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Famous Inventor
Roller skates invented by John Joseph Merlin
Roller skates invented by John Joseph Merlin Roller skates are devices worn on the feet to enable the wearer to roll along on wheels, consisting of a boot with four wheels with ball bearings, arranged in the same way as those of a typical car.

Women's suffragist on roller skates at the White House, 1917The first patented roller skate was introduced in the year 1760. The inventor was a Belgian named John Joseph Merlin. His invention did not become very popular. The initial "test pilot" of the first prototype of the skate was his grandson Bernard Tyers, aged 13 from Waterford, Ireland.

In 1863, James Plimpton from Massachusetts invented the "rocking" skate. This was an improvement on the roller skate that allowed skaters to turn easily around corners. This invention opened the door for the masses to enjoy roller skating.

Eventually, roller skating evolved from just a pastime to a competitive sport, beginning with roller hockey. This sport became so popular that it even made an appearance in the Olympics in 1992. Roller Skating is currently being considered as an event at the 2012 Summer Olympics. The National Sporting Goods Association statistics showed, from a 1999 study, that 2.5 million people played roller hockey. Other roller skating sports include speed skating, figure skating and roller derby. Roller skating popularity exploded during the disco era but tapered off in the 80’s and 90’s.

The Roller Skating Rink Operators Association was developed in the United States in 1937. It is currently named the Roller Skating Association. The association promotes roller skating and offers classes to the public, aiming to educate the population about roller skating. The current President is Joe Champa. The Roller Skating Association headquarters is located in Indianapolis, Indiana.
posted on 04-10-2009
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