Wednesday, May 7, 2008


The idea of putting wheels on shoes to create the first roller skate goes back to a London inventor in 1763. But it wasn’t until the 1860s that the introduction of skate wheels with separate fixed and moving axles and that remarkable Industrial age invention, ball bearings, made for a smoother ride. Soon, roller-skating was a popular pastime for Victorians. Figure roller-skating became fashionable in the 1920s flapper era and continued right up until the disco era as a fun thing for couples to do together, or as a chance to meet someone. Rollerblades, or inline skates, invented by two hockey-crazed Minnesota brothers in 1979, changed everything with their 4 or 5 wheels arranged in a line. Imitating ice skate blades, they revolutionized the sport and, as host Jeff Douglas finds, visiting experts and fans in Toronto, Mississauga, Thornhill, Cambridge, and Decatur and Stone Mountain, Georgia, have led to an explosion of skating sports and pastimes, including figure roller-skating and inline dancing, trick blade, in-line speed skating, inline hockey, and even the re-emergence of the women’s roller-derby.

1 comment:

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