Monday, July 23, 2018


As a kid I loved going to the local roller skating rink. I would have lived there 24/7 if I could. I couldn’t get enough. Sadly, I was a child with little to no money, so I was able to only go occasionally. I would go with my sister and my friends. I skated every minute I could. Was I an awesome skater? Not even close, but I had fun, fun, fun. 

Until recently, I never really thought about when roller skating began. The 70s? The 60s? The 50s? If you guessed the 40s, give yourself a gold star. That would be the 1740s.

In 1743, a London stage performance had the first recorded use of roller skates. These early roller skates were inline style with the wheels taking the place of the blades on ice skates. These skates worked well to simulate ice skating on a stage where having a large, frozen pool of water would be difficult.

I always thought that inline skates came after the four-wheeled side-by-side ones. But apparently they came before, in the middle of, and after.

In 1760, Belgian John Joseph Merlin invented a primitive inline skate with metal wheels. They were hard to steer and had no braking ability. (No brakes! Were they crazy?)

In 1818, roller skates made an appearance on a Berlin ballet stage.

In 1819, Frenchman M. Petitbled had the first patent for an inline roller-skate design. They weren’t very maneuverable, straight ahead or a wide, sweeping turn. (So people were using these early inline skates for seventy-five years or so before someone patented one of them?) Regardless of patents, people loved skating. Inventors worked for the next several decades to improve roller skates.

Having gained popularity, the first public roller skating rink was opened in London in 1857. (With skates that were difficult to turn and stop? I’m a bit surprised.)

In 1863, James Leonard Plimpton designed the first turning, duel-axel, four-wheeled skate, a pair of wheels side-by-side in front and in back, often referred to as a quad-skate. (I guess because the early inline skates had only two wheels.) By shifting a skater’s weight from one side to the other, the skater could turn. (Now we’re talking.) These proved to be such a success that the first U.S. public roller skating rink opened in New York City in 1866 by Plimpton himself. 

In 1876, the toe stop was patented. Skaters could now stop by tipping the skate forward onto the toe. (Now, we’re talking. I always used my toe stop a lot.) 

In the 1880s, America mass-produced roller skates and public rinks were popping up everywhere. People loved this form of entertainment and exercise.

In 1900, an inline skate with two wheels was patented by Peck& Snyder Company.

In 1902, 7,000 people attended the opening of the Chicago Coliseum public rink. (That would have been very crowded. I think I would have waited for a less busy time.)

In 1911, Paris hosted a 24-hour roller skating endurance competition. (That could have been fun.)

Various forms of roller skating and roller skates have come and gone over the decades; in rinks, on the streets, inline, quad, skates you could strap to your regular shoes. In recent years, there were even regular shoes with a wheel in each heel so a person could walk or roll. Inline skates became very popular in recent decades, but the quad-skates are making a comeback.

Whether inline skates or quad-skates, people have loved skating for over 250 years. I never would have guessed roller skating went back so far.

I tried inline skates as an adult but didn’t like them. I felt as though my ankles were too weak or something. I prefer the old fashion quad-skates. But then inline skates are even more old fashion.

Did you roller skate as a kid? Do you still? Do you prefer inline or quad?

THE WIDOW'S PLIGHT ~ A sweet historical romance that will tug at your heart. This is book 1 in the Quilting Circle series.
Washington State, 1893
     When Lily Lexington Bremmer arrives in Kamola with her young son, she’s reluctant to join the social center of her new community, the quilting circle, but the friendly ladies pull her in. She begins piecing a sunshine and shadows quilt because it mirrors her life. She has a secret that lurks in the shadows and hopes it doesn’t come out into the light. Dark places in her past are best forgotten, but her new life is full of sunshine. Will her secrets cast shadows on her bright future?
     Widower Edric Hammond and his father are doing their best to raise his two young daughters. He meets Lily and her son when they arrive in town and helps her find a job and a place to live. Lily resists Edric’s charms at first but finds herself falling in love with this kind, gentle man and his two darling daughters. Lily has stolen his heart with her first warm smile, but he’s cautious about bringing another woman into his girls’ lives due to the harshness of their own mother.
     Can Edric forgive Lily her past to take hold of a promising chance at love?

THE WIDOW'S PLIGHT is now available at a low, pre-order price. This book releases in ebook on July 1, and will be out in paperback by mid-June.

#ChristianRomance #HistoricalRomance #Romance

MARY DAVIS is a bestselling, award-winning novelist of over two dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. She has five titles releasing in 2018; "Holly & Ivy" in A Bouquet of Brides Collection in January, Courting Her Amish Heart in March, The Widow’s Plight in July, Courting Her Secret Heart September, & “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in MISSAdventure Brides Collection in December. She is a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.

Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-three years and two cats. She has three adult children and one incredibly adorable grandchild. Find her online at:
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  1. What a fun post! I only went roller skating once or twice as a kid. The only kind of skates available at the rink were similar to bowling shoes; unfashionable and ugly. But it was fun.

  2. Oh boy did I roller skate! I went skating any chance I got, loved the 'dance' skating. I even worked in a skating rink for a while when I was 14-15, at the concessions stand. We moved to where there was no rink for about 4 1/2 years. When we moved back, right before my high school graduation, I picked it right back up. Within 7 months I met my husband (of 47 years now) and 5 months after that we were married. I liked to take note of the fact that my aunt, my mom's sister, met her husband roller skating too and they got married the year I was born, just an interesting fact for me.

    wfnren at aol dot com

  3. I never learned to roller skate. When I was a little girl, my best friends had skates and I enjoyed watching them skate.

  4. Interesting post! I only went skating a few times as a child and it was always for a group activity--like church youth or 4-H club.

  5. I had my own white shoe skates when I was a teenager. I loved rollerskating and spent every Friday night I could at the Fair Park Skating Rink in Dallas. I started out with metal ones attached to my oxfords and skated everywhere in the neighborhood. My shoe skates were a Christmas gift when I was 13. Somehow in all confusion of our moving around then going off to college, they disappeared.

    I've never tried in-line skating, and at my age, I don't even think about skating. Last time I tried, I almost broke my arm, but then, I was doing what I did as a teenager and not what I should do as a then 55 year old grandmother. Every time I see a skating rink today, my heart lurches and the memories come flitting through my mind.

    Like Wendy, I met some interesting guys while skating and met my husband of 58 years at a skating party for the College and Career Young People department at church here in Houston. Oh, wow, reading this brought back so many great memories . . . the music, the sounds, the people . . . great. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  6. I never did learn to skate. Growing up in a small, beach town there wasn't many places for one to skate.

    Thank you for the fun post!