Today, roller skating is easy and fun. But a long time ago, it wasn't
easy at all. Before 1750, the idea of skating didnít
exist. That changed because of a man named Joseph Merlin. Merlinís
work was making musical instruments. In his spare time he liked to play the
violin. Joseph Merlin was a man of ideas and dreams. People called him a
One day Merlin received an invitation to attend a fancy dress ball.
He was very pleased and a little excited. As the day of the party came near,
Merlin began to think how to make a grand entrance at the party. He had an idea.
He thought he would get a lot of attention if he could skate into the room.
Merlin tried different ways to make himself roll. Finally, he decided to put two
wheels under each shoe. These were the first roller skates. Merlin was very
proud of his invention as dreamed of arriving at the party on wheels while
playing the violin.
On the night of the party Merlin rolled into the room playing his violin. Everyone
was astonished to see him. There was just one problem. Merlin had no way to stop
his roller skates. He rolled on and on. Suddenly, he ran into a huge mirror that
was hanging on the wall. Down fell the mirror, breaking to pieces. Nobody forgot
Merlinís grand entrance for a long time!