A Lesson in the History of Roller Skating

At Sparkles in Hiram, we love roller skating, there’s no questioning that. We believe a day spent on the roller rink with friends is a day well spent! But even we were surprised at some of these fun facts on how our favorite past time came to be.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Roller Skating

  • Roller skating has an interesting history!John Joseph Merlin, an inventor from Belgium, is credited for inventing the first primitive inline skate in 1760. The story goes that Merlin first wore his fun invention to a masquerade party in London. In an attempt to turn heads, he rode in on his skates while simultaneously playing a violin. Unfortunately, without the ability to turn, Merlin crashed into a mirror and suffered physical injuries and perhaps a bruised ego.
  • While many inventors tried their hand at inventing or improving the roller skate, it wasn’t until 1863 when James Leonard Plimpton created a four-wheeled skate with the ability to turn. Using springy carriages called trucks, people were now able to turn in either direction by simply leaning from side to side.
  • Plimpton’s successful invention lead to the first roller skating rinks opening in 1866 in New York City and then Newport, Rhode Island.
  • In the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s, roller skating became a significant part of American pop culture with the popularity of carhops at drive-ins. Television shows like Happy Days and films like American Graffiti featured this unique way of serving and solidified it’s “cool” status in American culture.
  • Today, roller skating has evolved from a fun pastime to a world of competitive sports. Different styles of skating have grown popular, including: artistic roller skating, dance and freestyle skating, team skate and speed skating. Other team sports including roller hockey and roller derby are also very popular.  

Come visit Paulding County’s favorite skate rink and enjoy a day of active fun with friends and family. Skating, laser tag, arcade games and more are waiting for you at Sparkles in Hiram!

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