The Development of Skating
Part 6
In conclusion we may say that the Jackson Haines skate for the expert figure-skater, the New York Club skate and its system of attachment for general use, the old Dutch wooden skate for touring, and the Norwegian tubular skate for racing are the predominating types of the present day. All other kinds are constructed on the basis of these systems and offer, with the exception of small alterations in the mechanism for attachment, no real improvement. So far, then, as we can see, the modern skate has reached its most perfect form.
Some remarks on the proper model or form of the skate to be used may be opportune, as the kind of skate heretofore used by the American figure-skater is quite different from that of the Continental expert, who invariably uses what is known as the Jackson Haines model, which was copied from the Philadelphia Club skate about the year 1850. This skate consists of a blade about one quarter of an inch in width and tapering at the heel. The radius of the curve is about five feet; the height at the heel of the skate is 1 7/8 inches, and at the toe 1 3/4 inches. The toe and heel plates are supported by one post or pillar each, the foot resting comfortably on the plate, which is made so as to fit the hole of the skating boot. The runner or blade is round at the toe and curls up slightly over the toe of the boot, into the sole of which a slight notch is often made to render any sidewise motion impossible and to give additional strength when needed for difficult moves or figures executed on the toe of the skate.
The advantages of the round-toe skate over the sharp-pointed American or Canadian figure skate are numerous. First, it runs for some reason faster, and hence is especially valuable for the skater to use for Free skating, where difficulty and variety are important points to be considered, and where the strength of the skater is often put to the severest test. Other points of superiority are that for figures on the toe and spins or pirouettes the ice is simply bruised and no hole is made, as when the customary sharp-pointed skate is used, which would soon prevent the skate from revolving. This skate, no doubt, also has a decided advantage for backward loops and large rockers and brackets, and especially for the more difficult school figures on one foot. Moreover, the movements of the skater appear softer as the skate glides easily and naturally over the surface of the ice. It is, in fast, absolutely essential to use this model of skate for the International style of skating.
The Devolpment of Skating (Part 7). The Devolpment of Skating Index.