Roller Skating • 1743: First recorded use of roller skates, in a London stage performance. The inventor of this skate is unknown. • 1760: First recorded skate invention, by John Joseph Merlin, who created a primitive inline skate with small metal wheels. • 1818: Roller skates appeared on the ballet stage in Berlin. • 1819: First patented roller skate design, in France by M. Petitbled. These early skates were similar to today's inline skates, but they were not very maneuverable. It was difficult with these skates to do anything but move in a straight line and perhaps make wide sweeping turns. • Rest of the 19th century: inventors continued to work on improving skate design. • 1823: Robert John Tyers of London patented a skate called the Rolito. This skate had five wheels in a single row on the bottom of a shoe or boot • 1857: Finally, roller skating had gained enough momentum to warrant the opening of the first public skating rinks. The Strand, London and Floral Hall had these first roller rinks. • 1863: The four-wheeled turning roller skate, or quad skate, with four wheels set in two side-by-side pairs (front and rear), was first designed, in New York City by James Leonard Plimpton in an attempt to improve upon previous designs. The skate contained a pivoting action using a rubber cushion that allowed the skater to skate a curve just by pressing his weight to one side or the other, most commonly by leaning to one side. It was a huge success, so much so that the first public roller skating rinks were opened in 1866, first in New York City by Plimpton in his furniture store and then in Newport, Rhode Island with the support of Plimpton. The design of the quad skate allowed easier turns and maneuverability, and the quad skate came to dominate the industry for more than a century. • 1875 Roller skating rink in Plymouth, England held its first competition. • 1876: William Brown in Birmingham, England, patented a design for the wheels of roller skates. Brown's design embodied his effort to keep the two bearing surfaces of an axle, fixed and moving, apart. Brown worked closely with Joseph Henry Hughes, who drew up the patent for a ball or roller bearing race for bicycle and carriage wheels in 1877. Hughes' patent included all the elements of an adjustable system. These two men are thus responsible for modern roller skate and skateboard wheels, as well as the ball bearing race inclusion in velocipedes—later to become motorbikes and automobiles. This was arguably the most important advance in the realistic use of roller skates as a pleasurable pastime. • 1876: The toe stop was first patented. This provided skaters with the ability to stop promptly upon tipping the skate onto the toe. Toe stops are still used today on most quad skates and on some types of inline skates. • 1877: The Royal Skating indoor skating ring building is erected rue Veydt, Brussels. • 1880s: Roller skates were being mass-produced in America from then. This was the sport's first of several boom periods. Micajah C. Henley of Richmond, Indiana produced thousands of skates every week during peak sales. Henley skates were the first skate with adjustable tension via a screw, the ancestor of the kingbolt mechanism on modern quad skates. • 1884: Levant M. Richardson received a patent for the use of steel ball bearings in skate wheels to reduce friction, allowing skaters to increase speed with minimum effort. • 1898: Richardson started the Richardson Ball Bearing and Skate Company, which provided skates to most professional skate racers of the time, including Harley Davidson (no relation to the Harley-Davidson motorcycle brand). (Turner and Zaidman, 1997). • The design of the quad skate has remained essentially unchanged since then, and remained as the dominant roller skate design until nearly the end of the 20th century. The quad skate has begun to make a comeback recently due to the popularity of roller derby and jam skating. • 1900: The Peck & Snyder Company patented an inline skate with two wheels. • 1902: The Chicago Coliseum opened a public skating rink. Over 7,000 people attended the opening night. • 1935: The Chicago Coliseum hosts the first Transcontinental Roller Derby with a pair of men and women and Chicago becomes the birthplace of roller derby. • 1937: Roller skating the sport was organized nationally by the Roller Skate Rink Owner's Association and the onset of roller skating's golden age • 1977: Inline skates looking like ice skates were used by DEFA, the East German state film studio, in the film "Die zertanzten Schuhe", based on the fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses, in some winter scenes on a frozen lake. • 1979: Scott Olson and Brennan Olson of Minneapolis, Minnesota came across a pair of inline skates created in the 1960s by the Chicago Roller Skate Company and, seeing the potential for off-ice hockey training, set about redesigning the skates using modern materials and attaching ice hockey boots. A few years later Scott Olson began heavily promoting the skates and launched the company Rollerblade, Inc.. • 1983 President Ronald Reagan declared October National Roller Skating Month. • 1993 - Active Brake Technology, Rollerblade, Inc. developed ABT or Active Brake Technology for increased safety. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Rollerblade-branded skates became so successful that they inspired many other companies to create similar inline skates, and the inline design became more popular than the traditional quads. The Rollerblade skates became synonymous in the minds of many with "inline skates" and skating, so much so that many people came to call any form of skating "Rollerblading," thus making it a genericized trademark. For much of the 1980s and into the 1990s, inline skate models typically sold for general public use employed a hard plastic boot, similar to ski boots. In or about 1995, "soft boot" designs were introduced to the market, primarily by the sporting goods firm K2 Inc., and promoted for use as fitness skates. Other companies quickly followed, and by the early 2000s the development of hard shell skates and skeletons became primarily limited to the Aggressive inline skating discipline and other specialized designs. • The single-wheel "quintessence skate" was made in 1988 by Miyshael F. Gailson of Caples Lake Resort, California, for the purpose of cross-country skate skiing and telemark skiing training. Other experimental skate designs the years have included two wheeled (heel and toe) inline skate frames but the vast majority of skates on the market today are either quad or standard inline design.
Research suggests that the earliest ice skating happened in southern Finland more than 4,000 years ago. This was done to save energy during winter journeys. True skating emerged when a steel blade with sharpened edges was used. Skates now cut into the ice instead of gliding on top of it. Adding edges to ice skates was invented by the Dutch in the 13th or 14th century. These ice skates were made of steel, with sharpened edges on the bottom to aid movement. The fundamental construction of modern ice skates has stayed largely the same since then, although differing greatly in the details, particularly in the method of binding and the shape and construction of the steel blades. In the Netherlands, ice skating was considered proper for all classes of people, as shown in many pictures by the Old Masters. Ice skating was also practiced in China during the Song dynasty, and became popular among the ruling family of the Qing dynasty. Ice skating was brought to Britain from the Netherlands, where James II was briefly exiled in the 17th century. When he returned to England, this 'new' sport was introduced to the British aristocracy, and was soon enjoyed by people from all walks of life. The first organised skating club was the Edinburgh Skating Club, formed in the 1740s, (some claim the club was established as early as 1642). An early contemporary reference to the club appeared in the second edition (1783) of the Encyclopædia Britannica: The metropolis of Scotland has produced more instances of elegant skaters than perhaps any country whatever: and the institution of a skating club about 40 years ago has contributed not a little to the improvement of this elegant amusement. From this description and others, it is apparent that the form of skating practiced by club members was indeed an early form of figure skating rather than speed skating. For admission to the club, candidates had to pass a skating test where they performed a complete circle on either foot (e.g., a figure eight), and then jumped over first one hat, then two and three, placed over each other on the ice. On the Continent, participation in ice skating was limited to members of the upper classes. Emperor Rudolf II of the Holy Roman Empire enjoyed ice skating so much, he had a large ice carnival constructed in his court in order to popularise the sport. King Louis XVI of France brought ice skating to Paris during his reign. Madame de Pompadour, Napoleon I, Napoleon III and the House of Stuart were, among others, royal and upper class fans of ice skating. The next skating club to be established was in London and was not founded until 1830. By the mid-19th century, ice skating was a popular pastime among the British upper and middle classes—Queen Victoria became acquainted with her future husband, Prince Albert, through a series of ice skating trips—and early attempts at the construction of artificial ice rinks were made during the "rink mania" of 1841–44. As the technology for the maintenance of natural ice did not exist, these early rinks used a substitute consisting of a mixture of hog's lard and various salts. An item in the 8 May 1844 issue of Littell's 'Living Age' headed the 'Glaciarium' reported that "This establishment, which has been removed to Grafton street East' Tottenham Court Road, was opened on Monday afternoon. The area of artificial ice is extremely convenient for such as may be desirous of engaging in the graceful and manly pastime of skating". Skating became popular as a recreation, a means of transport and spectator sport in The Fens in England for people from all walks of life. Racing was the preserve of workers, most of them agricultural labourers. It is not known when the first skating matches were held, but by the early nineteenth century racing was well established and the results of matches were reported in the press. Skating as a sport developed on the lakes of Scotland and the canals of the Netherlands. In the 13th and 14th centuries wood was substituted for bone in skate blades, and in 1572 the first iron skates were manufactured. When the waters froze, skating matches were held in towns and villages all over the Fens. In these local matches men (or sometimes women or children) would compete for prizes of money, clothing or food. The winners of local matches were invited to take part in the grand or championship matches, in which skaters from across the Fens would compete for cash prizes in front of crowds of thousands. The championship matches took the form of a Welsh main or "last man standing" contest. The competitors, 16 or sometimes 32, were paired off in heats and the winner of each heat went through to the next round. A course of 660 yards was measured out on the ice, and a barrel with a flag on it placed at either end. For a one-and-a-half mile race the skaters completed two rounds of the course, with three barrel turns. In the Fens skates were called pattens, fen runners, or Whittlesey runners. The footstock was made of beechwood. A screw at the back was screwed into the heel of the boot, and three small spikes at the front kept the skate steady. There were holes in the footstock for leather straps to fasten it to the foot. The metal blades were slightly higher at the back than the front. In the 1890s, fen skaters started to race in Norwegian style skates. On Saturday 1 February 1879, a number of professional ice skaters from Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire met in the Guildhall, Cambridge, to set up the National Skating Association, the first national ice skating body in the world. The founding committee consisted of several landowners, a vicar, a fellow of Trinity College, a magistrate, two Members of Parliament, the mayor of Cambridge, the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridge, journalist James Drake Digby, the president of Cambridge University Skating Club, and Neville Goodman, a graduate of Peterhouse, Cambridge (and son of Potto Brown's milling partner, Joseph Goodman). The newly formed Association held their first one-and-a-half-mile British professional championship at Thorney in December 1879. The first instructional book concerning ice skating was published in London in 1772. The book, written by a British artillery lieutenant, Robert Jones, describes basic figure skating forms such as circles and figure eights. The book was written solely for men, as women did not normally ice skate in the late 18th century. It was with the publication of this manual that ice skating split into its two main disciplines, speed skating and figure skating. The founder of modern figure skating as it is known today was Jackson Haines, an American. He was the first skater to incorporate ballet and dance movements into his skating, as opposed to focusing on tracing patterns on the ice. Haines also invented the sit spin and developed a shorter, curved blade for figure skating that allowed for easier turns. He was also the first to wear blades that were permanently attached to the boot. The International Skating Union was founded in 1892 as the first international ice skating organisation in Scheveningen, in the Netherlands. The Union created the first codified set of figure skating rules and governed international competition in speed and figure skating. The first Championship, known as the Championship of the Internationale Eislauf-Vereingung, was held in Saint Petersburg in 1896. The event had four competitors and was won by Gilbert Fuchs.
Evidence that curling existed in Scotland in the early 16th century includes a curling stone inscribed with the date 1511 found (along with another bearing the date 1551) when an old pond was drained at Dunblane, Scotland. The world's oldest curling stone and the world's oldest football are now kept in the same museum (the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum) in Stirling. The first written reference to a contest using stones on ice coming from the records of Paisley Abbey, Renfrewshire, in February 1541. Two paintings, "Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap" and "The Hunters in the Snow" (both dated 1565) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder depict Flemish peasants curling, albeit without brooms; Scotland and the Low Countries had strong trading and cultural links during this period, which is also evident in the history of golf. The word curling first appears in print in 1620 in Perth, Scotland, in the preface and the verses of a poem by Henry Adamson. The sport was (and still is, in Scotland and Scottish-settled regions like southern New Zealand) also known as "the roaring game" because of the sound the stones make while traveling over the pebble (droplets of water applied to the playing surface). The verbal noun curling is formed from the Scots (and English) verb curl, which describes the motion of the stone. Kilsyth Curling Club claims to be the first club in the world, having been formally constituted in 1716; it is still in existence today. Kilsyth also claims the oldest purpose-built curling pond in the world at Colzium, in the form of a low dam creating a shallow pool some 100 by 250 metres (330 by 820 ft) in size. The International Olympic Committee recognises the Royal Caledonian Curling Club (founded as the Grand Caledonian Curling Club in 1838) as developing the first official rules for the sport. In the early history of curling, the playing stones were simply flat-bottomed stones from rivers or fields, which lacked a handle and were of inconsistent size, shape and smoothness. Some early stones had holes for a finger and the thumb, akin to ten-pin bowling balls. Unlike today, the thrower had little control over the 'curl' or velocity and relied more on luck than on precision, skill and strategy. The sport was often played on frozen rivers although purpose-built ponds were later created in many Scottish towns. In Darvel, East Ayrshire, the weavers relaxed by playing curling matches using the heavy stone weights from the looms' warp beams, fitted with a detachable handle for the purpose. Many a wife would keep her husband's brass curling stone handle on the mantelpiece, brightly polished until the next time it was needed. Central Canadian curlers often used 'irons' rather than stones until the early 1900s; Canada is the only country known to have done so, while others experimented with wood or ice-filled tins. Outdoor curling was very popular in Scotland between the 16th and 19th centuries because the climate provided good ice conditions every winter. Scotland is home to the international governing body for curling, the World Curling Federation in Perth, which originated as a committee of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, the mother club of curling. Today, the sport is most firmly established in Canada, having been taken there by Scottish emigrants. The Royal Montreal Curling Club, the oldest established sports club still active in North America, was established in 1807. The first curling club in the United States was established in 1830, and the sport was introduced to Switzerland and Sweden before the end of the 19th century, also by Scots. Today, curling is played all over Europe and has spread to Brazil, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China, and Korea. The first world championship for curling was limited to men and was known as the Scotch Cup, held in Falkirk and Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1959. The first world title was won by the Canadian team from Regina, Saskatchewan, skipped by Ernie Richardson. (The skip is the team member who calls the shots; see below.) Curling was one of the first sports that was popular with women and girls. Curling has been a medal sport in the Winter Olympic Games since the 1998 Winter Olympics. It currently includes men's, women's and mixed doubles tournaments (the mixed doubles event was held for the first time in 2018). In February 2002, the International Olympic Committee retroactively decided that the curling competition from the 1924 Winter Olympics (originally called Semaine des Sports d'Hiver, or International Winter Sports Week) would be considered official Olympic events and no longer be considered demonstration events. Thus, the first Olympic medals in curling, which at the time was played outdoors, were awarded for the 1924 Winter Games, with the gold medal won by Great Britain, two silver medals by Sweden, and the bronze by France. A demonstration tournament was also held during the 1932 Winter Olympic Games between four teams from Canada and four teams from the United States, with Canada winning 12 games to 4. Since the sport's official addition in the 1998 Olympics, Canada has dominated the sport with their men's teams winning gold in 2006, 2010, and 2014, and silver in 1998 and 2002. The women's team won gold in 1998 and 2014, a silver in 2010, and a bronze in 2002 and 2006. The mixed doubles team won gold in 2018.