From the time he was born, my father’s family expended a lot of energy and resources in a futile attempt to make him into someone else. He was the unwilling scion of an archaic business of the 19th century variety – one that was 100 years old when he sold it in the late 1960’s – after every relative who could object had conveniently passed away.
Afterwards, he focused on import/export ventures that never seemed to work out. One was a hand cream from England which my mother and I really liked but apparently no one else did. Another product which was not so good – freeze dried honey for food manufacturers – tasted artificial to me but I never had the nerve to share this with my father. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Anyway, someone had to encourage him and if not me, then who?
The three-wheel roller skates were another story! I don’t know where dad found out about them, or their inventor who, like my father, must have been a dreamer obliged to spend his days working at an uninspiring job.
But one day he brought home a prototype pair for me to try, and filmed me skating up and down the sidewalk in front of our building …They really stopped traffic, and although they were heavy, the ride was much smoother than the conventional 4-wheeled skates. There were no inline models available then, so these were “state of the art” at the time.
Nothing came of this business deal either, and I can honestly say that I am likely the only person in this great universe who is the lucky owner of an authentic pair of “Super King 3-Wheel Roller Skates!”
Home movie of my wobbly ride on the skates.
scientifically this is best roller skates, centre of gravity is lower, 3 wheels balance is most stable as compared to in-line skates and quad-skates. turning is easy. best design for roller skates
Thre-wheeled skates? I’m still convinced three are better than four. And you get free space to accomodate a toe brake. I used Tri-Skates around 1975, before Rollerblade hype. People looked at me as if I were an alien. Such skates were (again!) made in UK, I believe by Yaxon, a toy company. They were great.
Everything was already invented. Olson bros from Minnesota just copied.
Could anyone find & post here additional info on Tri-skates and producer, besides this (unique) shot??
Are these skates worth anything?
To me they are, but I doubt they are worth very much at all.
I have an uncle who has a pair but can’t find any information on them. He purchased them at a garage sale. Any more I info? Thanks
Where (city/state) if in US did your uncle find his pair of skates? Are they the same style and color? Could he forward a picture of them? I’m curious!
Reason I ask, is that if you click on the bottom picture of the box they came in, you will find the only info I have aside from what my dad told me, re: their origin and manufacturer. Made in Great Britain by Davies Steele Specialties in Pembroke Docks Wales. Year? My best guess is between 1968 and 1971. Thanks for sharing.
update: found link to patent application for skates at this website: http://www.wikipatents.com/GB-Patent-871951/improvements-in-and-relating-to-roller-skates – and found additional info about the company at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/southwest/yoursay/topics/askalocal.shtml
Can any one help Harry Dixon an ex employee of the Davies Factory, Pembroke Dock?
“I often ponder the fate of this factory. It was located in Pembroke Dock, at the intersection of Carmarthen Road and Ferry Lane. The full name was Davies Steel Specialities – it produced roller skates and ice skates and also various metal products of a similar nature. I think it employed about 100 personnel when it was going strong when I left in the spring of 1950.”
Peter Mandell of Spalding has this information:
” The firm went into receivership in 1971 and was closed down. All the machinery was purchased by a Midlands scrap firm C.C.Cooper and auctioned on their behalf by Henry Butcher. The linishing machine from the electroplating shop going as far afield as Canada.”
I was fascinated by your story and pictures. When I was 10 years old, I arrived from
France with 3-wheeled roller skates. They had hard rubber wheels. Two up front on
the outer edges of the foot bracket and one wheel centered behind the heel portion
of the skate. They were quiet, easy to maneuver and even had brakes up in the front which were used much like roller-rink skates (backwards). Advantages were: Speed, quieter ride,
braking power for street use. Also, I could sprint off by using only the two front rubber pads
(much like a ballet dancer) then settle down to normal side-to-side movements as in regular
Thank you, Andre, for sharing your experiences with three-wheeled skates! It sounds like a lot of independent minded roller skate fans were trying to come up with the perfect skate at that time — and look where we are today, with the popularity of inline ones? It seems that speed won out! I discovered an actual roller skate museum recently, The National Museum of Rollerskating in Lincoln Nebraska. Their url is: http://www.rollerskatingmuseum.com/ Enjoy! And thanks again for stopping by and writing.
i know this is an old blog, but i have a pair of skates very much like Andre’s. rubber tires say “MIDONN” and “PARIS”; there is a logo on the underside showing a 4-wheeled winged skate. right now, on e-bay is a photograph, ca 1908, showing an exibition style framed wall display of three wheeled skates.
Interesting..I’ll have to check that out! Thanks.
What a fun childhood! To wait at the front door for the next surprise in a box – wow. The skates are odd, though. People love symmetry. Products without it always fail. (Pure speculation.)
It was a lot of fun — And your comment about the skates/symmetry issue fits on so many levels — from the personal (dad’s unusual view of the world) to design philosophy.. Although the rationale behind the 3-wheels was that it would be easier to turn without lifting the feet (which was a good thing in this case because the skates were so heavy!). Thanks for visiting!
Those wheels are huge! I wonder how much that had to do with the skates’ smoothness.
The size of the wheels definitely helped — although their weight caused ankle fatigue!