What Was the First Commercially Produced Skateboard?
Friday, 25 November 2011
answer is: We may never know. Many inventors and corporations are quick
to stake a claim, but finding that first commercially produced
skateboard may be a futile search. In the first edition of the Quarterly
Skateboarder, a full-page ad by Skee Skate of California makes a heavy
claim: “This is it!!!! The skateboard that started it all.” Others begs
to differ. Many historians and collectors believe the eponymous
skateboard launched by the Roller Derby Skate Corporation was the first
mass-produced skateboard. It well may be, although no one is certain
when it was launched.
Roller Derby was a wooden plank with a rounded tip at one end and
modified roller-skate steel wheels attached. It boasted no concave or
even kicktail, no mention grip tape, but it did have a snazzy bright-red
paint scheme. Many believe the Roller Derby made its debut in 1959. But
the company itself claims it introduced the board in 1963. David
Kennedy, Roller Derby’s current vice president and CFO in Bottoms up
views of the Humco Surfer which got all high tech with a spring loaded
suspension. Humco courtesy G&S. Litchfield, Illinois, responded to
this important query by producing a nine-page Roller Derby skateboard
promotional brochure—first published in 1964.
Scheller was Roller Derby vice president at the time. He began working
for the company in 1957: “I don’t recall any skateboards in 1959. I
believe that the first skateboard production for Roller Derby was in
late 1963 and the beginning of 1964. The idea came from California,
where we had a warehouse managed by a guy named· Sloniger. We did a little retooling at the plant in Litchfield but not much, and it turned out to be a good·
business. Very good.” While the Roller Derby may not have been the
first commercially produced skateboard, it was likely the first mass
produced board, as many of them survive today.
Written By Ben Marcus: The Good The Rad and the Gnarly