SPC: Rest in Peace, Bud Larsen

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I wish that this story had a happy ending, and I apologize that the majority of my Modblog articles turn out to be memorials, but as a community archivist it’s part of the job.

I had just turned sixteen when I lied about my age and ordered every issue of PFIQ that Gauntlet had in stock. I had seen images from them in the seminal RE/Search Publication MODERN PRIMITIVES, but getting them all was a piercing nerd’s dream.

The first fourteen issues featured stunning illustrated covers by gay erotic artist BUD. They were iconic; primarily line art featuring subject matter ranging from pierced Leather Daddies (Bud also worked with DRUMMER magazine) and femme fatals, fantasy creature/human hybrids and more. Bud’s art was integral to the brand identity of those first  dozen plus issues and even after Jim switched to photo covers Bud still occasionally lent his skills to provide spot illustrations.

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Bud Viking Navarro’s backpiece by Cliff Raven, drawn by Bud Larsen

I spent years trying to track him down with no success; he had lost touch with the piercing world (his only real connection being the PFIQ covers) and was seemingly unfindable. I had stopped searching when I happened upon an envelope featuring his artwork, thumbtacked to a cork board in a cubicle in my office.

I risked writing him an introduction letter, asking if he’d be willing to talk to me about the ‘old days’. Not only did he consent, but I was shocked to find that his next door neighbor was a good friend of mine!  We corresponded back and forth for a while, discussing him doing a t-shirt design for SPCOnline and the possibility of meeting in person.

Shannon of BME noticed the story on my IAM page and asked me if I’d like to fly out to Arizona to interview Bud for BME and a few days later I was on a plane to meet him. We chatted for a little over an hour, with me recording the interview and snapping pictures of Bud and his artwork, having him sign a few PFIQs I brought with me and listening to stories about the old days; doing art for PFIQ, Drummer and other erotic magazines.

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6byd7ik5I wish I could share that with you folks, but in an epic comedy of errors my film (this was pre digital camera) was exposed and ruined by airport security and I lost the cassette with the interview somewhere in Arizona. I always planned to go back out there and re-interview him, but these things slip away and before you know it, it’s too late.

I was contacted this morning by my friend Jennifer (Bud’s neighbor) with the news that he had passed away. He leaves behind a legacy of art that captured the imaginations of the subcultures he worked in.

Rest in peace, Bud.

You can check out some of Bud’s erotic illustrations here.
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SPC: Jack Yount

Jack and Kristin of Nomad

Jack and Kristin of Nomad

The first article I ever submitted to BME was a memorial piece on my friend and mentor Jack Yount.
That was two years shy of twenty years ago. I had always planned on writing more about Jack per Shannon’s request, but as time went by and other projects took my attention I didn’t get around to it. Which is strange considering the massive impact the friendship with Jack had on my life. So. I’m sorry it’s taken a few decades to get back to where I started, but sometimes it’s nice to take the long way ’round.

Rasmus photographed by Stanley Kubrick

Rasmus photographed by Stanley Kubrick

Jack was born John Andrew Yount on Sep 15, 1926. When he was nine years old, his parents took him to the circus where he saw the infamous strongman Rasmus Nielsen. Rasmus was a circus sideshow performer; a three-in-one blacksmith, tattooed man and strongman. Had that been all, he may have still influenced young Jack- but thankfully Rasmus had set himself apart from other tattooed men with the addition of tongue, septum and nipple piercings which he hung weights off of to the shock, horror and delight of 1930s circus goers. A pre-Lifto Lifto!

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SPC: Big Ed Fenster and the Silver Anchor

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My attempts to write for Modblog- considering I’m not a real writer- will be more grounded in personal memories and oral histories. I’m giving you folks a look at the history of modern body modification through my life and perspective. These aren’t well researched footnoted clinical studies, more the fruits of a life spent in the Body Modification scene. Some details are added because the memory makes me happy. Others are omitted because it’s been 20+ years I’ve simply forgotten the whole story. Maybe that’s why writing these is so important. So that nothing gets left behind.

So thank you for taking the time to read these, please discuss them and if you’d like to read more, let me know.

Also. If you have a personal memory you’d like to share- get in touch! I’d really like to hear your stories.


Zephyrhills Florida was first incorporated as a city in 1914. According to the 2000 Census it was home to 10,833 residents, many of whom were over 65 and retired. It’s close to Tampa and to my home town of Plant City, and can boast to being the birthplace of several famous NASCAR drivers, an American Idol finalist and notorious Ghoul Carl Tanzier.

It was also, for a few years at least, the Body Modification capital of the world.

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Is anyone interested in history?

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Rachel has graciously allowed me access to the ModBlog control panel. I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with it, to be honest. I already have a bunch of blogs that you may or may not read- ScarWars, Occult Vibrations and my own personal diary site, so what can I offer to you folks here at Modblog?

History maybe?

My passion is the documentation of the things that I love. Always has been. I’m one of those folks who wants to know everything about the things that interest me. Luck (and a birthday in the 1970s) placed me right smack dab in the middle of the cultural shift in the Body Modification community, when the older generation and the younger generation met and everything changed. Jack Yount (pictured above) was instrumental in teaching me about those who came before me as well as instilling a desire in me to document and preserve those lessons.

So tell me ModBlog… If I post it, will you read it? Are there still folks out there that want to know who Jack Yount was, or what a U-Tube is? What connection Cliff Raven had to Ed Hardy or how old Brian Skellie was the first time I saw him naked?

Remember that there’s a comment section and let me hear from you. I want interaction on Modblog!

Early Ear Tunnel Design Precursors

I’ve sort of gotten hooked on reading these old patent records related to body modification, and just came across one that surprised me because of how ahead-of-its-time it was. In early 1875, Albert S. Baker of Somerville, MA filed a patent for what he called an “Imrpovement in Ear-rings” (US Patent #161,853). The patent is for a small gauge flanged tunnel to be worn in the earlobe — he explains,

“It is well known that in the use of ear-rings, as ordinarily constructed, the wires frequently tear out or cut the ear, and when not made of proper materials poison the parts with which they come in contact, thus sometimes causing great injury to the wearer. My invention is designed to obviate these difficulties and objections.”

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He goes on to describe the device (which he calls a “spool” at times), which he instructs should be made of high quality gold, thus eliminating materials reactions such as nickel allergies. In addition, because the device is larger gauge than the fine wire that often makes up the hook of an earring, it reduces the chance of the jewelry pulling through. What, you thought Todd Bertrang was the first person to tell the world these things? Still, I was pleasantly surprised to see these concepts tossed around in detail nearly 140 years ago.

Many later jewelry designs also presented similar ideas (his appears to be the first hollow tunnel that was patented), but I will just very briefly mention another one of them, a patent filed in 1976 by Mary C. Ivey of Atlanta, GA (US Patent #4,067,341). Her concept is almost identical, and she explains it very similarly in her application, but adds that her design both allows the secondary jewelry more freedom to move due to the tunnel being larger, and also suggests taking advantage of advances that have been made in materials sciences (specifically plastics) to improve the design. Unfortunately she’s vague on many aspects (as is frustratingly common in patents) and does not however come out and say the actual diameter of the tunnel — as pictured I’m guessing in the realm of 8ga.

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As you can see in those illustrations, the visual effect of someone wearing these tunnels — or “pierced earlobe protector” as Ms. Ivey titles it — is very, very close to someone wearing a small gauge tunnel of the sort we see all the time walking out the doors of your friendly neighborhood piercing studio. The one thing that neither Ivey nor Baker mention in their patents how the piercing is to be done, which I’m curious about, especially with Ivey’s, which seems to be getting too big to just shove into your average hole*. The only such insertion-method explanation I stumbled across regarding this style of jewelry was one filed in 1949 by Robert W. Spicher of Havre, MT (US Patent #2,568,207) for a “Surgical Piercing Device”.

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The jewelry itself is superficially similar in design and intent to the others in this entry, but it also includes a sharpened taper that can be tightly fitted over the tunnel, either creating the new piercing hole or squeezing into an existing one, and then expanding that hole. The particularly creative part is that he then uses a syringe to blow air into the tunnel to make the taper pop off like a champagne cork — hopefully not shooting like a tiny bullet into the wearer’s neck! — to be replaced with a cap that keeps the tunnel from falling out.

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* “that’s what she said”

The Early History Of The Ear Piercing Gun

This morning I was reading old patents (yes, this is what I do for entertainment) and came across an interesting one from way back the last time piercing was überpopular over 130 years ago — filed May 10 and patented July 13, 1880 by Edward Seyfarth in Illinois (US Patent #240,073). As you can see, the design is not that much different from the piercing guns used by disease spreading hacks ^H^H^H^H nostril mutilating morons ^H^H^H^H I mean beauty salon “piercers” even to this day. The patent application reads in part,

“Be it known that I, Edward Seyfarth, of Lanark, in the county of Carroll and State of Illinois, have invented a new and useful Improvement in Ear-Piercers … The object of this invention is to furnish ear-piercers so constructed that the puncture can be made in exactly the desired spot and so quickly as to be painless … The invention consists in constructing an ear-piercer of a pair of bars hinged to each other at one end and provided at their other ends with sockets to receive blocks to be pressed against the ear, the tube having a cap upon its outer end, the needle having a disk and a notch, the spiral spring, and the catch for holding the needle when drawn out, so that the ear may be pierced while being compressed.”

“In using the piercer the blocks (D) are placed upon the opposite sides of the lobe of the ear in such a position that the hole through the blocks (D) will be directly over the spot where it is desired to puncture the ear. The arms (A and B) are then pressed together to numb the part of the ear between the blocks (D). The catch (K) is then drawn back to release the needle (G), which is forced forward to make the puncture by the elasticity of the spring (H), thus making the puncture without causing pain. The needle (G) is then drawn back, the instrument is removed from the ear, and a wire or thread passed through the puncture in the usual way.”

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I’ve often heard the urban myth that the ear piercing gun is directly based on or evolved from the tool that places tags in animal ears — it wouldn’t surprise me if I’ve even written that at times. Even the extremely qualified and knowledgeable Elayne Angel says this in her recent book on the subject “The Piercing Bible” (which reminds me, check out her excellent piercing blog at that link), writing “these gadgets were originally invented for tagging cattle and other animals, and later adapted for use on humans”. But it seems this is a misleading statement, arguably false — at best the two tools co-evolved. More likely when we’re talking about piercing tools of the “gun” type that’s most common, one should more accurately argue the evolutionary process is actually the other way around, with a number of patents for animal tagging tools going to far as to explicitly refer back to this very ear-piercing gun patent by Edward Seyfarth! On the whole though I think it’s more realistic to say that the vast majority of animal tagging tools come from the same design family as modified pliers like riveting tools and leather punches, without that much overlap with the design of piercing guns (with a number of notable exceptions). But I’m beginning to digress.

Speaking of ear piercing guns that look more like animal tagging tools, there’s Francis X. Xavbet’s “ear piercing pliers” filed December 3rd, 1880 (US Patent #250,121 issued November 29, 1881), a simple clamp-like device. Xavbet’s design, unlike Seyfarth’s which only creates the hole, uses sharpened jewelry to accomplish the process in a single step as the tool places the ring. His patent reads in part,

“The object I have in view is to produce simple and convenient means for piercing ears, in which the ear-ring itself can be used as the piercing-point, and will be released by the instrument when the hole is formed, so as to remain in the ear till healed.”

“The ear-ring (F) … has a sharp-pointed wire (g). It is grasped by the clamp (A), in the position shown in Fig. 1, the plate (E) is then pushed toward the socket (D), and the lobe of the ear is introduced between such plate and the point of the ear-ring. The pliers are then forced together and the ear pierced, when the chain (B) draws back the dog (B) and the clamp is released. The instrument can now be removed from the ear and leave the ear-ring in position. The sharp point of the ear-ring can then be cut off; but this is not necessary, if the ear-ring is provided with a closed keeper, such as is used on safety pins.”

“When it is desired to place in the ears earrings not provided with sharpened points the removable cutting-points (h), Fig. 6, are used. These can be detached from the wires of the ear-rings after the holes are formed.”

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I want to mention one other piercing tool that I dug up, filed just after the Seyfarth design by James McAlpine, on May 20, 1880 with the patent issued November 30th (US Patent #234,881). It deserves mention because it’s by far the simplest — not much more than a holder to help shove a short needle through the lobe with your thumb — he even suggests piercing both ears at once, as the tool is designed to be one-handed. The patent reads,

“The invention consists, mainly, in certain peculiarities of construction … [a] means of which the instrument is adapted for use with one hand, in consequence of which it is possible, by applying an instrument to each ear and operating them simultaneously, to pierce both ears at the same time.”

“The operation is substantially as follows: The jaws having been opened, the set-screw being loose, the bearing-faces may be adjusted to the lobe of the ear, and then be held in the proper position simply by tightening the set-screw. By means of the stop projection and pin the jaws are prevented from being brought together too closely. An instrument being thus attached to each ear, as indicated in Fig. 7, and the piercers being inserted in the tubes, the operator, by means of his thumb and finger, simply presses the piercer toward the button, in consequence of which the lobe is pierced. The hands being used simultaneously, both ears are pierced at once.”

“Some of the advantages are as follows: The use of two instruments at once for simultaneous action is desirable, because, first, a saving of time is effected, and, second, the pain and difficulty resulting from two distinct operations are avoided.”

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The above designs are some of the earliest piercing tools of their respective families that I have been able to find to date — although I’m still searching and I strongly believe there are earlier ones in the patent archives that are still to be dug up. I don’t know for certain whether the first one is the earliest patent on a “true piercing gun” and whether Mr. Seyfarth can be credited as the concept’s overall inventor (I doubt it), but it’s certainly very early and you can still see its influence in ear piercing guns in use around the world.

As you may have noticed from these three Victorian patents, at this point there wasn’t a standardized design for the initial jewelry such as the ubiquitous butterfly-back that is still common today. However, browsing other early patents you start to see hints of this line of thinking, and definite precursors of designs that are still in use. From left to right below are US patents 216,954 (filed May 1, 1879 by Lois Heckman), 269,383 (May 8, 1882 by John Caldwell), and 320,991 (May 1, 1885 by Charles Westcott) — what is it with piercing inspiration and the month of May by the way?

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All three of these designs use some variation on the backing lightly clamping into place on the bar, the first two being aesthetically closest to modern salon-style jewelry. The third one caught my eye though, because although it is functionally similar to the first two, visually it is identical to the barbell jewelry popularized in the body piercing world by Jim Ward in the 1970s…

When I have more time I will do additional patent research on this subject, both on the early history of body modification, and on some of the more recent patents, which have the advantage of being far more hilarious. For example, I was just reading a silly patent on a line of tongue piercing jewelry that contains a receptacle to release “a substance such as a chemical, breath freshener, pleasant flavor, or medication into the mouth of a wearer” (US Patents 6,675,613 and 8,006,516). The concept works just as you’d expect — a hollow bar to hold the substance, which is then released through holes in the beads. Anyone who has ever brushed plaque off of a tongue barbell can imagine just how disgusting this jewelry has the potential of becoming!!!

The History of Play Piercing 1885-1940

Here’s an article I never thought I’d be writing — the history of play piercing and human pin-cushions, from 1885 through 1940, as collected from archival news clippings. I have spent the better part of the day reading story after story in historical archives about both sideshow performers who did play piercing, and people who seemed to do it for fun — sometimes with hilarious results — as well as the different ways that play piercing percolated into the mainstream via fictional prose and cartoons. It has been interesting to say the least. With the exception of cartoons, which I have placed at the very end of this article, I am presenting here, in chronological order a number of stories that caught my interest. You’d be amazed how many brief mentions and repetitions I’ve skipped over. I never would have guessed at how much the media of the time loved writing about this subject. It absolutely fascinated them! For all of these stories, if you want to see more than the excerpt that I have transcribed, just click on the scanned headline that starts the story to be taken to the original news clipping.

I hope you will find comfort and enjoyment in the fact that many of these stories could easily have been published today. We often fool ourselves into thinking we are the first people to have a set of unusual experiences, but a careful examination of history shows that even the oddest seeming things repeat themselves over and over ad infinitum.

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Note: This is a very long post, so it continues after the break. I hope it will be fun for history buffs, and that I have not made too many typos.
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Early news coverage of The Great Omi

One of the most famous “tattooed freaks” of the classic sideshow era — heck, of ANY ERA! — was Horace Riddler, better known as The Great Omi (read more on the BME wiki). I thought it might be interesting to share with you some of the very early news clippings about him — the very first I could discover was dated October 20th, 1934, and was printed in the Lethbridge Herald of Alberta, Canada. Since it’s more than a little hard to read (scanned from old microfiche archives), let me transcribe it:

MIRACLE OF TATTOOING GETS FINISH:The Great Omi, called the ninth wonder of the world, being completely tattooed head to foot. He designed the tattoo patterns himself and the work on his head alone took nine weeks to perfect. Prof. Burchett, shown completing this part of the job, considers it a masterpiece.

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A slightly later AP story expanded on those comments and was widely reprinted in papers across the nation (I happened to find it in the Galveston Daily News of April 7th, 1935). It reads:

TOTALLY TATTOOED: The Great Omi, who believes himself to be the only man in the world who is “tattooed all over,” explains it by saying, “I was penniless after the war and–well, I had to do something, so I decided it should be something never done before. It has taken me three years to be tattooed from head to foot–a dreadfully painful process. I suffered agonies. Moreover, it was meant sacrificing every social asset I had. Some people would say I look pretty terrible, but my wife has been wonderful about it. She assures me it is only a matter of getting used to it.” The Great Omi served during the world war as a major in the British army.

He quickly became the most famous sideshow performer of the time and people clamored to see him all over the world. For a time — especially in late 1934 and 1935 when his tattoo transformation was complete and his popularity exploded — his name became synonymous with tattooing, and if you were a journalist assigned to write about tattoos, odds were good you’d fill some column inches with The Great Omi’s story. For example, I was reading an interesting article about the 1934 Tokyo tattoo convention in The San Antonio Light‘s December 2nd, 1934 edition, and they actually spent more time talking about Omi than the convention itself!

Convention of Tattooed People, But the Champion Didn’t Attend

Despite the fact that it is a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment and fine, for a Japanese to have his person indelibly inscribed with the tattooer’s needle, a convention of tattooed people recently was staged in the city. The alert police did not molest the delegates to the conclave because every one of them was able to prove that he, or she, had not been tattooed within the past few years, since the ban has been in force.

As the photograph of some of the delegates shows, when an Oriental makes up his mind to get himself tattooed, he does a thorough job of it and covers himself with the sort of red and blue skin pictures that seamen carry around on their arms and chests.

But the convention was not all that it might have been because the grand champion of all tattooed men–a fellow who calls himself the Great Omi–either was unable to attend or just passed up the event as unworthy of his notice.

While the convention was in session and the human art galleries were getting their pictures in the newspapers of the Japanese capital, the Great Omi was touring the British Isles and astounding people who did not envy him in the least. Not for a million dollars would the average human being let himself be so “ornamented.”

The Great Omi is one of the few tattooed men in the world who has permitted the artists with the needle to work on his face as well as his body. As two of the photographs show, there is hardly a square inch of Omi’s head that isn’t covered with a design that makes him look stranger and more savage than the wildest of African medicine men, who go in for that sort of disfigurement.

Prof. Burchett, said to be the world’s outstanding expert in the art of tattooing, supports Omi’s claim that he is the most tattooed man in the world.

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I have corrected Their Annoying Capitalization, but underneath the first photo of Omi it says, “The ‘Great Omi,’ most thoroughly tattooed of humans, who holds forth in London. He has spent most of his life decorating his skin with weird designs.” The rightmost picture of Omi reads, “The ‘Great Omi’ submitting himself to the needle to put the finishing touches to the bewildering decorations of head and face.” Finally, the central picture which is of the convention attendees reads, “Six of the many delegates to the convention of tattooed people recently held in Tokyo. These animated Japanese prints are covered with designs from their necks to their thighs but the ‘Great Omi,’ now traveling through the British Isles, found it inconvenient to attend the conclave and told spectators that he is the grand champion of all tattooed people, including the human picture galleries of the orient.”

In addition to being called “The Great Omi” proper, he was often colloquially referred to as “The Zebra Man”, and then as in now, when you become a pop culture icon, you can expect yourself to be referenced in the most unexpected places. For example, the September 17th, 1938 edition of the syndicated serial pulp comic strip “Ella Cinders” (running from 1925 through 1961), which I think is as good a place as any to end this entry. Zoom in so you can read the words clearly.

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The year 1890 in body modification

It’s been a very long time since I’ve done a historial “tattoos in the news” column, and I think perhaps it’s time to revive that. Today I shall cover a cross-section of mentions of tattoos and body modification in the news in the year 1890. In 1890 tattoos were already quite common and well known, and even a “trend” in some areas, among both the upper classes and among sailors, as well as there being wide awareness of body modification in tribal cultures. But I want to begin with my absolute favorite article of the year, which I read in the Acton Concord Enterprise of March 28, 1890 — although I should mention they were quoting The Philadelphia Inquirer and that this story was widely printed across North America. In short, a deaf-and-dumb girl is tattooed with the alphabet on her forearm, and learns to communicate by “typing” out words — and having responses typed back. Keep in mind that this was before ASL was standard, so there were many creative methods of dealing with deafmute communication — this is definitely one of the more interesting!

TALKS WITH HER ARM
Where a Deaf and Dumb Girl Carries the Alphabet and How She Uses It

“James V. Dorpman and daughter, Lodge Pole, Nebraska,” is written in a bold hand on the register at the Ridgway house. Mr. Dorpman is a tall, well built man of 60 years, with a long beard strongly tinged with gray. His daughter is about 18 years old. She has an intelligent, pretty face and the brightest and bluest kind of bright blue eyes.

When Mr. Dorpman and his daughter first came to the Ridgway house they attracted the attention and curiosity of the guests by their strange behavior. Whether in the parlor or in the dining room, Mr. Dorpman always sat on the left hand side of his daughter and tapped her left arm constantly with two fingers of his right hand, as though playing on a typewriter. His fingers skipped nimbly at random from the girl’s wrist almost to her shoulder and back again. At intervals he paused and the girl smiled, nodded her head or else tapped her left arm in the same manner with the fingers of her right arm, the old man closely watching their movements.

The strange actions of the couple were subjects of continual comment and speculation among tho guests. Finally Borne one noticed that the father and daughter were never heard to exchange a word. They always sat quietly when in each other’s presence, and were always drumming on tho girl’s arm as if it were a pianoforte. The girl kept away from the other guests of her sex, and was never seen in conversation with any one. At the dining table Mr. Dorpman gave the orders to the waiters both for himself and his daughter. When Proprietor Butterworth met the young woman on the stairs and said affably, “Good morning,” she never answered.

The strange actions of the couple occasioned such widespread comment and curiosity among the guests that finally Proprietor Butterworth approached Mr. Dorpman while he was standing at the cigar counter one day, and after a few minutes of general conversation asked him to explain the cause of his constant tapping on his daughter’s arm.

“So you’ve noticed that, eh?” said Mr. Dorpman with a laugh. “Well, that is how I talk to Hattie. Sho is deaf and dumb.”

Mr. Butterworth asked him how he was able to converse with bis daughter by simply drumming on her arm.

“You’ll think it is easy after I tell you,” he answered. “You must remember that we came from an obscure part of Nebraska, settled there with my wife a quarter of a century ago. Eighteen years ago, when Hattie was born, there was not a house within a mile of us, nor a city within sixty miles. As the child grew older we discovered that she was deaf and dumb. We were at a loss how to communicate with her. We were far away from a civilized community, and no one that we knew was familiar with the sign manual for deaf mutes, so that the baby grew to be a child before we could devise a scheme to talk to her.

“Finally my wife hit upon a novel idea. She got a clever young fellow who worked for us to tattoo the alphabet on Hattie’s arm. The letter ‘A’ began just above the wrist, and the letter ‘Z’ ended just below tho shoulder blade. Hattie was then 5 years old. In less than a year by this means my wife and I had taught her the alphabet.

“Then we began to spell out words by touching each letter very slowly with our fingers. As the child learned we became faster, and when Hattie was 12 years old we were able to talk to her as rapidly as a person can spell out words on a typewriter. Hattie, too, learned to answer us by drumming on her tattooed arm. Of course, for several years at first, when we wanted to talk to her, or she to us, she had to roll up the sleeve of her left arm. Gradually her sense of touch became so fine that she knew without looking just where each letter was located, and her mother and I, by constant practice, were enabled to strike these letters with her sleeves rolled down.

“The tattoo was not very deep, and by tho time Hattie was 16 years of age it had entirely disappeared, leaving her arm as white and spotless as a woman’s arm could be. But she knows just where each letter was, and so do I, for I have been drumming on her arm ever since she was knee high to a grasshopper. Of course, I am the only person alive able to talk with her, as my wife died about six months ago, but I hope to arrange so that she may be able to talk to others. While we are on east I am going to get some one to instruct her in the sign manual. She is bright and quick and will soon learn.”

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More stories continue after the break.
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What’s new is old!

I was reading Tim Hendricks’s blog this morning and came across an absolutely fascinating entry. As is not surprising for someone who designs tattoo equipment, Tim also collects antique tattoo equipment, and bought up this gem of unknown providence. He’s not sure how old it is, but it’s very old, and has a number of interesting design features. Of course you can see that it has an armature on it that acts as a stand that slides across the skin and both controls depth and supports the machine — important with a unit this heavy! But you might also notice the strange bulb that hangs off the front. At first I thought it was some sort of ink resevoir, but it’s actually a light — a feature I’m surprised has never been built into a modern machine! The whole thing came in a nice wooden case with integrated tattoo supply.

I liked the comment Tim Hendricks had to make on the machine as well. He wrote, “A shit-ton of tattooers these days are like, ‘I really love these new rotary machines’… NEW? [This] shows that we’re still just improving upon old inventions by brilliant minds like Thomas Edison and Samuel O’Reilly. So now when someone talks about the ‘new rotary design’, you can say, ‘Man, that shit been played out since the 1920′s holmes!’.” So true!

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