History of Ice Skates

Since their invention, ice skates have been used for many athletic sports, including figure skating, speed skating, and hockey. Throughout history, ice skates have gone though many alterations, which have been fueled by new discoveries in the industrial world.

One of the earliest known pair in the history of ice skates was discovered in Switzerland, and dates back to 3000 B.C. Many of these ancient skates have been discovered, and they feature large animal bones shaped into blades. A hole at each end of the bone allowed the skater to tie them on with leather. Is this early time period, skates were most likely used for transportation and hunting.

Another known development in the history of ice skates is the Dutch wooden platform skates, in the 13th or 14th century. Iron was used to construct the blades, and leather straps held the wood-iron skates onto the skater's shoes. Much like skiing, the skaters used poles to push themselves forward. Around 1500, the Dutch modified the skate blade to make it narrow and double-edged, eliminating the use of poles.

In 1848, the first all-steel clamp was invented by E.V. Bushnell of Philadelphia. This clamp made it possible to clip the blade onto a boot. Shortly afterward, Jackson Haines, a famous American figure skater, developed a two-plate blade. In 1870, a jagged saw-like design called a "toe pick" was added to the front of the blade to make certain spins and impressive figure skating moves possible.



American John E. Strauss invented the first closed-toe blade in 1914, making the skates lighter. This was an important development in the history of ice skates, as it enabled figure skaters to complete complicated tricks, such as triple and quadruple jumps.

Ice skates have been used for centuries, as a method of transportation, sport, and entertainment. The history of ice skates will continue to change and grow with our culture, improving and expanding with our new uses and industrial discoveries.