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October 2019 PictureWeb

Artefact: Barney & Berry Ice Skates
Accession #: 2013.02.02
Year: 1880s

 Before the time of the closed-toe skate with an attached boot, skates were made with a blade and a footrest for the skater’s shoe. These skates, patented between 1884 and 1887, were made by the Barney & Berry Company. This company was known for its novel skate designs, namely the Ice King skate and the Ankle Support skate, patented in 1879. The Barney & Berry Co. stayed in business until 1919, when the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. bought the firm.

This type of B&B skate was referred to as a ‘lever’ skate, referring to the lever at the back of the skate that loosened the clamp so that the skater could fit their shoe into the skate and then clamp it tightly in place. The lever on this pair of skates is stamped with a ‘B&B’ seal and can be located underneath the heel. The leather straps at the top of the skate were used to provide further security for the skater’s foot while in motion.