Animal Markers

  Marking animals via branding or tattooing is nothing new, dating back to the 1800s. As soon as theft of livestock became prevalent in the wild west the ranchers felt the need to identify their stock so they began branding them. By the late 1800s they had begun tattooing them using hand stamp tattoo markers that didn't require electricity, generally marked in the ear using serial numbers. Farm suppliers began carrying the "tattoo kits". Large stamp were for goats, pigs and cows, whereas the smaller kits were for rabbits, chinchillas and even family pets. By the 1920s electric tattoo machines were being sold as animal markers, but they had a finger switch added to the barrel of the machine rather than the traditional footswitch setup. The last thing you wanted to do when marking animals in the barn was to lay a footswitch on the barn floor, so the finger switch was a good option. Some of the early tattoo suppliers began to advertise their animal marking machines in magazines like Billboard, Police Gazette and Popular Mechanics. Many of the magazines were reluctant to run regular tattoo supply ads because tattooing was considered to be bad taste, but had no problem with farming equipment ads, so the tattoo ads were able to slip through the cracks into the magazines. By the late 1940s the magazines were allowing tattoo supply ads, and these magazines became a common and inexpensive way for the suppliers to advertise their wares.