Roller skate:Niitaka Roller Skates


The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play

Although roller skates first appeared around the beginning of the 19th century, they had one distinct problem: they didn't allow the skater to turn. Skating took off in 1863, however, after James Plimpton of New York developed skates with rotatable wheels. In 1864 the Barney & Berry Company of Springfield, Massachusetts, developed the first metal clamp-on skates with wooden wheels and adjustable metal platforms that could be attached to just about any pair of shoes. By the time the company made this pair in the late 1870s, skating rinks with hard wooden floors were in place all over the country. For a small admission price of 25 or 50 cents, men, women, and children could participate in races, fancy skating, and even skate-dancing. In the 1880s Chicago and New York were home to large skating rinks that could accommodate thousands of visitors. Like ice-skating and, later, bicycling, roller-skating offered a socially acceptable activity for young couples at a time when Victorian etiquette forbade too much intimacy between unmarried men and women. In the 1890s the popularity of roller skates gave way to bicycles, which allowed young people to escape more easily from watchful chaperones.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: Roller skate:Niitaka Roller Skates
  • Creator: Niitaka
  • Date Created: ca.1970s
  • Subject Keywords: sport
  • Type: Outdoor Games, Sports
  • Medium: printed cardboard, fabric, metal, rubber
  • Object ID: 113.4096
  • Credit Line: Gift of Mary-Ellen Earl Perry