Roller Skates: A True Cultural Phenomenon

Updated on March 26, 2020
 Skating is a wonderful way for people to socialize with others. It is why so many young children and older individuals love skating.
Skating is a wonderful way for people to socialize with others. It is why so many young children and older individuals love skating. | Source

A Brief History of Roller Skates

The first ever roller skates were patented in 1760 by Belgian inventor John Joseph Merlin. His design was the first inline skate that consisted of wheels instead of blades. It was dubbed the first ice skate by industrial companies.

The Belgian inventor's new product was not very popular due in part to its lack of brakes, which made his skates hard to use.

In 1840, an opera house sponsored an event highlighting Merlin's new design, giving it some popularity as performers wore his skates on stage during an ice skating scene. The marketing strategy was successful as the design became popular among teens.

Another inventor created a better version of Merlin's original roller skates in 1863. James Plimpton's design was the first ever "rocking skate." It used a four wheel configuration for stability. His design also included independent axles which allowed a skater to move more freely and perform difficult edge turns.

Plimpton's invention became immensely popular throughout Europe and quickly gained global popularity. His new invention was dubbed "rinkomania" in 1870. His design is still in use today.

Roller Skates and Popular Culture

Roller skating eventually evolved from a social pass time to competitive sports which includes jam, roller derby, and inline skating, also known as modern day ice skating.

The cultural phenomenon began in the late 1800s and early 19th century with the development of skating rings. Its popularity peaked during the 1970s disco era. Roller skates became so popular that Hollywood production companies and advertisers began including them in their films and television commercials across the United States.

In the 1990s, skating lost some of its momentum but has now generated popularity again among young people due in part to its many sporting activities.

Roller skates are now also used in music videos.

Types of Roller Skates

There have been numerous variations of roller skates developed since Merlin's first design. These variations include speed, outdoor, indoor, and derby skates as well as rollerblades.

Derby Skates

Derby skates, also known as quad skates, are usually used in racing events and sports activities due in part to their durability. They allow racers to perform extremely hard turns and brakes.

Speed Skates

Speed skates are used for racing at super high speeds. They have a low boot cut design which are similar to tennis shoes. These skates feature speed style wheels and bearings that allow the skater to skate very fast.


Rollerblades are used in outdoor activities and as a cool hobby among teenagers and young adults. Their built-in safety straps allow skaters to skate at moderate speeds without falling. Their popularity spiked in the early 1990s. They are still very popular today as well.

Why Do Children and Adults Love Skating?

The thrill of skating has never gone out of style. It has become a hobby for many children and young adults. Roller skates are mostly preferred among small children due to their safety brakes. Many teenagers and adults use roller blades as their skating option because of its modern outdoor appeal and easy usage.

The young and old alike enjoy participating in skating rings and competitions. It really adds an incredible adrenaline rush to peoples daily lives. People love the idea of competing.

Roller skating is a super awesome sport that can bring an amazing amount of happiness to a person.

Ice skating rings across the world have hosted large crowds of people looking for a cool activity to enjoy with their family and friends. Skating is a wonderful way for people to socialize with others. It is why so many young children and older individuals love skating. The art of skating is quite addictive. People enjoy roller skating year round and rarely ever get tired of the activity.

The next time you find yourself near a skating ring or skating derby, try it out. You won't regret your choice of giving the cool sport a chance.

Do You Enjoy Skating?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Theblogchick profile imageAUTHOR


      17 months ago from United States

      Thanks Liz, I am trying to improve my grammar. I do appreciate your feedback and suggestions. Thanks again for commenting.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      17 months ago from UK

      Another craze a few years ago in the UK was a variation on roller skates. Trainers were made with small wheels embedded in the soles. When I first joined Hub Pages, another hubber advised downloading a free version of grammarly to help with spelling and grammar. I have found it very helpful. You might find it useful.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)