Old Winter Sports - Skating
by Anita Mae Draper
This is my third in a series of posts showing Old Winter Sports. You can find the others here:
Part 1 - Early Snowshoes for Man and Beast
Part 2 - Snowshoes from Yesteryear to Today
|Medieval bone skates on display at the Museum of London.|
Courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_skate
In researching for this post, I was thrilled to discover this tidbit in the wikipedia page on ice skating:
According to a study done by Federico Formenti, University of Oxford, and Alberto Minetti, University of Milan, Finns were the first to develop ice skates some 5,000 years ago from animal bones. This was important for the Finnish populations to save energy in harsh winter conditions when hunting in Finnish Lakeland. The first skate to use a metal blade was found in Scandinavia and was dated to 200 and was fitted with a thin strip of copper folded and attached to the underside of a leather shoe.
That was confirmed in a post by Stefan Lovgren of the National Geographic News who said, " Ice-skating—the oldest human-powered means of transportation—was invented in Finland not for fun but for survival, according to a new study."
Yay, me! (If you haven't been following my blogs, my maternal grandparents are Finns.)
There are many different types of skates, odd and unusual ones like the bone skates above, clog skates, etc at the Virtual Ice Skates Museum. Since the site is copyrighted, I won't copy their images, and I'll let you check them out as you wish. Instead, I'd like to concentrate in the time period I set my stories in - the latter 19th and early 20th centuries.
|1900-1910 Wood and metal skates fashioned by a blacksmith in the Montreal area. © McCord Museum|
Although many people think the above photo is how ice skates looked in the mid-19th century, lands where snow and ice prevailed had efficient skates for all ages like the one below:
|1862 Ice Skates found on Pinterest|
I knew I'd filed this image somewhere but couldn't find it until I looked on my Pinterest board of Historic Winter Sports, which is the board I'm displaying all the images I've posted in this series. I don't know where the image originally came from because one of the links along the way isn't good, but I can tell you I repinned it from Carla Olson Gade's Pinterest board. :)
Then, as now, the climax to the season was the Skating Carnival. In the above photo, children pose in their skating carnival costume. Because they often skated on outdoor ponds and rivers, most skating carnivals were held in February before the ice began to thaw.
|The Newmarket Era, Feb. 13, 1885|
I found this ad for new skates in the 1897 edition of the same paper.
|The Newmarket Era, 1897|
|LouisRubenstein, championship figure skater, Montreal, QC, 1893 ©McCord Museum|
Louis Rubenstein (1861-1931) is considered the "Father of Canadian Figure Skating." Prior to 1892 the World Figure Skating Championships didn't exist, but there were still championships. Rubenstein was chosen to represent Canada in a championship held in St. Petersburg, Russia. He won the gold medal despite being the subject of anti-semitism. Rubenstein was the force behind the birth of the Amateur Skating Association of Canada, now known as Skate Canada, and he served as President of the International Skating Union of America from 1907-1909.
|c 1910 Harold and Mary McHugh skating at Banff Winter Carnival, Banff, AB.|
In 1910, Harold and Mary McHugh skated at the Banff Winter Carnival in Banff, Alberta. Here they are wearing their skating costumes and medals. The Glenbow Museum states "They won all fancy skating awards in individual and team competitions."
Canadian women have been playing hockey for over a century, as evidenced by this photo taken in 1905 in Banff, AB.
|1904-1905 Women's Hockey in Banff, Alberta|
However, as far as I know, we’ve never been as brave as these Dutch women who proved their abilities while wearing bathing suits in 1925 Minneapolis, MN .
|c 1925 Dutch Women Playing Hockey in Bathing Suits, Minneapolis, MN. |
Photo courtesy of Nationaal Archief / Spaarnestad
Now take these kids… they know how to dress for the weather. Mind you, I’d untangle that little girl from the sled rope around her legs before letting her take a spin on the ice.
Children playing hockey, 1908, Rowley Murphy collection
Archives of Ontario
People in Nome, Alaska know how to enjoy their winter. I’m not sure I’d feel safe skating next to those ships, though.
| Skating on Snake River, Nome, Alaska c 1903-1915, |
Note: Ships in distance on Norton Sound, Bering Sea
I couldn’t put a list of skating photos without showing an ice waltz. Wouldn’t this be a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon? I’d say yes except that I’m one of the rare Canadians who don’t like to skate. Like most kids in Grade 5, we took the regulatory skating lessons at a local rink, but our family didn’t have much and my skates didn’t have much support left in the ankles. I suppose I didn’t have much strength in my ankles either. So for me, skating was a horrid affair where I spent more time sitting on the ice than skating on it. Let's just say that I'm more of an armchair skater because I love watching it on TV.
Now take this little guy from Holland…
Young skater with safety cushion, The Netherlands c 1933,
Nationaal Archief / Spaarnestad Photo
That’s exactly what I needed!
Were you in Chamoix, France for the 1924 Winter Olympics? I wasn't, but I found a video about it. Here's Sonja Henie and some other early winners showing how it was done back then. If the video doesn't show, you can find it at http://youtu.be/pIz-cDy7sv8
I’ve concentrated on ice skating because it’s a winter sport, but there are other kinds of skating.
Are you a skater? Blades or wheels? Shoes or board?
Are you a skater? Blades or wheels? Shoes or board?
Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and 2 of their 4 kids. She writes stories set on the prairies of Saskatchewan, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Anita Mae has semi-finaled in the Historical Romance category of the ACFW's 2011 Genesis contest and finaled in the Inspirational category of the 2011 Daphne du Maurier, the 2011 Fool for Love, the 2011 Duel on the Delta and 2009 Linda Howard Award of Excellence contests. Anita Mae is represented by Mary Keeley of Books and Such Literary Agency. You can find Anita at http://www.anitamaedraper.com/