The History of Roller-skating

We know you love to glide around the rink on eight wheels, but did you know how the history of roller-skating began? Here are a few little tidbits that you might not know:

A Belgian inventor named Joseph Merlin introduced the world to the first patented roller skate in 1760.

In 1819, a Frenchman named Monsieur Petitbled invented, and officially patented his new roller skate design, which were in-line skates with three wheels made of wood, metal or deluxe ivory.

In 1863, James Plimpton, a businessman from Massachusetts invented a roller skate that could turn. It was called a “rocking” skate – the first one that really let people skate curves and turn. Mr. Plimpton opened a skating club in New York where gentlemen enjoyed showing off for the ladies by doing fancy figures, steps and turns. Because of the huge revolution of his invention, Mr. Plimpton was called “the father of modern roller-skating.”

In 1908, Madison Square Gardens in New York became a skating rink. Hundreds of rink openings in the United States and Europe followed. The sport was becoming very popular and various versions of roller skating developed: recreational skating on indoor and outdoor rinks, polo skating, ballroom roller dancing and competitive speed skating.

old skates

In the 1970’s, there was a big improvement in roller-skating. Skating floors became easier to care for because of plastic coatings. Plastic skate wheels for smoother, easier, safer skating became the standard. It was also during the 1970’s that roller-skating teamed up with disco music to create a craze that dominated much of American culture.

In the 1990’s, inline skates hit the market full force. Inline skates allowed for a much smoother ride outdoors and became an instant hit with many skaters.

So as you can see, roller-skating has had quite the historical journey! Come on in to Sparkles Family Fun Center in Hiram today and participate in one of America’s longest-rolling pastimes!

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