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Samuel O'Reilly

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O'Reilly (May, 1854 – April 29, 1909) was a New York tattoo artist, who patented the first electric tattoo machine on December 8, 1891. He was the first notable famous tattoo artist.

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O'Reilly's machine was based on the rotary technology of Thomas Edison's autographic printing pen.

He began tattooing in New York around the mid-1880s, and by the decade’s end, he had made his name in tattooing. O'Reilly first owned a shop at #5 Chatham Square on Broadway and the Bowery in New York City. In 1904, he moved to #11 Chatham Square when the previous tenant, tattoo artist Elmer Getchell, left the city.

O'Reilly operated out of his shop for 5 years, and his student Charlie Wagner carried on there when he died in 1909, until his death in 1953.

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