About the content
This blog is about the history of ice skating, loosely interpreted. See Aims & scope. You can find posts by category or by searching.
- Bone skates
- Books and articles
- English style
- Freestyle slalom
- Medieval skating
- Metal skates
- Roller skating
- Skate sharpening
About the author: Bev Thurber, PhD
I am an independent scholar whose research focuses on the history of ice skating. My book on bone skates has been published by McFarland, and I’m working on a number of other writing projects.
I have four degrees in four different fields and have studied in three countries. I was a professor at Shimer College from 2009 until 2017, when it was acquired by North Central College. And yes, I still skate.
Publications relating to skating
I maintain a website about figures.
|B. A. Thurber, Skates Made of Bone: A History. McFarland, 2020. Publisher link; Bookshop link.|
|E. F. Benson, Skating Stories. Edited by B. A. Thurber. Skating History Press, 2020. Publisher link; Bookshop link.|
|H. E. Vandervell, The Figure Skate: A Research into the Form of Blade Best Adapted to Curvilinear Skating. Edited by B. A. Thurber. Skating History Press, 2020. Publisher link; Bookshop link.|
|Henry C. Lowther, English Skating: Edges and Striking; Principle of Skating Turns; Combined Figure-Skating. Edited by B. A. Thurber. Skating History Press, 2019. Publisher link; Bookshop link.|
|Frostiana: Or a History of the River Thames in a Frozen State. Edited by B. A. Thurber. Skating History Press, 2018. Blog post; Publisher link; Bookshop link.|
|G. H. Fowler, On the Outside Edge: Being Diversions in the History of Skating. Edited by B. A. Thurber. Skating History Press, 2018. Blog post; Publisher link; Bookshop link.|
|R. Jones, A Treatise on Skating. Edited by B. A. Thurber. Skating History Press, 2017. Blog post; Publisher link; Bookshop link.|
- “Skating in my own backyard.” Recreational Ice Skating, Spring 2021, p. 6.
- “The myth of skating history: Building elitism into a sport.” Leisure Sciences, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1080/01490400.2020.1870589.
- “No ice? Practice outdoors on wheels!” Recreational Ice Skating Online, April 6, 2020. Direct link.
- “How to skate a cat.” Recreational Ice Skating, Fall 2019, pp. 24–25. Companion video.
- “The Viking ball game.” Scandinavian Studies, vol. 87, no. 2, 2015, pp. 167–188. Blog post; JSTOR link. Knattleikr (colloquially called “the hockey game” among medievalists) doesn’t actually involve skating, but it was usually played on ice.
- “The similarity of bone skates and skis.” Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, vol. 9, 2013, pp. 199–217. Publisher link. Skiing figures much more prominently in medieval Icelandic sagas than bone skates, but there are lots of bone skates from medieval Scandinavia, especially southern Sweden.
- “A new interpretation of Frithiof’s steel shoes.” Scandinavica, vol. 50, no. 2, 2011, pp. 6–30. Publisher link. In Esaias Tegnér’s Frithiofs saga, the title character appears on stålskor (steel shoes), which have normally been interpreted as ice skates.
Get in touch if you’d like pdf copies of these articles. I have also published book reviews and journal articles on historical and computational linguistics, archaeology, and fluid dynamics.