Born on December 5, 1928, Darwin “Huck” Spaulding, lived in the Voorheesville area, NY, for many years. He was a veteran of the US Merchant Marines and the US Army, and one of the “biggest”.
During his time in Jacksonville, Huck Spaulding met the tattoo artist Paul Rogers. Rogers described Spaulding as “a real scratch artist”, a tattooist with very limited experience who had worked a little in the traveling sideshows. Rogers helped Spaulding improve his technique and, in 1955, Rogers moved into Spaulding’s shop half a block away on Court Street, giving birth to the now famous name of “Spaulding and Rogers“. This shop became home to the famous supply business that is known worldwide. The “Spaulding and Rogers Mfg.” was, in the late 1950’s, the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of tattooing equipment.
What immediately distinguished this mail order supply business from its competitors was a commitment to high quality. Ed Hardy first noticed the company when he saw an advert in the back of the magazine – Pop- ular Mechanics. Most of the best tattooists of that time started ordering through Spaulding and Rogers. A trend that continues to this day.
Huck enjoyed hunting, trapping, and stock car racing in his younger years. He traveled the world, and became an award winning big game hunter and a classic car enthusiast in later years. He was a big man who lived a big life, but the thing he was most proud of was his family.
Spaulding has been a controversial figure since he started out, but the art of tattooing needed Huck Spaulding. Most tattoo artists when they started out needed an entry point, they scraped the money together, bought Huck‘s kit, read his book “Tattooing from A to Z” and got to work. The best idea? Probably not, but his ad was there on the back of every magazine. Huck Spaulding sold the dream of tattooing. Most everyone we know in this business started out with Spaulding equipment and learned and grew to become something.
The most important thing about Huck Spaulding is the fact that he was a genuine character, the J.R. Ewing of the tattoo world and amongst big game hunters, he was one of the biggest.
Darwin “Huck” Spaulding, 84, died peacefully on Friday, February 1, 2013 at Albany Memorial Hospital after a lengthy illness.