"Place, with a trace of humanity" Photography/Photo of the Day/Pittsburgh

Nostalgia for Metal Roller Skates and a Key Around the Neck

Photographed at Bicycle Heaven 10-26-11

When my family lived in Newark, NJ my brother and I used to skate around the block.  Your feet would hum after you took off the skates.  You left your regular shoe on your foot and tried to fit it into the metal brace.  I can hear the sound when I look at these old skates. Childhood of the 1950’s.  They were heavy.  At least that is how I remember them.

11 responses

  1. I could never catch on to the roller skating.


    October 28, 2011 at 6:52 am

  2. I have the same memories, Ruth, only my skates weren’t nearly so fancy. Mine were hand-me-downs and the plaid band on your skate’s strap was long gone by the time I got my pair. Mine didn’t have a toe brace either. I used my key to tighten, like a vice, two pieces, one on either side of my toes. They held the skate on your shoe by gripping the edge of the shoe’s sole. Tighten them too tight and your foot hurt. Not tight enough and your skate came off at the first sidewalk crack. It’s a wonder any of us have any skin at all on our knees! Thanks for the blast from the past!


    October 28, 2011 at 8:28 am

    • This photo seemed to strike a chord with many who remember metal skates as a child. Thanks for your good comments. My one friend wrote that she actually has scars on both knees still!


      October 28, 2011 at 11:17 pm

  3. Vincie

    I still have scars on both knees from skating with metal skates like these.


    October 28, 2011 at 9:01 am

  4. oh Nostalgia hurts, indeed I remember my own metal rusty roller skates – key around the neck … – my wife had white shoes and broad wooden wheels …


    October 28, 2011 at 9:19 am

  5. Lois I. Greenberg

    50’s? Try 40’s—That’s when I skated my way around Queens Village, Long Island, New York. Yes, key on a string around my neck. Up and down the marble steps of the church around the corner, in the road when no one was looking, and on our driveway which was so smooth and we could do “fancies without peril. Thanks for the memory! Love, Lois


    October 28, 2011 at 9:49 am

  6. Erica Wells

    Yes, I remember this too. And my home was located toward the top of a gentle hill, which seemed daunting with the skates on and not daunting enough on the “flexible flyer” …. 🙂


    October 28, 2011 at 10:51 am

  7. Great shot!


    October 28, 2011 at 11:31 am

  8. We had these skates as a kid, too – and your description of one’s feet humming (and feeling like feathers) once the skates were removed is spot-on. Cool image! (Both literal and mental.) 🙂


    October 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm

  9. Toni

    Lots of fun – in the 40’s for me, too! I was never a good rink skater, though. My sister was – she had the poodle skirts and everything. I just liked the strap on skates around the neighborhood. I think they have safer skates today – if skating can ever be really safe.


    October 31, 2011 at 6:16 am

  10. craig morrow

    I made skateboards out of them,,,,the steel wheels are bone shakers,,,but lots of fun


    November 15, 2011 at 12:16 am

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