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Early In-line Skate

The "Volito" roller skate: State of the art in the 1820s
In the days before the invention of indoor rinks, dedicated ice skaters turned to the Volito when they needed to practice but couldn't find ice. This in-line skate consisted of a wooden sole, a single row of five wheels, and a curved iron bar at the front that served as a rudimentary brake. What made the Volito superior to other models, however, was the unequal size of its wheels--largest at the center, smallest at the ends. This simple modification allowed the skater to execute turns by shifting weight. In 1863, James L. Plimpton of Massachusetts revolutionized roller skating by inventing the "rocking action" skate that could be steered. Volito production tapered off, and Plimpton's skates set off the first sports craze in America.

The Volito was designed by Robert John Tyers and patented in England in 1823.
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