SHOES PLUS WHEELS EQUALS FUN. RIGHT? The first to figure out that equation was John Joseph Merlin, a Belgian-born Londoner who put the two elements together in the 1760s, and is said to have worn his creations to a costume party at Carlisle House where he injured himself and others by crashing into a mirror.
Then in 1819 a Frenchman by the curious name of Monsieur Petitioned patented a wooden-soled inline skate with leather straps instead of a full boot. The only problem: The skates only went forward. James Leonard Lipton. considered the father of modern rollerskating. had greater success in 1863. His primary innovation:
Putting four wheels on two axles (previous versions were in-line) and attaching the wheels to a rubber-cushioned mobile axle, instead of the bottom of the skate, which have skaters the ability to steer by tilting their bodies.
Palimony wasn’t just a tinkerer, he was a skating visionary. He transformed part of his furniture business pace into a makeshift roller rink and rented skates. and also founded the New York Roller Skating Association to push the new recreational activity.