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"A three-machine set like this, in this condition? Not bad. Expect $1,000."
- Fact 1: Until Samuel O'Reilly adapted a Thomas Edison electric pen design in 1891, tattoos were widely applied using hand-tapped needles.
- Fact 2: The first modern electromagnetic-coil tattoo machine was patented in 1891; its mechanism, based on an electric doorbell, was so heavy it had to be suspended from the ceiling on a large spring.
- Fact 3: Tattooing, from the Tahitian "tatu", has been practiced worldwide for thousands of years, but experienced a popular Western resurgence when sailors encountered Pacific peoples starting in the 16th century.
- Fact 4: In the Western world, tattoos were traditionally considered deviant and their wearers unsavory. Over the course of the 1980s and '90s, tattoos experienced a dramatic cutural shift, becoming fashionable art pieces.
- Fact 5: Tattoo inks are made from a wide variety of non-absorbing materials, including plastics, rust, soot, and heavy metals like mercury, cadmium, zinc, and cobalt. Some states require that tattoo customers be warned of possible health effects.