The electric tattooing machine, which was first patented by Samuel Reilly in 1891, has become very popular since that time.  There are a great number of suppliers of tattooing accessories and machines, which are mass produced and sold in large quantities.  The drive principle, based on an electromagnet and a spring, has remained unchanged since its invention more than a hundred years ago, however.

In addition to the hammering devices with vertical movement there are also rotational machines.  The latter has a flywheel connected to an electromotor; the rotational movement is transformed into a vertical one via a shaft.  The main advantage of this is that is does not make noise, but apart from that, the electromagnetic machine is far superior.  Machines based on the rotational principle are used only by amateurs or in prison, where a cassette recorder, an electric razor or an electric toothbrush can be used as a motor.  Nevertheless, the results are often astonishingly good.

Fast Tube by Casper

In both types of machines the needle is mounted on a holder; professionals solder them, amateurs tie, cement or glue them.  The needle moves through a channel in a tube-like handle which, depending on the shape of the needle, is pointed or flattened at the end.  For professional use, this handle is lathed from surgical steel by a fitter, whereas the amateur, in contrast to this, resorts to ball-point pens, cartridge cases, straws or bent tablespoons, L-shaped holders made of wood, plastic or aluminum, held together with dough, toothpaste, chewing-gum, tar or melted plastic, or tied together with copper wiring or adhesive tape.

The pigments are obtained from soot, charred nuts, resin, the ash of incinerated animals or plants and other organic materials, and bound with alcohol, water, spit, blood or plant juices.

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