Spuren auf dem Eise

This is one of the great books of figure skating. The full title is Spuren auf dem Eise: Die Entwicklung des Eislaufes auf der Bahn des Wiener Eislauf-Vereins [Tracings on the Ice: The Development of Ice Skating on the Rink of the Vienna Skating Club], and the authors are Demeter Diamantidi, Carl von Korper, and Max Wirth. It’s in German and, as far as I know, has not been translated into English.

Spuren went through two editions in the nineteenth century: a first edition published in 1881 and a second edition published in 1892. Both cover roughly the same topics in the same number of pages (about 350), but the second edition has more material, and a larger format to accommodate it.

This book, especially the second edition, is great for people studying special figures. About two-thirds of it consists of a catalog of figures, including some that would now be called freestyle, like one-foot spins on all four edges (p. 295–297 in the second edition).

The second edition originally included a booklet of figure diagrams that’s now very hard to find. Most copies have lost their booklets over the years, and a copy with both parts demands a much higher price on the used market than a copy that’s missing the booklet. Without the booklet, the book is much less useful, as the vast majority of figure diagrams—essential for anyone trying to skate the figures—are in the booklet.

Fortunately the University of Connecticut has been kind enough to scan its copy, including the booklet, and put it online. You can find it here.

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