Making A Mark On Humanity: A Brief History Of Tattoos


Tattoos can be a great way to announce to the world, “I care so much about this thing, I want it emblazoned on me forever.” They can also be a great way to announce, “When I drink cheap tequila I get really into butterflies.” Whether that thing you care about so much is: your pug, Pugsly; barbed wire; snakes; anchors; or the fact that you have “No Regrets,” tattoos let us personalize our bodies even more.

Of course, just as you and your buddies all have surprisingly disparate explanations for those matching tats of Jerry Seinfeld’s face on a chicken (for you, it’s always symbolized the cyclicality of life), humans through history have marked their flesh with ink for vastly differing reasons. Here at Man Crates, we also love marking things permanently, but our instrument of choice is the laser etcher. Check out our brief history of tattoos for some permanence-spiration, then see what we’ve got to offer in the forever-marked department.

Ötzi the Iceman—literally a frozen mummy, not the dude in apartment 4B who everyone calls “Iceman” because he excelled at ice luge drinking games during your neighborhood’s summer block party—was probably the first human to ever get inked. Discovered in the Ötztal Alps and thought to have lived around 3,300 BCE, the Iceman was found with rudimentary symbols all over his body—not unlike the ones your neighbor Iceman got in Tijuana last weekend. Rudimentary or not, we have to give this mummy credit for being the ultimate hipster and sporting ink waaaaay before it was cool.

In ancient Egypt, ladies also got into the inked-flesh game, when tattoos were thought to provide spiritual protection during childbirth. Which, if you’re a lady, sounds like a great excuse to give your mom when she asks why you got that full back piece of a tiger riding an elephant. In space. Of course, this excuse may inspire a whole host of new questions, but you can worry about that later.

Fast-forward to 19th Century Europe: Everyone’s into tattoos. Not saying tattoos were more popular there than at a Sturgis biker bar hosting a tattoo contest today, but close. Russia’s Tsar Nicholas II even got a sick dragon inked on his forearm during a trip to Japan in 1891, making him possibly the first guy ever to get a tattoo after one too many sake bombs (but certainly not the last).

At Man Crates, we’re into personalized permanence. Well, some of us wish we hadn’t gotten those matching #hashtag neck tats after happy hour last Friday, but that’s a story for another time. While it might’ve been chill for sailors of yesteryear to mark their bodies with whatever pigments they had on hand, including gunpowder and (no joke) urine, we specialize in a less-poisonous-and-disgusting-sounding way to create something personalized and permanent.

These gifts for men celebrate your favorite guy’s uniqueness with frickin’ laser beams, which we use to mark stuff for-ev-er. And, unlike your weird uncle’s Limp Bizkit tribute tattoo, they’ll definitely be a long-term source of pride for the man you give them to.

Whiskey Appreciation Crate
You might be thinking, “There’s no way whiskey, aka the nectar of the gods, could possibly get any better.” Well friend, hold on to your ice cubes, ‘cause we totally improved whiskey. Our Whiskey Appreciation Crate includes all the necessities your favorite booze enthusiast needs to keep his “spirits” high: A monogrammed whiskey decanter, personalized heavy-bottom rocks glasses and tasty snacks for when the drunchies (that’s drunk + munchies) hit. See? We told you we could make it even better.

Personalized Growlqer Crate
This crate is ideal for your favorite hopheads, stout sippers and good ol’ American lager drinkers. So basically this crate is for everyone. Plus, growlers are for sharing, so we predict some Sunday day drinking in your future, generous gift giver.

Coffee Percolator Crate
Occasionally, so-called “adult responsibilities” like going to work or picking grandma up at the airport get in the way of relaxing over a nice, cold growler of beer. Sometimes even the life of the party needs a little pep in his step. Enter the Coffee Percolator Crate. Because coffee just keeps getting hipper and we wouldn’t want your favorite dude to be anything less than bleeding-edge cool. Let’s help him percolate up some extra-dark French Roast for a fresh brew that would make any barista proud. The caffeine kick might only be temporary, but the name-adorned stainless steel mugs will last a lifetime.

Personalized Pint Set Ammo Can
An authentic ammo can filled with a personalized .50 Cal bottle opener? You might need to pinch the lucky giftee so he knows he’s not dreaming. Just hope his roommate doesn’t accidentally “lose” it or “forget” to give it back. Also, did we mention jerky? Because, you know—he’s human. Humans like jerky.

Personalized Oktoberfest Stein
Lederhosen are cool and all, but honestly, as far as Oktoberfest goes, we’re partial to brats and pretzels. Oh, and beer. But you probably guessed that. Also, is it okay to admit we kinda love polka music? Prost!

Personalized Barware
For the man who has everything, including buddies who keep walking off with his pint glasses, we suggest the gift of laser-etched barware. Even the shadiest of acquaintances will think twice before swiping these personalized pint glasses and coasters. Plus, there’s enough salty snack goodness to make anyone feel just a little more #blessed.

Let’s face it: Just about everyone has tattoos these days. Maybe even your mom, despite how much crap she gives you for yours,. And grandma—who may or may not still be waiting for you at the airport. So for a one-of-a-kind gift that appeals to a guy’s individuality, you could drop him off at the tattoo parlor. Or you could give him one of our personalized gifts—and give him a little ego boost every time he takes a sip.