Old schools tattoos stand out significantly from other forms of tattoos with respect to their remarkable origin, emergence and evolution. Some very popular examples of old school tattoos are navy and armed forces symbols, pinup calendar girls, hearts, and other designs with ribbons demonstrating a motto, name or even special date. By and large, old school tattoos are quite simple designs with bold outlines.
Old school tattoos were actually modern tattoos of yesteryears and were pioneered by Samuel O’Reilly from Boston. However, old school tattoos are said to have been born at Chatham Square in New York as this is the very place where Samuel O’Reilly started his shop. Samuel took an apprentice named Charlie Wagner who carried forward the business in 1908 when Samuel passed away. Wagner joined hands with Alberts who has trained as a wallpaper designer who utilized his skills to design old school tattoos.
In 1920, there was a prohibition on tattoos following the depression, which made Chatham Square increasingly unpopular and the centre for tattoo art moved to Coney Island. Interestingly, tattoo specialists set up their shops primarily in cities that had military bases, especially at naval bases. Then old school tattoos were known as Travel Markers as you could where a person had been from their tattoos.
In 1961 the tattoo practice went further underground following the outbreak of hepatitis. Although many tattoo shops were using sterilization machines, there were news rumours about blood poisoning, hepatitis and other lethal diseases. The New York City government decided to regular tattoos businesses and enforced a health code practice for the tattoo designers. Following this regulation, many shops at Times Square and Coney Island were shut down, and there was a time when it became tough to find a tattoo shop in New York City.
However, tattoos have re-emerged as an accepted art and are now popularly termed Nu School (New School) tattoos.