Roller skating has been a beloved pastime enjoyed by multiple generations of both children and adults.
The origins of roller skates can be traced back to a London stage performance as far back as 1743. John Joseph Merlin is credited with the earliest recorded roller skate invention, dating to his time in London around 1760.
Even during World War II, roller skates found a unique role when there was a proposal in the U.S. to utilize them for infantry movement across Europe as a fuel-saving measure. However, this concept did not come to fruition.
In the United States, roller skating gained popularity as a recreational activity in 1935. The introduction of skating rinks featuring disco music in the 1970s propelled the hobby to the height of its popularity.
For those who belong to a certain age group, memories might resurface of the sturdy metal skates that were affixed to shoes and could be adjusted to accommodate growing feet. An often overlooked accessory accompanied these skates, which many skaters wore around their necks.
These accessories, known as skate keys, have recently surfaced on social media platforms. Speculation about their function ranged from bottle openers to tools. In truth, they were integral to roller skaters’ lives before the 1970s. These keys were essential for adjusting the size of the skates, as they were securely fastened to the shoes.
The skate key was designed to fit into the rear part of the skates. It was common practice for individuals to wear the key around their necks to prevent misplacement while skating.
The significance of skate keys is so profound that they even inspired songs. If you have recollections of skate keys and the experiences tied to them, we encourage you to share your skating stories on our Facebook page.
Feel free to reminisce and spread this delightful memory with others who might appreciate it.