1870s. Item #1842
Various: 1870s. Nine items of ephemera, more particularly described below. A small archive related to James Plimpton and growth of roller skating. In 1863, Plimpton patented a roller skate that led to explosive international popularity of the sport His quad skates people to steer much more easily by leaning right or left. These were acquired from a New England antiques dealer. Several of the items, including the Spiller handbill, were acquired in multiple copies. The group also included a trade card (not included here) for Plimpton's brother's (or nephew's) steel business next door to Plimpton Hall in Boston. These facts lead us to believe that the group may have been leftover marketing materials that Plimpton still had at his death. 1. Union Roller Skating Association Membership Card. Boston: [circa mid-1870s]. 1 7/8” x 3 3/8”. Printed form adhesive mounted to card. Very good, light wear, form is partially separated from card. We can find no mention of this association in contemporary newspaper accounts. 2. Hints, Rules, Regulations, & c. , To Be Observed at Skating Classes. N. P. : N. P. , [circa mid-1870s]. 8” x 3 5/16”. Handbill. Very good with light wear. We imagine these were posted and/or given out to attendees at Plimpton's skating classes. The rules are strict, but number 8 gives permission to stop a skating circuit to assist a lady. 3. Handbill Promoting Skating Performance of A. F. Spiller. [England]: [1870s]. 6½” x 4½”. Very good: light dogear to two corners, two pinholes. Spiller touted himself as “Champion Skater of the World” and was performing his singing act on skates as early as 1867. He was also an inventor. We imagine that Plimpton picked up this handbill while in England during one of his patent infringement suits against Spiller. 4. Announcement. Skating Classes at the Rooms of the New York Skating Association. New York: Am. Church Press, Printers, 1876. 8 1/8” x 5 ¾”. Handbill printed one side with manuscript correction. Very good plus: fresh with a light curl to lower left corner. Soon after he patented his revolutionary design in 1863, Plimton started the New York Skating Association to promote the activity. This handbill advertises group classes taught by William H. McClure and Frankie Johnson, as well as private lessons. 5. Handbill Promoting Public Skating Assemblies. New York: 1875. 7 7/8” x 5”. Handbill printed one side. Very good: tiny closed tear and crease at lower left corner. A variant approach to the marketing of skating classes, a year earlier than the one above. 6. Printed Form for Notice of Patent Infringement. New York: 1870s. 8 ½” x 7”. Printed form, blank, with printing on both sides. Very good: light wear, faint creasing and a couple small soil spots. Plimpton so vigorously defended that it caused him severe financial trouble. Probably to save money on lawyers, he had this printed form made to notify people who were violating his intellectual property. 7. Flyer for Brighton Skating Rink. Brighton, England: Curtis Bros. And Towner, [circa 1874]. 9 3/8” x 7 3/8”. Single sheet folded, making four pages of text. Very good with moderate edge wear and a couple tiny chips and closed tears. Plimpton's invention took England by storm, with over 50 rinks in London alone by the mid-1870s. The inside text contains blurbs on skating in England from recent newspaper articles. The back page contains rules for skating, along with Plimpton's rationale that he could never sell his skates, and must therefore rent them, “Circular Running Roller Skates have over twenty working parts, and must often be taken apart to clean, lubricate, and adjust, and hence require more mechanical skill than one skater in fifty is likely to possess. ” 8. Flyer for Huddersfield Skating Rink. Huddersfield, England: N. P. , [circa 1874]. 8 7/8” x 7 ½”. Single sheet folded, making four pages of text. Near fine with minimal wear. This advertising flyer for the Huddersfield rink is nearly the same as the one for Brighton, above. There's no children's admission and skate rental is twice the price. The text on the remaining pages is the same, save for a change in font for the headers. 9. Flyer for Cheltenham Skating Rink. Cheltenham, England: Shenton, 1876. 9 ¼” x 7 3/8”. Single sheet folded, making four pages of text. Near fine with old folds. We doubt this advertisement was for a Plimpton rink as there is no mention of Plimpton and the rules on the back page are different. That said, the image of the skate is the same one used in all the Plimpton materials. This item is offered by Langdon Manor Books, LLC, antiquarian booksellers. Please do not hesitate to contact us for additional information and/or photos and we will respond promptly. 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