Roller Skating History
These days you simply come to Semoran Skateway, put skates on your feet and you're ready for fun. Roller Skating was not always this easy.
A Belgian inventor named Joseph Merlin introduced the first patented roller skate in 1760. What an introduction! He wore his new skates to a party in London, where he crashed into a very expensive mirror. He was not very interested in roller skating after this experience. However, other inventors produced some roller skates, mostly with in-line wheels imitating the ice skating blade.
In 1863, a businessman by the name of James Plimpton invented a roller skate that could turn. It was called a "Rocking Skate", the first one that really would let people skate turns. Plimpton opened a skating club in New York, where men enjoyed showing off for the ladies. The men showed off by doing fancy figures, steps and turns.
Within 20 years, roller skating had become a popular pastime for men and women. Roller Skating contests began to increase. Indoors, wealthy men in Newport, RI, began playing "Roller Polo", a hockey style game. Others held contests in dance and figure skating. Outdoors, men and women were racing in speed contests. The more the public saw roller skating, the more they wanted to try it themselves. Roller Skating was soon enjoying its first boom.
Just before World War II, 1937, a group of skating rink owners formed an association to promote roller skating. With this association they would establish good business practices for the skating rinks. The association is now known as the RSA (Roller Skating Association).
In January of 1978, the Moyer Family, with a background in competitive artistic skating, opened a new wave of skating in Casselberry, FL. Disco lighting and booming sound started a second coming of roller skating.