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Roller Blades

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, it is time to put the good old roller blades on and skate on down to the beach.

When was the first roller blade produced?
The first person to be credited with creating roller blades is a man named Merlin. Approximately two hundred and fifty years ago while living in Belgium, Merlin replaced the blades of skates and affixed wheels to the bottom of them. Unfortunately for Merlin he forgot about a braking system and was severely inured when he first tried his new invention.
As time passed people continued to refine the roller blade. By the 1840’s Roller-skating had become a big hit in Europe. In addition to recreational pursuits, one of the first examples of a roller skating waitress is documented in a small bar in Berlin Germany.
In the early 1900’s Roller-skating came to America and roller-skating became a very popular hobby. Whole families would have roller night. The number of roller rinks increased dramatically and there are still many rinks scattered across America and the world.

To further trace the history of the roller blade you first have to look at surfing. In the early days of surfing people were looking for a fast and inexpensive way to move around the paved areas of the beach. Roller-skates was a logical choice. Roller-skating at the beach and worldwide is still to this day extremely popular. As the surfers adopted the roller-skates they started to think of different ways to use the wheels. Skateboarding is an offshoot of roller-skating.

The big leap forward for Roller Blades came when two hockey playing brothers from Minnesota need a way to train in the off season. The brothers created one line of wheels to help duplicate the feeling of the single blade on an ice skate.

Today there are over twenty companies producing Roller blades with revenues of over one billion dollars per year. I bet they thank Merlin.