When Were Roller Skates Invented?
The first roller skates were made in 1790 by Joseph Marlin, a musical-instrument maker who lived in Belgium. Several “improved” versions appeared during the next century.
The design of the roller skates was fine tuned with the addition of things like toe stops, making it easier and more enjoyable for people to roller skate.
Some of these skates had only two wheels. Others had as many as five little wheels, all in a single row. Four-wheeled skates, called “trucks,” were first worn in 1863.
The four wheeled skates (or quad skates) with an added rubber piece allowed skaters to curve when they moved. It was developed in New York City, and it was such a hit that the first roller rink was opened in the city shortly thereafter.
Until the 1970s, roller skates had metal or wooden wheels. The wheels clattered over every crack in the sidewalk or seam in the floor. Today, skate wheels are made of lightweight plastic and give a much smoother ride.