Many native cultures have always used tattoo, and still do. The Japanese raised the art of tattoo to a very high level. Modern tattoo started when Thomas Edison invented what he called a stencil pen. An Irish guy took that and modified it and created the first tattoo gun, the design of which is still basically used today. Tattoos have a long military tradirion, starting in Asia, then moving to San francisco and New York. Civilian tats started to get popular in the 60s, first with bikers and then with hippies who liked the idea of body art. It's just spread from there.
GOOD ... accurate and informative posting there Mr Bones; very good.