Daredevil Motorized Roller Skates From the 1960s
In 1956, the Motorized Roller Skate Company of Detroit began manufacturing self-propelled skates. The company was established a year earlier by Antonio Pirrello, a relentless inventor hailing from Lincoln Park, Michigan.
Priced at $250, which is equivalent to a staggering $2300 in today’s money, these skates were equipped with a 19-pound gasoline motor that was carried like a backpack. The motor was connected to the right skate for propulsion, while the left foot was extended forward for steering. A separate cable connected to a hand-held clutch allowed for speed control. And these skates were fast, capable of reaching speeds up to 40 miles per hour!
Antonio Pirrello and his innovative motorized skates gained recognition and were featured in Life and Popular Mechanics magazines. They also made appearances on television shows like “You Asked for It” and “The Today Show.”