National Museum of Roller Skating
When our kids were little we joked about WOFS… Wheels on Feet Syndrome. As in when normally sane people strap a bunch of wheels under their shoes and then try to coordinated movement. As with any syndrome, there are several symptoms, such as a thrilling feeling of giddy elation, often followed by sudden loss of orientation, dizzying unintended acceleration, and sudden onset of pain in various body parts when the unintended acceleration causes said body parts to violently connect with other objects or the ground. We did a bit of that back in the day, but I had no idea how widespread this syndrome was! My education was enhanced recently by a trip to the World’s Largest Roller Skating Museum, in Lincoln, Nebraska. OK, they additionally claim to be the ONLY roller skating museum in the world! Since I bet you haven’t been there YET, I’ll give you a preview.
I’ll admit I didn’t have very high hopes for this museum. I figured it would be better than the barbed wire museum in southern Colorado, but it would likely be a quick visit. I know better now!
Who knew roller skating was done before the Civil War? And that inline skates are definitely not a new thing?
Here is one of Plimpton’s early models, from the 1860’s:
The patent application for these next skates claims that they “thus constructed, run with ease and rapidity, and do not injuriously sprain the feet nor weary the limbs, and they will not easily tip backward or forward, and they impart from the first an unusual feeling of security to the skater in all possible movements. This skate is well adapted to hard sidewalks, large halls, gymnasiums, and skating schools, and in suitable places for traveling purposes.”
This next one is pretty fancy, with all brass wheels!
This next skate is also from the 1870’s. Nice wooden wheels.
This skate was patented in 1897, and was worn by the 1906 Michigan State Amateur Speed Skating Competition Champion!! Note the clever quick release lever under the plate.
I remember skate keys from when I was a kid.
In 1990 Vernon Quy appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, to demonstrate his invention: a roller skate powered by a chainsaw motor, capable of about 30 mph. If he’d left the blade in place, maybe you could cut down obstacles in your way!
But he was by no means the first… in the mid 50’s Antonio Pirrello built and patented this… thing. The nineteen pound motor is worn on your back, with a drive cable to the right skate. The skater keeps his left foot forward to steer, while the right foot gets all the power. The speed is regulated by an clutch on the other cable, held in the hand. This contraption could get you to 40 mph. As if…
There are even stilt skates!
An excerpt from The History of Organ Music and Skating:
Organ music was a contemporary form of entertainment in America during the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s. Organ music was played on every radio station as background music for the radio soaps and used as general fill-in music. Many stations had their own organist to play musical interlude from time to time when a local station lost its feed from the network. This was a time when skating rinks, restaurants, and homes commonly had a piano and /or organ. Organ music soon became eminently acceptable to the public for roller skating.
Here is a photo of a temporary Roller Skating Rink. It looks like Lowe’s would Roll in, set up a rink, and announce it to the town with a brass band in a sign bedecked truck.
Fudge Ripple in the shop
Did I mention that when we had our home (aka Fudge Ripple) in the shop last month, one part needed was nationally backordered? So while in Lincoln, we got the part, and parted with our home for a day while it was installed. A long wait in the trucker’s lounge, but at least it’s done, and under warranty!
We don’t make much fuss over Halloween, but we did see some cute outfits when spending that evening and Cherryl’s mom’s place…
Santa is arriving earlier every year!
And these sweeties were my favorites!
The weekend was topped off with a great concert, undoubtedly made all the greater because our friend Laurel and her brother were playing violin! Beautiful music and a great finale to our time in Lincoln.