tattooing a back piece
What was more rock than 1980s tattooing?
What was more rock than 1980s tattooing?
The late 80s and early 90s saw the rise of the celebrity tattoo like never before!
The late 80s and early 90s saw the rise of the celebrity tattoo like never before!
If only she knew...
If only she knew...

Now lets make this painful part of tattooing go quick...

...
...
At one time tribal was the way to go for any one wanting a tattoo!!
At one time tribal was the way to go for any one wanting a tattoo!!

Thankfully tattooing soon moved on!

The artists that captured our hearts and global attention!
The artists that captured our hearts and global attention!
Is geometric replacing the tribal??
Is geometric replacing the tribal??
Current artists like Nikko Hurtado show how far tattooing has come...even from only a decade ago!!!
Current artists like Nikko Hurtado show how far tattooing has come...even from only a decade ago!!!
Current artists are always pushing boundaries with their work... Trash Polka anyone?
Current artists are always pushing boundaries with their work... Trash Polka anyone?
Acceptance of tattoos in mainstream media has also grown!
Acceptance of tattoos in mainstream media has also grown!

21inkedd

@Robert Davies

Tattoodo Staff Writer and tattoo enthusiast. Lover of all things traditional and blackwork!

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