Victorian Roller Skates, Ritter Road Skates.
An extremely rare pair of early road skates sold by the Road Skate Co. of Oxford Street, London. The skates are clearly marked ‘LEFT’ and ‘RIGHT’ and are also stamped on the heel “THE ‘RITTER’ PATENT”, “The Road Skate Co., 271 Oxford Street, London”. Each skate has a pair of 6 inch spoked wheels with a solid rubber rim mounted one behind the other, very much like today’s inline roller blades. On either side there are hinged oak splints to support the ankles, at the top there are the original leather straps to secure the skates to the legs (normally these are missing). Each skate has its own brake and it is applied to the front wheel by pulling a cord which would follow the wooden strut up to within a few inches of the skater’s knee. The ‘Road Skates’ were the invention of a Swiss gentleman called Mr. Ritter who was a foreman at the Napier Works in London, where later on the first Napier motor cars were made. The skates were very popular around the end of the 1890’s and were made in different sizes for ladies and gentlemen, these are gentleman’s skates with the size 11 ½. All one had to do when ordering was to send an outline drawing of your boot to get the correct sized skate.
A stand has been made for each skate so as they can be nicely displayed.
One of the images shows a collection of three adverts for the “Ritter Skates”.