The Sailor Jerry tattoos were designed like mementos which used to mark milestones at a sailor’s voyage. This also signified patriotism, which made them celebrate triumphs. They were also inked to look forward to more places they were going to travel.
The concept of sailor tattoos dates back to the 16th century. At this time, sailor had been tattooing as a sport, and they used to bring these back like tribal souvenirs to Europe from Pacific islands. Later, during the 17th century, the written records of Captain John Cooks, from his diary, gave us detailed knowledge about tattoos or ‘tatus’ as called by the native Polynesian language. These originated because sailors used to tattoo each other, and they inked with what they could have, like urine and gunpowder which produced ink.
The Sailor Jerry tattoos had been originated due to Norman Collins. He was better known as the Sailor Jerry who was a popular tattoo artist for sailors during the 1920s. During the Second World War in Hawaii and Honolulu, the red-light district was raging with soldiers and sailors who was about to ship off.
Sailor Jerry was the center of their attraction as he was skilled enough to tattoo these soldiers with their unique design ideas. From mere souvenir of drunken sailors it led to become a popular art form in America. Sadly, the popularity of these Sailor Jerry Tattoos resulted in publicity which almost ruined Collins. After the scrutiny of the government during the 1950s, we had to temporarily quit tattooing.
People who’d like to ink themselves with Sailor Jerry sleeve tattoos would have some specific elements to choose from, and each of them have significant meaning. The common elements to portray a Sailor Jerry Tattoos would include swallows, anchors, dragon, golden dragon, rigged ship, shell back turtle, etc.
Rats Get Fat
Death Before Chastity
Death Before Dishonor
Love Thy Neighbor
Red Rose Forever