English club skates, c.1880
From the middle of the 19th century in countries with a primary
iron and steel industry like Germany, England and the USA many designers experimented with
full metal ice
skates. They should be stronger, last longer and have economic
advantages at their production.
This photo shows that the first designs were close to the classic
models of the wooden club skates. On the runner blades two
platforms were bolted on which boots could be mounted. In order to
reduce their weight as much as possible the foot plates often
were made from aluminium, as is the case with these skates.
The runner blades of these skates are carved, i.e. they are made
a fraction thinner in the middle than at the ends. This was an
improvement thought out by a Captain Charles Dowler who obtained
a patent for it. The shown ice skates have been made using this
patent as there is an inscription in the blades saying 'The Mount Charles' (detail 1b).
Manufacturer: Francis Wood & Son, Sheffield (GB)
Mark: detail 1c
Technical data: total length: 29 cm, height over ice: 3.5 cm;
platforms: 21 cm long, 5.5 cm wide;
runner blades: 25 mm tall, 6 mm thick, carved;
weight 280 g
English club skates,
Rather simple ice skates with enforced runner surface. In the
top of the foot plates 'London made' is stamped
(detail 2a). This is an interesting detail, suggesting that it
would sell better than the ordinary British or Sheffield made.
Manufacturer: Hill & Son, London (GB)
Mark: detail 2b
Technical data: total length: 29 cm, height over ice: 4 cm;
platforms: 22 cm long, 5.5 cm wide;
runner blades: 21 mm tall, 5 mm thick, carved;
weight 340 g
English club skates, c.1900
Luxurious execution with chrome plated runner blades and
platforms. Both on the carton and the runner blades is stated 'The Monier-Williams Skate'
(detail 3a). This concerns Sir Montagnu S.F.
Monier-Williams, around 1885 a leading author on the subject of
figure skating. Whether he designed skates as well is not known.
Manufacturer: John Wilson, Sheffield (GB)
Mark: details 3b and 3c
total length: 30 cm, height over ice: 4 cm; platforms: 22 cm
long, 6 cm wide;
runner blades: 22 mm tall, 5 mm thick, carved;
weight 340 g
English club skates, c.1910
These club skates have not been made for the British market.
They come from a German factory (detail 4a) and were sold by a Swiss
retailer (detail 4b). The English club skates of around 1900 apparently
represented a popular model elsewhere too. It seems a bit strange that the
runner blades mention that they have been made from English steel (detail 4c).
Manufacturer: Eduard Engels, Remscheid (D)
Mark: detail 4a
total length: 32 cm, height over ice: 3.5 cm;
platforms: 26 cm long, 6 cm wide;
runner blades: 20 mm tall, 5 mm thick, carved;
weight 410 g