Secret Facts About Tattoos

John Dietrich

Tattoos are now a part of the mainstream, but they also have a long, somewhat shadowy history. They’ve been a part of many different cultures throughout the ages, and tattoos have meant different things to people across the world. We’ve put together a list of some of the most fascinating facts about tattoos. Read on, and learn some surprising tidbits on ink!

The Oldest Tattoos Ever

The oldest known tattoos are found on the corpse of Otzi the Iceman, in 1991. He’s a naturally well-preserved mummy who was discovered in the Alps, and he has 61 tattoos total.

Otzi the Iceman Photo: Discover Magazine

What Tattoo Ink is Made Of

A lot of tattoo ink ingredients include burnt animal bones and the resin of shellac beetles. This is why, recently, there’s been a surge in vegan tattoo ink production.

Tattoo Needle Getting Ink Photo: TGN

Meaning Behind Sailors’ Tattoos

Tattoos were very popular amongst sailors, which gave rise to Sailor Jerry, at the beginning of the 20th century. A turtle, for example, was an indicator that the equator has been crossed. An anchor represented the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

Sailor Jerry Turtle Tattoo Photo: Pinterest

Tattooed Kid’s Toy Banned

At one point, a ‘Butterfly Art Barbie’ was released, with tattoo art on her abdomen. Unfortunately, it had to be discontinued because parents didn’t want their kids getting too prematurely excited about tattoos.

Barbie in a bikini Photo: Tias

Who Came Up With the Tattoo Machine

Think of one of the most renowned inventors you know. That’s right, Thomas Edison also invented the precursor to the original tattoo machine.

Thomas Edison, Inventor of the Tattoo Machine Photo: Wikimedia

Origin of the Macy’s Logo

Inspired by the founder’s days spent whaling, the Macy’s star logo was originally based on Rowland Macy’s own tattoo. This star design represents the actual star that guided him while he was at sea.

Macy's Star Logo Photo: Pinterest

That Time When Tattoos Were Illegal in New York

From 1961 to 1997, tattoos were illegal in New York City. The claim is that it was due to an outbreak of Hepatitis B, but people suspect that there were other reasons behind it.

Historic NYC, Coney Island, Tattoo Shop Storefront Photo: Gothamist

The Most Popular Tattooed Images

So, which are the most popular tattoos in the world? It turns out that they’re angel tattoos and heart tattoos. Who would have known!

Angel holding a heart tattoo Photo: Free Tattoo Designs

Are you shocked? So are we! Who knew that there was such a rich history behind tattoos and the industry. If you have any other interesting facts to share about tattoos, let us know about them in the comment section below!

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