Well, we’d prefer you not to do it at our roller skating rink, but at one time it was possible to roller skate at 40 miles per hour! Don’t believe us? Read on for a little roller skating history brought to you by Playland Skate Center in Austin, TX.
The first recorded pair of agsoline-powered roller skates were invented by Antionio Pirrello in 1956. They had a 19-pound gasoline motor that you wore as a backpack. The gas connected to the right skate to push you while you held your left skate in front of you to steer. A cable connected to the motor had a hand held clutch, accelerator, and engine cut-off switch to regulate the speed – up to 40 miles-per-hour of speed! These skates were featured in Life magazine, Popular Mechanics, and even seen on the TV shows You Asked For It and The Today Show.
There have been more recent versions of gasoline powered skates like the 50 pairs that got seized by British officials because they could reach 20 mph in 20 seconds and the officials were concerned about the wearers safety and did not want them sold to the public or online. They tended to stop suddenly and pitch the wearer forward, leading to numerous accidents.
There was another gasoline powered skate invention marketed for their ability to get 120 miles per gallon. They could reach speeds of 30 miles per hour “so you could weave in and out of rush-hour traffic jams, getting to work or home faster than ever before.” Apparently, these never went mainstream, though we could never guess why.
Next time you are thinking about adding a motor to your roller skates for some added speed – don’t do all the work, its already been done! Though we wouldn’t suggest it as the safest way to travel. Instead, just come strap on a pair of quad or inline skates at Playland Skate Center in Austin, TX and get some exercise skating around our roller skating rink!