Sport: History on Wheels

Joseph Merlin inspected the little metal wheels on his shoes, tuned his violin and shoved off on his rolling, novelty entrance to Mrs. Corneily's masquerade in Soho Square, London. He raised his bow and rolled forward. He found that he could not steer. Neither could he stop. He screamed. Two seconds later, Mrs. Corneily's £500 mirror was in splinters, the fiddle was matchwood, and Merlin was bleeding like a pig. Thus, in 1760, the sport of roller skating was born.

Last week the first history of the sport was published: Roller Skating...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!