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Title: Skates
Identifier: 993.1.10 a, b
Donor: Thompson Adamson
Item Date: 1890-1920
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Bradley Museum

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Description: A metal spring ice skate. The heel and instep clamps are present

Original ice skates were created using pieces of animal leg bones strapped to the foot. Ice skating probably originated around Denmark and spread throughout Europe by way of trade routes. By the 14th or 15th century metal was being used for skate blades with wooden platforms. Skates would have been bound to the foot with materials like leather. Early skate blades were wide and low with a large curl at the front. Skaters would have glided across the ice as opposed to actually skating. Between 1650 and 1850 there appears to have been no real development in ice skating technology. In 1850 skates of differing styles begin appearing named after the location in which they are produced and used (examples include the Holland ice skate, Friesland ice skate and English ice skate). With the industrial revolution metal platforms soon overtook the use of wood ones and mass produced skates became the norm over hand made pairs. Different types of skates were developed for different uses as activities like speed skating, figure skating and hockey gained in popularity.

Spring Skates were invented in Canada in 1863 in Dartmouth Nova Scotia by John Forbes and Thomas Bateman of The Starr Manufacturing Company Ltd. They were patented the same year and became world famous. The first steel or iron skate blades had to be fastened to a persons boot with screws and clamps. The spring skate eliminated the use of screws and plates as it used a lever to 'self fasten' the blade to the boot. (Some information taken from

The skates were donated by Thompson Adamson (1912-2001). According to him they belonged to Jack Hammond of Erindale. Adamson was a descendant of Dr Joseph Adamson, a founder of St Peter's Church. Thompson's family farm was situated where the Erindale High School and the Police Station are today. He wrote several historical pieces such as “175 Years of History 1825-2000 St Peter's Anglican Church, Erindale” (Erindale: St Peter's Anglican Church, 2000). Adamson was also Past President of the Mississauga South Historical Society and a member of the Streetsville Historical Society. He received several including the Provincial Award from the Ontario Heritage Foundation.
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