A brief history of inline skating
The first documented pair of roller skating was developed in 1735 by a Belgian craftsman and inventor named John Joseph Merlin. These early versions where very hard to ride with, because of course they didn’t have any form of shock absorbing mechanism or ball-bearings yet. Through the years several people developed various types of roller skates in attempts to replicate the streamlined speed and maneuverability of ice skates. It would take 200 years before this ground breaking innovation finally was achieved. Even as late as 1960, the Chicago Skate Company attempted to market an inline skate that looked much like today’s skate, but it did’t offer sufficient comfort, stability or a reliable brake.
The Chicago inline skate did however played a key role in the evolution of what is now globally known as inline skating. About ten years after the introduction of the Chicago inline skate, a young Minneapolis ice hockey player named Scott Olson was seeking ways to stay fit and exercise during those short periods when ice is scarce in Minnesota. He bought the skates, and crafted them with better wheels and a heel brake. In 1984, Olson’s small and modest company was taken over by Minneapolis businessman Bob Naegele, Jr., which eventually became Rollerblade, Inc. Even though Rollerblade was not the first company to manufacture roller skates, it was the first one that offered comfortable skates with a reliable and easy-to-implement brakes. These improvements lead to fast growing popularity, far outside of the initial domain of hockey players and shortly roller skating was introduced to and enjoyed by the millions of people worldwide who inline-skate nowadays.