Ever wondered what’s the history of those rollerblades aka inline skates you’ve been wearing and rolling since long?
Well, today we’ll be looking at it and get to know when the first rollerblades were invented.
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History of Rollerblades
It dates back to 1760s when the first ever pair of rollerblades/inline skates were invented. The pair had the typical boot mounted on wheels; however, the it only had a single line of wheels.
For more than a century, there wasn’t any change in the skates aesthetics but until 1819 in Paris when M.Petitbled patented the first roller skate.
He used three wheels in a row and for the next 40 years, nearly all the rollerblades manufactured had an in-line set of wheels. Though the number varied! Some skates had only two wheels while the premium ones had as many as six in their design.
After M.Petitbled, James Plimpton in 1863 reinvented the online skates. He modified the line of wheels and bring forth four wheels with two pairs set side by side. They were known as the quad skates.
The new design resulted in better control and ease of skating for beginners. Moreover, these skates got popular in the industry and dominated it. Majority of the companies during the era begin manufacturing rollerblades with inline set of wheels and with the same design.
Scott & Brennan Olsen Idea
Until about 1966, there wasn’t any dramatic change in rollerblades technology. However, Scott and Brennan Olsen, brothers from Minnesota found out older inline skates in sporting goods store and they remodeled it. The brothers had the idea that the new design would be perfect for the off-season hockey training.
Nonetheless, the brothers from Minnesota were soon manufacturing their first ever rollerblades in their parent’s basement.
They were a huge success. A lot of hockey players, alpine and Nordic skiers were found cruising on the streets of Minnesota with rollerblades invented by the two brothers.
Soon after that, Roller Blades were now a Generic Name. Many marketing campaigns spread the awareness in public who then began using rollerblades as a generic name for the inline skates being manufactured in the market. You can read more about it at our best rollerblades review!
Nowadays, there are possibly over 60+ manufacturers of inline skates. It is important to mention that Rollerblades were first ever credited having introduced the first polyurethane boot and wheels, whereas, Active Brake Technology and the first heels brakes and this made it easier for the users to stop easily and have a better control. There are more than 200 patents of Rollerblades with 116 registered trademarks and still growing.
Sneak Peek Of Rollerblades Timeline
Before we conclude our today’s discussion, let us take a quick look of rollerblades timeline throughout the years.
- 1819: The first ever rollerblades were patented by Petitbled
- 1863: James Plimpton gave the rollerblades a whole new look and invented the quad skates that became very popular worldwide
- 1905: John Jay Young invents the first ever adjustable roller skates
- 1966: The first ever inline boot skates are manufactured by Chicago Roller Skate Company
- 1980: Brothers from Minnesota found Rollerblade, Inc.
- 1983: The two brothers company Rollerblade, Inc. was now known as the only manufacturer of in-line skates for long time. The design still had some flaws. They were hard to put on, adjust and very prone to collecting dirt and moisture in their ball bearings. The wheels got damaged easily and many times the brakes would come off and the toe would get damaged. The brothers sold their company and the new owners invested a lump sum to improve the design. They worked on the flaws, improved the design, introduced better technology and stronger brakes.
- 1989: Rollerblade, Inc. manufactured Macro and Aeroblades models. These were known as the first skates fastened with three buckles instead of the long laces
- 1990: The Rollerblade, Inc. finally switched to glass-reinforced thermoplastic resin and replaced the polyurethane compounds and also decreased the weight of skates by nearly 50 percent
- 1993: Rollerblade, Inc. introduced Active Brake Technology, a fiberglass post and was attached at one end of the top boot and on the other end to a rubber brake with hinged chassis at its back wheel. This way, the skater just had to straighten one leg to stop simply by driving the post into the brake which hits the ground. Before the Active Brake Technology, skaters used to tilt their foot back in order to make the contact with the ground. However, the new design increased safety and made it better