When Were Roller Skates Invented?

Roller skating has a far longer history than you might realize. Do you know who invented roller skates or when was roller skating invented? Did you know that the first roller skates were invented in 1760? As we all know, necessity is the origin of the invention.

The idea of skating on land, as on ice, evolved into its dry-land roller-skating equivalent as the idea of skating on the land spread. Before we explore when were roller skates invented, you need to learn about the person who invented them.

When Were Roller Skates Invented? A Look at the Fascinating History

Roller skating has been a beloved pastime for centuries, but have you ever wondered when were roller skates invented? The history of roller skates is a fascinating and complex one that spans over three centuries, featuring various cultural shifts and technological advancements. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the evolution of roller skates, from their humble beginnings to the high-tech designs of today.

Early Beginnings

The earliest known roller skates were invented in the mid-18th Century by a Belgian inventor named John Joseph Merlin. These primitive roller skates were made of metal and designed to be worn at a masquerade party. However, Merlin soon discovered that he couldn’t control his movements on the skates and ended up crashing into a large mirror, which shattered into pieces.

It wasn’t until several decades later that roller skates began to gain popularity. In 1819, a Frenchman named M. Petitbled patented a design for roller skates with three wheels arranged in a triangle formation. These skates were designed for recreational purposes and featured a fixed, single axle.

Rising Popularity

Throughout the 19th Century, roller skating continued to grow in popularity. In 1857, the first roller skating rink was opened in London, and by the 1870s, roller skating had also become a popular pastime in the United States. However, the skates of the time were still relatively primitive and lacked many of the features we take for granted today.

In the late 1800s, roller skates underwent significant technological advancements. Levant Richardson patented a design for roller skates with ball bearings in 1884, significantly improving the skates’ speed and maneuverability. This design became popular, and roller skating became a highly competitive sport by the turn of the Century.

If you want to learn more about when was roller skates popular, you can click on this link.

when were roller skates invented?

Advancements in the 20th Century

Roller skating continued to evolve throughout the first half of the 20th Century. In the 1930s, roller derby was invented, which became a trendy competitive sport in the United States. Skates continued to undergo technological advancements, with improvements in materials and designs that made them lighter, faster, and more maneuverable.

During the 1950s and 1960s, roller skating became famous for young people, with many roller rinks popping up nationwide. However, the popularity of roller skating began to decline in the 1970s and 1980s as other sports and activities became more popular.

Modern-Day Roller Skates

Roller skating remains popular, with many people enjoying it for recreation, exercise, and competition. Modern-day roller skates feature a wide range of designs and materials, with many skates featuring high-tech components such as carbon fiber plates and precision bearings.

Roller skating continues to be a highly competitive sport, with roller derby and other competitions attracting large audiences worldwide. In recent years, roller skating has also experienced a resurgence in popularity, with many people rediscovering the joys of this classic activity.


The history of roller skates is long and fascinating, featuring numerous cultural shifts and technological advancements. From the primitive designs of the 18th century to today’s high-tech methods, roller skates have come a long way. Understanding the evolution of roller skates can help us appreciate the history of this beloved activity and the technology behind it. So the next time you lace up your roller skates, take a moment to appreciate the rich history behind this classic pastime.

We have seen that roller skates have evolved. Today, people from different places use roller skates for several purposes. These skates are available in various designs and styles. If you read this article thoroughly, you will know who invented roller skates. In addition, we also shared when was roller skating invented, providing a timeline of its evolution.

Our Story

Welcome to Skates of Glory! Join us as we dive into the roller skating world, sharing insights, tips, and inspiration for skaters of all levels. Let's roll together and embrace the skate life!

Oliver Harris
Greetings fellow skater, I'm Oliver Harris!

Hello, I am Oliver Harris, a skilled roller skater with expertise in roller derby and speed skating who brings years of experience and contagious enthusiasm to Skates of Glory.

Emma Moore
Hey there fellow skater, my name is Emma Moore

I am Emma Moore, an accomplished artistic roller skater and professional coach who combines sports psychology with my passion for skating.

share this article


how to fall on roller skates

How To Fall On Roller Skates

Roller skating is a thrilling, fun-filled activity enjoyed by millions around the globe. It offers a unique blend of fitness, skill, and

how to play roller derby

How To Play Roller Derby

Roller derby is a high-energy, full-contact sport that has been captivating audiences and participants alike for decades. This thrilling sport has an