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Dead medium: Edison Electric Pen Stencil
From: (Stefan Jones)
Source(s): New York Times, July 27, 1997, page 31 article "Cappucino With Your Tattoo? Try That on a Sailor" by Randy Kennedy

(((Stefan Jones remarks: As dinosaurs may still be with us in the form of birds, Edison's electric pen yet thrives in a most unlikely niche of media space. Regarding the history of tattooing in New York City:)))

"It was a time when the modern form first flourished, in the city where mechanized tattooing was invented == by a Bowery tinkerer named Samuel O'Reilly, who modified Edison's electric engraving pen in the 1890's to make the first tattoo machine."

Stefan Jones (

(((bruces remarks: Edison's electric pen was not an :"engraving pen." It used a darting needle to repeatedly puncture a sheet of stiff paper, which was then used as a stencil template for inking multiple copies of the document. (See Dead Media Working Notes 02.4, 13.2, 13.3 and 13.4 for data on the Electric Pen and related devices.) The Electric Pen was patented in 1875, so it took some twenty years to discover this pen's useful ability to repeatedly pierce human skin.)))