We met Jim Adams through email. He introduced himself as a tattoo artist with a long history who is now retired. He had traveled through the midweset tattooing, ending up in Florida. In our eyes, having this much history and at the same time staying objective andcurrent is a characteristic ALL tattoo artists should have. There are solutions for every problem.

We credit Jim with the genious behind our BLACK WIDOW MACHINE. He's the one who generously shared his idea with us. He is no "one trick pony".. retired, yes... and still working on machine ideas. There are ideas too complex to share and still in the process of patent protection. We guarantee that NONE of you are ready for what he has up his sleeve. The first part is a short email about himself.

Milton Zeis bakelite machine.

"I have been farting around with tattoo machines for decades and have always been more interested in inventing a better tattoo machine than actually tattooing. I have busted my brain on rotaries and I even tried to make an air driven tattoo machine way back in the 1970s. It could have been a success but I lacked funding. I came to the conclusion long ago there will never be anything better to tattoo with than an electromagnetic coil machine. Even though there are fantastic performing machines today, I feel there are still advances to be made. I started tattooing with $15 Milt Zeis machines that threw a spark that could weld a battleship together. The tubes had cheap chrome plate and a piece of rubber hose for a grip. The power unit was a door bell transformer screwed to a piece of Bakelite. Looking back, I don't think it even had anything to convert it to D.C. I used acetate stencils and charcoal powder, mixed lumpy powdered pigment with Listerine and used half a gelatin capsule for an ink cap (by the time the tattoo was done the gelatin caps would grow into something that resembled a miniature used rubber from sucking the Listerine out of the ink).

Also as insane as it sounds, by today's standards nobody used gloves except Carol Nightingale up in Canada. I remember seeing a picture of him with gloves and saying "look at this guy he thinks hes a doctor" he was really ahead of his time. Look up the patent on his machine some time, it looks like he used an entire kid's erector set to make it, adjustments up the kazoo. I went to the first tattoo convention. It was held by Dave Yerkew (North American tattoo club). Nobody in the whole convention was wearing gloves! Beside the disease factor, can you believe tattooers willfully held their hand in a wad of someone's sweaty armpit hair? I grew up in Illinois, about an hour's drive from Rockford Illinois, that's the town old time tattoo supplier Milton Zeis lived in.

Back in 1972, I was looking through an old 1953 popular mechanics magazine for old car adds and in the back of the rag was a tiny add for tattoo supplies. I sent a letter and it was forwarded through a couple addresses and ended up at Milt Zeis's son-in-law's house. Milt was already dead but his son-in-law was still selling supplies. I got friendly with his grandson and was allowed to come over and go down in the basement when I needed stuff. They had 55 gallon drums of pigment from DuPont, antique hand coil winders and tons of old flash $3 a sheet.

Milton Zeis flash...

They had a big trunk that was full of original photos, mostly of Cindy Ray from Australia. A lot of them were of piercing and back then this was unusual and not tied in with tattooing so much. That basement was like walking into a time machine. You could just feel the history in the air. It gave you goose bumps. Art, remember my name. If I come up with any new ideas, I may want to share them or shoot the shit. Best Regards, Jim Adams."


"The book just arrived and thanks for the CD. I have not watched it yet and I have only just flipped through the book but WOW !!!!! Back in the day, if you wrote this book they would be pulling your body out of a dumpster and that way of thinking is JUST WRONG. The secrecy is small minded, petty and full of jealousy. Back then, few people were really artists so the only way to stay on top was by guarding technical info. A lot of people profess to want to better the craft and make it more acceptable but they are against making knowledge available. There is no way to ever stop scratchers but their numbers can be reduced by making this book available. There are people who don't want to scratch and want to do things right. They just don't know where to find the info. I was there myself once. I do think they should want it bad enough to pay for it though and your price is more than reasonable.

Apprenticeship is not always what it's cracked up to be. Some guys will take your money and not really give you what you need. I walked into Bob Shaw's on the Pike about the time he invented the swing gate and asked him about an apprenticeship and I am positive he would have been good as gold but I didn't have $2,500 at the time. While I was there, he put in an outline of a tattoo that covered a guy's calf. He did it so fast it was like he was signing his name. I never saw a machine that ran so fast and a guy who could keep up with it. I was amazed. I could have had a cheaper apprenticeship at Leroy's down the street (he showed me some pictures of tattoos he did on Arnold the pig from the TV show Green Acres). Doc Web in San Diego told me Leroy would more than likely rip me off so I declined. Doc Web was a kind and generous man. He was not taking apprenticeships but he told me how to fix some problems I was having. In an hour of shooting the shit with him he explained a lot of stuff and for free.

If your book was available to me 30 years ago and all I had to do was cut off my big toe to get it, you would be calling me gimpy. There will always be bung holes who dishonor the trade. I have seen a guy doing a tattoo with a bare needle bar loop riding on a bare armature pin doing the hula. He put his tubes and bars in a device that steamed hair curlers and thought it was sterilizing things. You kind of have to give him a little credit for the attempt at sterilizing. He could have just wiped the stuff off under his arm pit.


I think a tattoo artist should reach celebrity status because they are in fact a great artist with technical discipline and not because they are hording knowledge.

I have read people complaining that your book is too much money on the net. They have to be the dumbest, cheapest sheep fuckers that ever crawled out from under a rock. The no BS info in that book is priceless.

P.S one more story, I had a friend (now deceased). He told me he knew Don Nolan. He noticed a machine spring on his key chain. He asked him why and he said " because that spring made me a million dollars ".


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