Kenneth Skinner

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Kenneth A. Skinner
Kenneth Skinner, roller skater.jpg
Personal information
Nova Scotia
DiedJuly 25, 1932
Norfolk, Massachusetts
Height5 ft 9.5 in (177 cm)
Weight140 lb (64 kg)
Spouse(s)Adelaide Cushman
Sportroller speed skating

Kenneth A. Skinner (1861 – 25 July 1932) was a champion roller speed skater in the late nineteenth century.


Skinner was born in 1861[1] in Nova Scotia and came to the United States at the age of 17.[2] He married actress Adelaide Cushman in 1888.[2] He died at Pondville State Hospital in Massachusetts in 1932.[2]


Skinner was considered the American champion speed skater in 1884,[3] although this was before the sport was standardized by any governing body so definitive championships are hard to determine.[4]

According to fellow skater Bright Star, Skinner was the inventor of ball bearing wheeled skates.[5]

Skinner sometimes competed on skates against opponents on bicycles. Skinner lost these races, but not by much.[3] Bicycles of the time were primitive.

According to the New York Clipper, Skinner "throws forward his chest in a most remarkable manner" while skating.[1]

Races won[edit]

Length Time Date Location Opponent(s) Notes
2 miles 8:29.75 20 May 1883 Boston O'Rourke, Alliston New England championship
2 miles 8:04 F.G. Stumcke, A.F. Rivard
1 mile 4:15.75 Boston Bert C. Thayer
5 miles 22:29.75 December 8, 1883 Boston B.L. Bailey
20 miles 1:35:7 January 22, 1884 Haverhill Ladd American championship
5 miles 21:37 Haverhill Nate E. Clark
4 miles 17:36 March 6, 1884 Lynn Nate E. Clark
5 miles 20:9.25 March 7, 1884 Boston Nate E. Clark

Source: Roller skating made easy, 1884[3]


  1. ^ a b "Kenneth A. Skinner, roller-skater". New York Clipper. 32 (44). January 17, 1885. p. 698. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Kenneth A. Skinner: one-time world roller skating champion and early auto dealer". The New York Times. Norfolk, Massachusetts. July 27, 1932. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Smith, E. (1884). Roller skating made easy. Portland, Maine. pp. 72–74. LCCN 05024001.
  4. ^ Turner, James; Zaidman, Michael (1997). The History of Roller Skating. Lincoln, Nebraska: National Museum of Roller Skating. ISBN 0965819205.
  5. ^ Diffendal, Anne P. (1989). "Fred "Bright Star" Murree: Pawnee Roller Skater" (PDF). Nebraska History. No. 70. Lincoln, Nebraska: Nebraska State Historical Society. pp. 158–163. Retrieved October 24, 2020.