The History of Roller Skating

Roller Skating Fresno and MaderaWhen you come out to Miracle Skate in Madera or Fresno to go roller skating, you simply put on your skates and you are ready for fun. But in the “olden days” it wasn’t quite so easy.

A Belgian inventor named Joseph Merlin introduced the first patented roller skate in 1760. After this other inventors produced some roller skate models, most with in-line wheels to imitate an ice skating blade.

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. Plimpton opened a skating club in New York where gentlemen enjoyed showing off for the ladies by doing fancy figures, steps and turns.

Within 20 years, roller skating had become a popular pastime for men and women. Roller skating contests began to increase. Indoors, wealthy gentlemen in Newport, Rhode Island, played “roller polo,” a hockey game. Others held contests in dance and figure skating. Outdoors, men and women were racing in speed contests. The more the public saw of skating, the more they wanted to try it themselves. Roller skating was soon enjoying its first boom.

Just before World War II, in 1937, a group of skating rink owners (one from Massachusetts: Fred Freeman) formed an association to promote roller skating and establish good business practices for skating rinks. The association is now almost 50 years old: The Roller Skating Rink Operators Association (RSROA).

The RSROA group is now known as the Roller Skating Association (RSA). Under the guidance of the RSROA, roller skating enjoyed steady growth through the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. It became known as a family activity that was good for everyone, an identity that it still has today.

In the 1970s, 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. And, the music and lighting at skating centers was modernized. By 1977, everyone was suddenly skating to disco music.

Roller skating is easy, inexpensive entertainment, so people of all ages make it a habit to meet friends, make new ones, play games and enjoy the music at their nearest skating center including Miracle Skate.

 

Image via wikipedia

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