59 School Street, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539 - 508.627.4441
Martha's Vineyard Museum MV Museum

EOD2015

1880–1882

Samuel Winslow

Worcester, Massachusetts

Wood, leather, brass

Gift of Edward W. Vincent


The most popular roller skate of the 1880s was the "Vineyard" model. Designed and manufactured by Samuel Winslow and sold all over the world, it was named after the Vineyard Roller Skating Rink in Cottage City, where it was introduced.

The rink was built in 1879 and managed by Frank Winslow, who also ran a skating rink in Boston. In addition to renting skates and providing a smooth floor, Winslow made the rink a center of entertainment, with parties, balls, sporting matches, and skating demonstrations. One contemporary account described elegant banners and "Japanese lanterns . . . profusely arranged in fanciful groups throughout the entire building." The octagonal skating floor was surrounded by seats, where as many as one thousand people could watch the skaters or listen to music played by the orchestras that Winslow hired.

Popular as it was, the rink only lasted fourteen years. It was damaged beyond repair in the 1892 fire that destroyed the Sea View Hotel across the street. The building was demolished and never rebuilt.