27

September

2010

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Those Exhilarating Roller Skates

by Alexia MacClain

Plimpton's Patent Roller Skates

Joseph W. Wayne, Cincinnati, OH.  Plimpton's Patent Roller Skates, circa 1879, Plimpton's Patent Roller Skates.

To celebrate National Roller Skating Week, we are featuring trade literature advertising Plimpton's Patent Roller Skates.

Patented on January 6, 1863 and June 26, 1866, Plimpton's Patent Roller Skates were advertised as "the only one upon which all the graceful movements and evolutions of Ice Skating can be executed with ease and precision on a Smooth Floor."

Because Plimpton's Patent Roller Skates provided the rink customer with exercise that was "so exhilarating … amusement so fascinating … " rink owners could also be pleased with their investment in the skates.  Plimpton's Patent Roller Skates were priced at $4 per pair when bought in groups of 25 pairs or more, and according to this trade literature, by charging a price for the rental of the skates at the rink, the cost of buying the skates "will generally be returned within the first month."

Rink owners were more than satisfied with the use of Plimpton's Patent Roller Skates. A letter dated November 6, 1870 written by J. S. Elliot & Co. in Hopkinsville, Kentucky reads, "Our Rink is a complete success.  Has succeeded beyond our expectations."  On January 23, 1869, the Indianapolis Rink Association President, E. S. Alvord, writes, "We will state that at this place it has proved a success and a good pecuniary investment." He goes on to say, "The patrons of the Rink very generally prefer the Rollers to Ice Skating, and we have no doubt it will pay the stockholders a larger dividend, and give greater satisfaction to its patrons."

Plimpton's Patent Roller Skates, trade literature by Joseph W. Wayne of Cincinnati, Ohio, is located in the Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library.  For more images of trade literature in the Libraries' collection, check out the Galaxy of Images. —Alexia MacClain

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