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Happy! - Sept 17 (Merlin & skates)

17 Sep 05 - 10:15 AM (#1565508)
Subject: Happy! - Sept 17 (Merlin & skates)
From: Abby Sale

Happy Birthday!

The first documented inventor of a roller skate was
John Joseph Merlin,
born September 17, 1735, in the city of Huys, Belgium.

He was a well-known maker of musical instruments and other mechanical inventions.

According to a contemporary of Merlin's, one of his inventions was a pair of skates "contrived to run on small metallic (inline) wheels. Supplied with a pair of these and a violin, he mixed in the motley group of one of the celebrated Mrs. Cornely's masquerades at Carlisle-house, Soho-square (probably in 1760); when, not having provided the means of retarding his velocity, or commanding its direction, he impelled himself against a mirror, of more than five hundred pounds' value, dashed it to atoms, broke his instrument to pieces, and wounded himself most severely."
(Quoted from Michael Zaidman, Director and Curator of the National Roller Skating Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska)

Indeed, from the beginning and still today, starting skates was never a problem; stopping them was.

Skating is personal to me - I'm a founder of the Folking Roly Rounders, (the Official, nation-wide organization for those who perform folk music while rollerskating), my parents met while skating in the 20's and the daughter is currently a star Roller Derby girl.

        There was a young sailor named Bates        
        Who danced the fandango on skates,
                But a fall on his cutlass
                Rendered him nutless,
        And practically useless on dates.

Copyright © 2005, Abby Sale - all rights reserved
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