Grindside’s history timeline of skating, and a description of Aggressive Skating.

Here is Grindside’s timeline for the history of skating and Aggressive Inline Skating. Grindside believe this information to be correct, but like most history some of the information on the timeline might not be 100% accurate.

1743 – First recorded reference to skating by a London stage performer. The Inventor/designer of the skates (believed to be inline skates) is unknown, and is lost in history.

1760 – First recorded inventor of a skate in history was Jean-Joseph Merlin, it was an inline skate and had metal wheels.

1819 – First skate is patented in France by M. Petitbled. This was also an inline skate design.

1863 – A 4 wheeled (quad) skate was invented in New York by James Leonard Plimpton. The skate was an improvement on earlier designs as it used a rubber cushion to allow the wheels to pivot which improved manoeuvrability over earlier inline skate designs.

1866 – Leonard Plimpton supported the opening of the first skating rink in Newport, Rhode Island. And the success of the quad design dominated skating for the next century.

1876 – In Birmingham England William Bown patented a design for wheels using a bearing system developed by himself and Joseph Henry Hughes. Hughes also patented a bearing design that was later used in motorbikes and cars, and leads us to the bearing system used in modern day skates and skateboards.

1876 – In this year the toe stop system was patented, which is still used in quad skates today.

1880 – This year began the mass production of skates using the quad design by Henley Skates in Richmond Indiana by founder of the company Micajah C. Henley.

1884 – Levant M. Richardson patented the use of steel ball bearings in skate wheels; this increased the reliability and speed of skating. (speed skating does not class as aggressive skating).

1898 – Levant M. Richardson founded the Richardson Ball Bearing and Skate Company which provided skates to skating professionals of the time, and the quad skate design has remained pretty much unchanged up until the present day.

1979 – In Minneapolis, Minnesota, Brennan Olson and Scott Olson stumbled across a pair of inline skates made by Chicago Roller Skate Company in the 1960s. They decided these inline skates would be useful for training ice hockey players without the need for ice, as a result they set about updating the design using newer materials, and attaching the inline skates to ice hockey boots.

1980 – Scott Olson founded the company Rollerblade Inc. Who’s popularity lead to the incorrect term of “Rollerblading” rather than its correct title of “Inline Skating”. The popularity of Inline Skating grew and became more popular than the quad design towards the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s.

1995 – Sporting goods company K2 Inc came up with a soft boot design which in most aspects of the sport (except Aggressive Skating) has become the most common design. This company also heavily promoted the soft boot design for fitness. By 2000 most skate manufactures had followed suit, although the hard boot is still favoured by the Aggressive Inline Skating community.

Aggressive Inline Skating is a form of Inline Skating which became popular in the late 80’s, and can be classed as an extreme sport. Aggressive Inline skaters will perform stunts or tricks. There are 3 categories of Aggressive Inline Skating (discussed in more detail in Grindside’s Beginners’ guide)

  • Vert – Refers to aerial tricks, and is usually done in a half pipe.
  • Street – Done literally on the streets by using any object that’s is suitable for tricks (such as rails, kerbs and steps).
  • Park – Skate parks are shared with BMX riders and skate boarders. The park’s facilities try to mimic objects found on the streets which are used for tricks.