Getting the Gear
Tattoo machines, some very fancy, are sold by specialty companies, which also sell the ink, ink cups, needles and other materials used by the artist.

A beginnerís kit, priced at $199 on the Internet, includes one professional angle tattoo machine, one adjustable power supply, one foot switch, one clip cord, two tubes, tips and grips, six 1-ounce Millennium Tattoo Colors, five shader needles, five liner needles, 100 ink cups, one ink cup holder and one tube of Bacitracin.

Edison Tattooed?
The tattoo machine as we know it today has remained relatively unchanged since it was invented by Samuel OíReilly and patented in the United States in 1891. In 1876, Thomas Edison patented a tattooing device -- the autographic printer, which was intended as an engraving device for hard surfaces. OíReilly modified Edisonís machine by changing the tube system and using the cam conversion of a rotary-driven electromagnetic oscillating unit to enable the machine to drive the needle. OíReillyís patent was actually only for the tube assembly, since the rest of the machine was identical to Edisonís autographic printer.