*** boys' activities United States America rollar skates kids usage

American Toys: Rollar Skates--Kids Usage

Figure 1.--Here we see children playing on the sidewalk of a leafy suburb of Chatanoga, Tennesee in 1907. Notice the younger boys do not yet have rollar skates and that they are both wearing tunic suits, although not the popular sailor styles. The longer tunic is pleated. Alao note that they all have headwear, mostly caps. One boy has a wide-brimmed hat with streamers. All the boys wear long stockings and lace-up high-top shoes. Only the younger boynhas low-cut shoes. These boys all came from very substantial familes. Click in the image to see their homes.

Balance is imprtant for rollarskating. Children begin to rollar skate about agev6byears--the same age that they begin to master two-wheelers. All the road and street paving after the turn-of-the 20th century exponentially expanded the surfaces available for rollar skating. Rollar skates rapidly became a very popular children's toy. We see many snapshots of chilldren enjoying rollar skates beginning in the 1910s. At first they were mostly for adults. But as more paved surfaces appeared, they became very popular fot children, something they could enjoy around the home. This was all important for extensive children's usage. We think that rollar skates were somewhay less important for Amrican kids than in Western Europe because America was more prosperous and mpre American kids had bikes. This contunued for most of the 20th century. A readervwrites, "I remember those type of skates in the late 1950s . They required a key so as to lengthen or shorten depending on one's shoe size. You had to wear shoes with them as they would not work with sneakers I definitely preferred a bike over them." Sneakers may explain in part why boys movedaway from skates. Biys began wearing them in the interpWar years before they became popukar with girls, but by the 1970s you begin to see girls commonly wearing sneakers as well. Children's rollar skates were all metal decices for several decades. This changed (1960s). The new plastics became all the rage. We begin to see fewer children on rollar skates toward the end of the century. We see a lot of adult rollar skating activities, but fewer children enjoying them. We are not sure why. Surely the popularity of skate boarding mneant that few boys would take up rollar skating, but wevare less sure about the girls. It may be a safety issue. Perhaps readers may have some idea. Initially both boys and girls enjoyed rollar skating. Many of our photographs from thevearly-20th century show boys and girls having fun on skates. For some reason this changed at mid-century. World War II seems to be the dividing point. They began to be seen as more of a girls' toy. We are not sure just why that was. As a child in the 1940s I recall mmost girls rollar skating. I hink bikes were a factor. More boys than girls had bikes. Rollar skates for girls have also declined in popularity in recent years.


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Created: 1:08 PM 11/18/2019
Last updated: 1:08 PM 11/18/2019