Roller Skating: A Brief History

We all know that roller skating is fun, but do you know their history? Skates themselves have been around since the 18th century. The first recorded skates were in 1743, but they were not patented until 1760. These were similar to the inline skates we know today. The quad skates were patented by James Plimpton in 1860’s. After the success of this skate design, he turned his furniture store into the first public skating rink. Roller_skating_c_1905

Over the next century, the popularity of skating had highs and lows. It spiked in the 1930’s and lasted to the 1960’s as a favorite pastime of Americans. It hit another spike in the 1970’s with new inventions and the disco era. The disco era was a huge spike for the popularity of skating as it was featured in ads and movies. 

In 1980’s, the design of inline skates was improved by the now Rollerblade® company. It became a household name and every 80’s and 90’s kid wanted them. Many movies targeted towards kids were made that increased the popularity of the roller-skating including Disney Channel’s Brink!
 Many sports have been developed that use skates. Roller hockey was started as analternative way to practice Ice Hockey. It evolved into Street Hockey. Another sport is Roller Derby. Believe it or not, Roller Derby has been around since the 1930’s and has been gaining popularity recently, probably due to the 90’s kids growing up and the movie Whip it. 

Roller skating is one hobby that remains steadily popular, with a few spikes here and there, and seems to be one trend that isn’t going away. So now you know, a brief history and it’s time to get out and skate!


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