The skates work!
It's often said that Sonja Henie was the first to wear white boots for figure skating. She may have been responsible for setting the trend because of her popularity, but she wasn't the first to do it.
Gösta Berg (1903--1993) was a Swedish ethnologist who worked on skating, skiing, and other winter activities. His writings include three papers on bone skates, written in three different languages over a period of nearly thirty years.
I recently ran across an explanation of how to sharpen skates from March, 1919---just over 100 years ago. Don't try to draw file at first, ... Cut right across the runner first, filing in the usual manner and watching closely the file marks, see that they do not cut down over the corner of the… Continue reading Skate sharpening 100 years ago
This is the anchor for a series of posts about skate sharpening. When you get your skates sharpened, the skate technician passes your blade across a grinding wheel in a sharpening machine. In most machines, the grinding wheel is parallel to the skate blade, like it is in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoxoZK8sfyY The video mentions dressing… Continue reading Skate sharpening basics
The writers of skating history have awarded Jackson Haines credit for inventing the toe pick in the nineteenth century. They must not have known about the prikschaats (prick-skate). This type of skate features an iron blade with a spike at the toe. It's not quite like a modern toe pick, being a single spike rather… Continue reading Medieval toe picks
It's not the famous woodcut of Lydwina's accident from 1498. Check out this image from Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 5. (I can't post the image here because of copyright restrictions.) This picture is from a Flemish manuscript that's around 170 years older than the famous woodcut. It's a calendar, and the February page shows… Continue reading The first picture of metal-bladed skates