Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins the Innovator
One of Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins' greatest professional missions was to make sterilization-particularly in regard to needles-a standard practice in the industry. When Collins first set up shop it was rare for needles to be cleaned or shops kept tidy. As a result, disease was often spread through contaminated tools and unsanitary conditions, only worsening the reputation of the craft. Using unclean tools also increased the amount of time necessary for a fresh tattoo to heal.
Collins realized that setting up some standard, industry-wide sterilization practices would cut down on disease and legitimize tattooing as a trade. He kept his own shop up to the same level of cleanliness expected at medical facilities. In fact, he drew a lot of his practices from medical texts. He also was an advocate for making these new standards into law in order to make sure other shops were taking the necessary steps towards improving their own operations. It was his advocacy for regulated standards of sanitation that established the levels of cleanliness expected in modern day tattoo shops.