Roller Skates - History of Roller Skates

Roller Skates

The most well known activity performed while on a pair of roller skates is slipping and falling down. Still, though, each day people stand back up and keep rolling as the activity provides great fun and exercise, even with the occasional broken bone.

The idea for the first roller skate came about in Holland during the early 1700s. At the time ice-skating was a common form of travel within the numerous winding canals, but it was harder to travel by land. Therefore he designed shoes that contained spools nailed to strips of wood to allow for dry land skating. They were named "Skeelers".

As this invention moved West, these dry skates were introduced into London and Berlin. By 1818 there were even roller ballets occurring in Berlin, using dry skates to replace the need for ice-skating scenes during the performance. The skates even began being used by barmaids to serve patrons in large German beer halls.

Although roller skates had been used for decades, the first patent was awarded in 1819 in France to Monsieur Petibledin. This skate much more resembled the modern version of today, with two to four rollers attached to a wooden sole of a boot.

Finally, this design made its way to America by 1863, when advancements added by James Plimptom allowed for a much sturdier and stable pair of skates. These skates were the first to allow the skaters to turn and skate backwards.

Soon after the invention of these more maneuverable skates, the world began opening up its first skating rinks. By 1902, Chicago had opened the Coliseum skating rink, with over 7,000 people showing up for the opening night. After this success, other skating rinks opened throughout the country, as the sport became more and more popular.

Today, roller skates have mainly been replaced by the more modern roller blades, however use of these olden skates can still be found in rinks throughout the country. Of course these modern version are typically made with plastic, instead of the less comfortable wood designs of previous years. Due to the disco fad of the 1970s and 1980s, over 4,000 roller-discos were opened, allowing for the growth of roller skates into the nation's society. This strong foundation provides a secure base for the continued existence of roller skates for many years to come.

Related Links: