1896 Ritter Road Skates (Ladies Size 10)

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THE ROAD SKATE Co

271 Oxford St. London W, England

The skates were marketed by The Road Skate Co of Oxford Street, London. The company also issued a booklet – free of charge – on ‘Road Skating’ which purports to give ‘every information on the subject.’ The design was unique to this style of skate. One of the company’s adverts proclaims:

Unlike other skates, the Ritter Road Skate has a hinged splint on either side of the leg, which in conjunction with the brake, entirely prevents any twisting or undue strain on the ankle joint. People with the weakest ankle may therefore use this skate, and derive great benefit from the exercise. It only requires a little practice on the new Ritter Road Skate to enable anyone who has never had on a pair of skates to attain proficiency, and be able to skate on the roads at any speed up to 16 miles an hour.

‘Road Skates’ were the ancestors of roller skates. They were invented by Mr. Ritter, a Swiss, who was foreman at the original Napier Works at Vine Street, Lambeth, London, where (later) the first Napier motor-cars were made. The Ritter skates were popular around 1897/ 1898, and several well-known cyclists, notably M. S. Napier, Walter Munn, and A. Hoffman, formed a club and skated on the road every week-end. When last heard of (1929) Mr. Ritter was in business as an engineer in Paris under the name of Ritter and Smith, 35 Rue Batignolles. (These premises are now occupied by a hair salon ‘Caroline Coiffure’).

H.W Bartleet says of the skates in his own collection:

No. 50. Pair of ‘Ritter’ road skates. Though strictly speaking, not qualifying for inclusion in a collection of cycles, these instruments of travel are very closely associated with cycling. The men who made them and the enthusiasts who used them were all cyclists, and, indeed, each skate is in reality a tiny bicycle. 

These skates were invented by Mr. Ritter, a Swiss, who was foreman at the original Napier Works at Vine Street, Lambeth, London, where (later) the first Napier motor-cars were made. The Ritter skates were popular about 1898, and several well-known cyclists, notably Montague Napier, Walter Munn and A. Hoffman, formed a club and skated on the road every week-end. 

When last heard of (1929) Mr. Ritter was in business as an engineer in Paris under the name of Ritter and Smith, 35 Rue Batignolles. The skates weigh 81 lbs. the pair. They were presented to the Collection by C. G. Bowtle, the well-known racing cyclist.


1896 RITTER SKATES LADIES 01

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1896 Ritter Road Skates 

Ladies Size 10 

Wheels: 5″ Diameter

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Ritter Road Skates were all the rage in the late 1890s. This pair of Ladies’ Ritter Skates, size 10, are in good original unrestored condition. You can see the remains of their original leather straps. Some enthusiasts like their Victorian treasures to be ‘as found’ and unrestored, while others prefer a renovated appearance. Reproduction reproduction leather straps are easy to find (I’ve included a photo of some suitable straps at a cheap price further down the page). The boots can easily be hand-painted in matt black and new straps fitted if a restored appearance is required.

Ritter Road Skates were not originally sold with boots, but I have added a suitable pair of leather boots, as seen here. This pair of historic road skates is to be sold with the boots illustrated, and also a copy of the famous Ritter Road Skates poster.

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RITTER ROAD SKATE: LEFT

 

 

 

 

 

The skates have been marked ‘L’ and ‘R’ in chalk.

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1898 ritter ad

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1896 RITTER SKATES LADIES Left Right

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1898 ritter road skates advert

 

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RITTER ROAD SKATE: RIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LEATHER STRAPS

leather straps

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1897 ritter removal of lunatics copy

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LOCATION: HOVE MUSEUM, E.SUSSEX

hove museum

Hove Museum (at 19 New Church Rd) is a charming place, with friendly and helpful staff, an eclectic array of artefacts, and a decent cafe. Well recommended if you’re in the area.

FOR FURTHER INFO ON

HOVE MUSEUM

PLEASE CLICK HERE

church rd hove

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