Where would we be without roller skating? It’s such a fun-filled activity, plus it helps you burn calories! To celebrate National Roller Skating Skate Month, we are going to take you back in time to see the history of skating.
The History of Roller Skating
Roller skating was originally referred to as “dry land skating.”
In the 1700s, it all began in Holland, where ice skating was a popular sport and travel method. One summer day, a dutchman decided he wanted to ice skate on land. Little did he know, he was creating one of the most popular recreational activities today. He created the skates by nailing wooden spools and strips of wood to his shoes. The mystery man called his invention “skeelers”, and unfortunately is unknown to the world for creating his famous invention.
Making a Grand Entrance
The next sighting we have of roller skates was an appearance made by John Joseph Merlin, a musician and inventor. He wanted to be the star of the show, so he invented “metal-wheeled boots” to make a grand entrance at a masquerade party. Merlin’s initial plan was to skate in on his fiddle, but without practice at the rink like we have today, he skated right into a mirrored wall. Talk about making an entrance!
The Patent Created
In 1819, we finally see someone stake a claim on the famous invention of roller skates. French man, Monsieur Petibledin created a boot with a wooden sole, having 2-4 wheels connected in a single line on the bottom. The wheels could be made of wood, copper, or ivory based on your preference.
Throughout the 1800s people used skates for performances like the roller ballet, to help barmaids or waitresses serve fast(er) food, and as a social activity. The first public roller rink opened in London, 1857. American inventor James Plimpton created our traditional roller skates by placing a pair of wheels under the ball of the foot and adding a pair of wheels under the heel. This 1863 invention created the modern-day roller skate, allowing for better balance with the equal distribution of wheels.
By the 20th century, roller skating was getting more and more popular. A rink opened up in Chicago and over 7,000 people came to opening night! Madison Square Garden had a rink of its own and plenty of other roller activities were created. Roller skating became a sport and recreational activity; people enjoyed activities like skating at the rink, ballroom roller dancing, and speed skating. In the 1960s, the modern-day plastic wheels we all know and love made an appearance, making roller skating a much smoother experience. We later saw a major redesign of quad skates for roller hockey in 1979 – 1983, giving birth to the inline skate (known by its most popular brand, Rollerblade). And who can forget the disco days? From 1970-1980, everyone was getting their boogie on at the rink.
Roller skating has become a go-to family fun activity. Whether for a birthday party, school fundraiser, or roller skating lesson, Southwestern Skate has everything you need to create great memories. Ready to celebrate National Roller Skating Month? Grab your friends and family and hit the rink!