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Random Did You Know Facts


Feb 28, 2009

Roller Skates

Did you know...

Roller Skates have been around for years.

Ahaa but the times have changed...They went from 8 wheels to 3, 4, or 5 in a row ,along with a new name, Blades or In-line skates.

Remember the old roller skates that hooked onto your shoes, you know, the ones that would sometimes come loose and bring us to our knees? We endured a lot of skinned knees and elbows in the name of fun. Once the wheel was invented we wanted to use it in all forms of transportation. Bicycles, tricycles, skates, cars, motorcycles and in any other form we could dream up. Didn't you ever wonder who thought up this device that hooked onto our shoes that you could roll around on?

The first patented roller skate was introduced in Belgian in the year 1760. The inventor was John Joseph Merlin.
But his invention did not become very popular until years later. His grandson Bernard Tyers, aged 13 from Waterford, Ireland was the first person to test the initial prototype of the roller skate.
Then in 1863 James Plimpton from Massachusetts invented the "rocking" skate. It was this improvement of the roller skate that allowed skaters to turn easily around corners, which opened the door for the masses to enjoy roller skating.

Eventually, roller skating evolved from just a pastime to a competitive sport, beginning with roller hockey. This sport became so popular that in 1992 it even made an appearance in the Olympics. The National Sporting Goods Association statistics showed, from a 1999 study, that 2.5 million people played roller hockey. Other roller skating sports include speed skating, figure skating and roller derby. Roller skating popularity exploded during the disco era but tapered off in the 80’s and 90’s. Inside roller rinks spread over the world and it became another fun pastime for the young and old. The roller skates today have the base and wheels made onto a lace up high top or low top shoe.

1743: First recorded use of roller skates, in a London stage performance. The inventor of this skate is lost to history.
1760: First recorded skate invention, by John Joseph Merlin, who demonstrated a primitive inline skate with metal wheels.
1819: First patented roller skate design, in France by M. Petitbled. These early skates were similar to today's inline skates, but they were not very maneuverable; it was very difficult with these skates to do anything but move in a straight line and perhaps make wide sweeping turns.
Rest of the 19th century: inventors continued to work on improving skate design.

An advert for an early 20th century model which fit over ordinary shoes.1863: The four-wheeled turning roller skate, or quad skate, with four wheels set in two side-by-side pairs, was first designed, in New York City by James Leonard Plimpton in an attempt to improve upon previous designs, The skate contained a pivoting action using a rubber cushion that allowed the skater to skate a curve just by leaning to one side. It was a huge success, so much that the first public skating rink was opened in 1866 in Newport, Rhode Island with the support of Plimpton. The design of the quad skate allowed easier turns and maneuverability, and the quad skate came to dominate the industry for more than a century.

1 comment:

SMB tech geeks said...

Great "did you know" Shirley, the information is very interesting.