Did Roller Derby Produce The World's First Commercial Skateboard?

There's a lot of debate as to who mass produced the world's first modern day skateboard. Many think it was Roller Derby so we're trying to get to the bottom of it...
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There's a lot of debate as to who mass produced the world's first modern day skateboard. Many think it was Roller Derby so we're trying to get to the bottom of it...

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When it comes to finding out which (or what) was the first skateboard to be sold to the public, the answer is: we’ll probably never know unless someone spends years researching.

It is easy to find inventors and companies claiming the fame, but finding the real first commercially produced skateboard is definitely not that easy. For its first edition, the magazine Skateboarder published a full page advert by Skee Skate of California saying: “This is it! The skateboard that started all!”

Many collectors and historians agree on the fact that the eponymous skateboard launched by the Roller Derby Skate Corporation was the first skateboard produced on a mass production scale. However, no one could prove it. The Roller Derby was a board made from wood, with a rounded tip on one end and modified roller-skate wheels attached on the other end. It didn’t have concave forms and no grip as well. Just a shiny red paint all over it. Many fans states that the Roller Derby was launched in the late 50s, but the company itself keep saying that their board was first out in 1963.

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The current vice president of Roller Derby, David Kennedy, published a nine pages promotional brochure from 1964 to respond to the allegations. Jim Scheller, Roller Derby vice-president at the time began working for the company in 1957.

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Scheller says: “I do not remember seeing any of our skateboard in 1959. I believe that the first skateboard we produced was out in late 1963 or early 1964. The idea came from a guy named Sloniger who was our warehouse manager in California back in the days. All we had to do was a little reorganization of the plant in Litchfield, but not too much, and that was how we started our business. A very good business”.

Roller Derby might not be the company having produced the first commercial skateboard, but it might have been the first one to mass produce their boards as many skateboarders still ride them today!

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