A Quick Look Into the History of Quad Roller Skates

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Published: 04th July 2012
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Are you a big fan of roller skating? Or is there someone in your family who is crazy about roller skates? If so, perhaps you need to know a little more about roller skating than the common info that it is just footwear with four wheels attached to it. In fact, there are a lot of cool and amusing facts behind this little invention that became one of the integral parts of extreme sports later. If you have already been practicing roller skating you would know that there are two main types: quad roller skates and inline roller skates. While quad skates have two wheels on the front and two wheels on the back, inline skates, as its name indicates, have four wheels in a single line.

Letís check out more about quad roller skates, as they are more common and ideal for all, especially if you are planning to purchase a set for a beginner or a child. The credit of introducing the quad skates to the world belongs to James Leonard Plimpton in New York City in 1863. Plimpton was trying to improvise on the existing roller skates, and his attempt obviously turned out a success for it stood supreme among roller skates for almost a century. In fact, quad roller skates are still popular among youngsters who are beginning to learn roller skating. Even parents of little children prefer quad skates for the ease and manoeuvrability that they provide. They became such a hit that even a new, and the first of its kind, public skating rink was opened in 1866 in Rhode Island.

Once it made its appearance among the youth of the era, quad roller skates went through several changes to become what it is today. For example, in 1876, in Birmingham, England, there was a new design for the wheels of roller skates where two bearing surfaces of an axle, moving and fixed, were kept apart. This feat was achieved by William Bown with the support of Joseph Henry Hughes. It is Hughes who drew up the patent for a ball bearing race for carriage and bicycle wheels in 1877. The motorbikes and automobiles that we see around us today evolved from the efforts of these two gentlemen.

The next development was the toe stop that helps the skaters to stop the skate by tipping the skate to the toe. The toe stop, which was introduced in 1876, became one of the inevitable parts of roller skates and despite the various changes that came to skates in the coming years, toe stop remained so for a long time to come. In fact, even now you can find them on quad roller skates of today and even on a few types of inline skates.

It didnít take long time for this cool item of entertainment to become a rage among the youth. In the 1880s, roller skates started getting manufactured in huge numbers to meet the public demand. Besides the fun part of it, these skates were also becoming a convenient and cheap way to commute. It is the name of Micajah C. Henley, who belonged to Richmond in Indiana, that became famous first as the seller of quad roller skates. Also, his skates were the first to have adjustable tension with the help of a screw that later led to the kingbolt mechanism used on roller skates of today.

Next came the steel ball bearings in the wheels of roller skates in 1884 in order to reduce friction as well as to increase the speed. This brings us to Richardson Ball Bearing and Skate Company that started providing roller skates with the steel ball bearing. Richardsonís skates have had millions of customers, including professional skaters of the time. Ever since then, the basic design of quad roller skates has remained the same for a long time.

Today, quad roller skates come in various designs and styles. They cater to all types of skaters, boys and girls of all ages. Not only are they seen on roads in residential areas but also for skate racing, which has become a favourite rage for many youngsters of today.

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