In 1876, Thomas Edison patented the Electric Stencil-Pen, an invention intended to help clerks reproduce documents. It featured a sharp vibrating needle that could puncture a sheet of paper 50 times per second. Users dragged it along lines of text to create tiny holes in the paper that allowed ink to sink through to papers underneath. The Electric Stencil-Pen is a relatively unknown invention, but if the process sounds familiar, that’s because it helped revolutionize the modern tattoo industry. In 1891, New York tattoo artist Samuel F. O’Reilly produced an electric tattoo needle based on the design. The speed and precision of the tool made getting inked quicker and more efficient than ever before.