James Leonard Plimpton invented the four wheeled foot skate in 1873. By 1875, it was a phenomenon amongst the bourgeois. See here, a series that captures the zeitgeist around rollerskating in the late nineteenth century. In my opinionation, these are quite a treat. Enjoy!

#1: Dude totally wipes out, Friends Totally Pretend Not To Know Him

Looks like failing at this new-fangled doodad called 'rollerskating on casters' in 1876 is more fun than actually succeeding. Also, It looks like haberdasher and milliner were definitely wise career choices. (via People Falling Down. Hard. - Photo Gallery - LIFE)

#2: Victorian London Ladies 1 - Gravity 0

Photo: Lady sk8rs via Library of Congress

‘“The skating rink represented in our engraving” says our artist, ” is that belonging to the Prince’s Cricket and Skating Club and is in the club grounds at Brompton. They have two rinks, a summer and winter one. The latter has not been in use many months. The clubs consists of ladies and gentlemen of rank and position and is very exclusive, so much so that even the members are not privileged to introduce a friend. In the use of these wheeled skates some of the men have gained great proficiency, but I saw no fancy skating amongst the ladies, who simply went in for gentle exercise, sweeping slowly around the building, chatting pleasantly to the droning accompaniment of their skates. In the case of a few beginners there was a slight loss of ladylike complacency, the circumstance being certainly ticklish, but no-one was so ill-bred as to tumble. So you see that feminine delicacy and reserve is more than a match for the laws of gravitation.’

from The Graphic, April 1875. I shit you not. This is too ridiculous to be fake.

(via Victorian London)

#3: Variations on a theme: Tryke skates never really caught on. Definitely NOT because they didn’t look super awesome.

#5: His Excellency, the Viscount Archduke Raddington von Roller Hockey