Samuel O'Reilly

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Samuel F. O'Reilly
Inventor-of-Tattoo-machine-Samuel-OReilly.jpg
BornMay 1854
DiedApril 29, 1909(1909-04-29) (aged 54)
OccupationTattoo artist
Known forInvented the rotary tattoo machine

Samuel F. O’Reilly (May 1854 - 29 April 1909) was an American tattoo artist from New York, who patented the first electric tattoo machine on December 8, 1891.[1][2]

Biography[edit]

O’Reilly was born in Waterbury, New Haven County, Connecticut to Irish immigrants Thomas O’Reilly and Mary Ann Hurley in May 1854.[3]

He began tattooing in New York around the mid-1880s.[4] O'Reilly's machine was based on the rotary technology of Thomas Edison's autographic printing pen.[5] Although O'Reilly held the first patent for an electric tattoo machine, tattoo artists had been experimenting with and modifying a variety of different machines prior to the issuance of the patent. O'Reilly's first pre-patent tattoo machine was a modified dental plugger, which he used to tattoo several dime museum attractions for exhibition between the years 1889 and 1891.[6] From the late 1880s on, tattoo machines continually evolved into the modern tattoo machine.[7] O'Reilly first owned a shop at #5 Chatham Square on the New York Bowery. In 1904, he moved to #11 Chatham Square when the previous tenant, tattoo artist Elmer Getchell, left the city.[8] Charles Wagner was allegedly apprenticed to O'Reilly and later assumed ownership of his #11 Chatham Square shop.[9]

On April 29, 1909, Samuel O'Reilly fell while painting his house and died.[10] He is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY.[11]

In popular culture[edit]

Samuel O'Reilly was featured in the Mysteries at the Museum episode "Edison's Electric Pen, Vanishing Carroll Deering, Lizard Man" which aired on August 15, 2013.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tattoo Machine | Everything You Need To Know (Updated)". Maestro Tattoo. Retrieved 2021-07-05.
  2. ^ "Samuel F. O'Reilly". Buzzworthy Tattoo History. Retrieved 2015-10-21.
  3. ^ "Samuel F. O'Reilly". Buzzworthy Tattoo History (in Spanish). Retrieved 2015-10-21.
  4. ^ "Samuel F. O'Reilly". Buzzworthy Tattoo History. Retrieved 2015-10-21.
  5. ^ "Starlight Tattoo: Tattoo History". Archived from the original on 2007-11-12. Retrieved 2007-09-17.
  6. ^ "Early Tinkerers of Electric Tattooing". Buzzworthy Tattoo History. Retrieved 2015-10-21.
  7. ^ "Early Tinkerers of Electric Tattooing". Buzzworthy Tattoo History. Retrieved 2015-10-21.
  8. ^ "Early Tinkerers of Electric Tattooing". Buzzworthy Tattoo History. Retrieved 2015-10-21.
  9. ^ Vanishing Tattoo – history
  10. ^ Tattoo Archive
  11. ^ Irish America
  12. ^ "Edison's Electric Pen, Vanishing Carroll Deering, Lizard Man". Travel Channel. Retrieved 2018-12-12.