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James Plimpton

AKA James Leonard Plimpton

Born: 14-Apr-1828
Birthplace: Medfield, MA
Died: 1911
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Inventor, Business

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Four-wheeled roller skates

Roller skating dates back to 17th century Holland and 18th century Belgium, but skating was only for daredevils until an American, James Plimpton, invented the four-wheel, tilt steering roller skate in 1858. Plimpton's two innovations were placing the wheels on two axles instead of in-line, and his "rocker skate" mechanism, wherein the wooden wheels were not attached directly to the base of the skate, but instead attached to rubber-cushioned mobile axle, which was attached to the base. The effect was that users could steer the skate while rolling by simply tilting their bodies. Plimpton, who owned a furniture store, soon pushed the couches and cabinets aside and rented skates in his New York shop. He offered training classes and medals for the best skaters, popularized the new sport of "roller polo", and opened America's first skating rink in Newport, Rhode Island.

Father: Leonard Plimpton (b. 8-Aug-1792, 26-Jan-1873)
Mother: Sarah Turner Lane Plimpton (b. 2-Feb-1797, m. 27-Nov-1819, d. 30-Mar-1879)
Brother: Henry Richardson Plimpton (school teacher, b. 8-Oct-1820, d. 24-Aug-1891)
Sister: Joanna Lane Plimpton Clark (b. 7-Sep-1822)
Wife: Harriet Amelia Adams (m. 6-Dec-1852)
Son: Henry Plimpton

    English Ancestry

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