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Artefact: Figure Skates
Accession #: 90.28.01
Year: 1950s


Early metal skates date back as late as the medieval period of Dutch history and consisted of heavy iron blades which were attached separately to boots. These were used mainly as a form of transportation across frozen bodies of water. Once blades began to be sharpened and made of lighter materials, the different forms of skating activities emerged. From 1865 onward, skaters began screwing blades directly onto their boots and adding toe picks to the blades to offer more control and better movement on the ice. Skaters also began incorporating music into their practice, and thus the sport of figure skating was developed. Figure skating would eventually debut as an Olympic sport in 1908. The skates shown here were made in the 1950’s.