Where Are They Now? - Motorized Roller Skates

David K. Israel

Year: 1956
Device: Motorized Roller Skates
Purpose: Transportation in rural areas/delivery services in cities

Manufactured by the Motorized Roller Skate Company located in Detroit, these self-propelled skates were actually powered by an eensy weensy one-horsepower piston engine that the operator would wear on his back like a backpack. The little motor connected to a flexible shaft that transmitted power to the rear wheels of the right skate. The machine was equipped with a one-quart gas tank and had hand controls for the clutch, accelerator, and another for cutoff.

Although the engine could propel a skater at speeds up to 17 miles per hour for about 30 miles without stopping, the Motorized Roller Skate Co. never offered any practical suggestions on dealing with what to do when one needed to actually STOP!

Needless to say, this baby skated right on into the Where Are They Now? Category. That the pair retailed for $250 in 1956 certainly didn't help.