The Development of Skating
Part 4
It was already realized in early days that for figure or artistic skating and racing purposes, differently constructed skates must be used. The differences lay principally in the length of the blade and in the rock, but they were classified later on, by the methods of a hitherto unknown skater, into two distinct groups. In the winter of 1864/65 the celebrated American skater, Jackson Haines, passing through the capitals of Northern and Central Europe, offered to the skaters of that day an unexpected spectacle of his skill, and laid the foundation of the art of figure-skating as practiced in our own time. For his exhibitions Haines used a specially constructed skate of his own design, the steel blade of which was screwed on to the heel and toe of the boot by means of plates. The blade was forged on to the heel and toe plates, so that it seemed almost as if the skate were forged out of one piece of steel, for it was wholly without mechanism, which is usually so disagreeable to the eye. At last, therefore, a method of fastening was found which was practically ideal, for it had the greatest rigidity, possessed a pleasing appearance, and was easily fastened to the skating boot. Of course, the use of the skate made a change of boots necessary; but its great superiority overcame this small disadvantage, and most of our famous skaters still use it to-day. Moreover, the present models known as the Grenander, Hugel, Salchow, or Dannenberg skates, are only modifications of the original Jackson Haines skate. At the present time the prominent European skater usually designs his own skate, and so chooses its height, curve, width, etc., according to taste, individuality and skill; sometimes also for special figures he adapts the original Jackson Haines skate. We must not omit to mention that the invention of the skate, which is screwed tight, to the boot is, perhaps, not really due to Jackson Haines, but to the Czar Peter the Great, who constructed for his own use such a skate at Zaandam in Holland in the year 1697. This kind of fastening proved so excellent that it extended also to the racing skate and brought the latter to its modern form.
About the year 1880 the Norwegian racers, amongst them the well-known figure skaters, Carl Werner and Axel Paulsen of Christiania, constructed a skate, which was made of two thin metal tubes with the blade rather more than a sixteenth of an inch wide. The narrow metal plates of this skate were, like the Jackson Haines skate, screwed on and frequently even sewn on to the sole of the skating boot. This form of skate had many advantages over the earlier models on account of its lightness, its better materials and its ideal way of fastening.
The Devolpment of Skating (Part 5). The Devolpment of Skating Index.