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History of Rollerblades

Brothers, Scott Olson and Brennan Olson invented rollerblades.

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Rollerblades

Rollerblades

Courtesy of Modern Inline Skates
< Introduction History of Roller Skates

1979 - Redesigning Roller Skates

Scott Olson and Brennan Olson, brothers and hockey players who lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota, found an antique pair of roller skates. It was one of the early skates that used the in-line wheels rather than the four-wheeled parallel design of George Plimpton. Intrigued by the in-line design, the brothers began redesigning roller skates, taking design elements from the found skates and using modern materials. They used polyurethane wheels, attached the skates to ice hockey boots, and added a rubber toe-brake to their new design.

1983 - Rollerblade Inc

Scott Olson founded Rollerblade Inc and the term rollerblading meant the sport of in-line skating because Rollerblade Inc was the only manufacturer of in-line skates for a long time.

The first mass-produced rollerblades, while innovative had some design flaws: they were difficult to put on and adjust, prone to collecting dirt and moisture in the ball-bearings, the wheels were easily damaged and the brakes came from the old roller skate toe-brake and were not very effective.

Rollerblade Inc Sold

The Olson brothers sold Rollerblade Inc and the new owners had the money to really improve the design. The first massively successful Rollerblade skate was the Lightning TRS. In this pair of skates the flaws had vanished, fiberglass was used to produce the frames, the wheels were better protected, the skates were easier to put on and adjust and stronger brakes were placed at the rear. With the success of the Lightning TRS, other in-line skate companies appeared: Ultra Wheels, Oxygen, K2 and others.

1989 - Macro and Aeroblades Models

Rollerblade Inc produced the Macro and Aeroblades models, the first skates fastened with three buckles instead of long laces that needed threading.

1990 - Lighter Skates

Rollerblade Inc switched to a glass-reinforced thermoplastic resin (durethan polyamide) for their skates, replacing the polyurethane compounds previously used. This decreased the average weight of skates by nearly fifty percent.

1993 - Active Brake Technology

Rollerblade, Inc. developed ABT or Active Brake Technology. A fiberglass post attached at one end to the top of the boot and at the other end to a rubber-brake, hinged the chassis at the back wheel. The skater had to straighten one leg to stop, driving the post into the brake, which then hit the ground. Skaters had been tilting their foot back to make contact with the ground, before ABT. The new brake design increased safety.

Presently the best way for you to experience the latest inventions in the world of wheels is up-close and personal. Please do so, try in-line skating and keep rolling.

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