On 17 December 2017 at 21:12 | updated on 07 August 2018 at 12:24

Charles Choubersky and his Bicycle Roller Skates (1835-1891)

Charles Choubersky and his Bicycle Roller Skates (1835-1891)

Charles Choubersky left traces in his era through the diversity of his inventions. The railway engineer initiated the beginning of bicycle roller skates in the 19th century. Biography...

By  Alexandre CHARTIER

Charles Choubersky: Engineer, inventor and businessman

Choubersky skates in 1905Charles Choubersky (1835-1891) invented the first "bicycle roller skates". The curious inventor got the idea to place wheels at the top and at the back of the foot in order to lower the skates. So he could use larger wheels to make the ride more pleasant without losing the advantage of the low center of gravity. His various inventions made him a worldwide celebrity.

His youth

He was born in Toula (Russia) and was, according to his father, a railway engineer. Already at the age of 10, he was passionately interested in the topic of ongoing energy. His father took him to the Imperial High School in Saint Petersburg and then to the Institute of Communication Engineers. He was the best of class for four years and got his diploma in 1855 as an engineer. He was appointed lieutenant.

During his time at the institute, he invented a new concept for bridge construction, which he published in 1855 in the newspaper of communication. On the basis of this publication, the director of communications and building construction sent him abroad to study railways and locomotive construction. During this journey he had the idea of the "Makhovoz", which was accompanied by various problems and did not lead to the desired success. The goal of his invention: using the stored energy during the downhill ride for the uphill ride. He inspected and observed the foreign concepts of rail travel to improve it. He even worked for Maggei in Munich as a mechanic in locomotive construction in order to master all techniques.

A career with tracks in rails and locomotive construction
Upon his return from abroad, Charles is commissioned to create a concept for a railway line between the Prussian border and Varsovie. Thus, he studied the railway line between Oryol-Gryoti and Rostov-Vladikavkaz. He worked for many years in the railroad industry, but after his father's death in the 70s, he decided to change his path. His father had left him a grand sum, thanks to which he was able to refuse a government grant for his work abroad and founded a company abroad and developed his own projects.

The big turn

He first lived in Vienna, later in Brussels and finally in Paris. Charles invented various inventions, such as a mobile gas cooker, also known as the Choubersky oven, which earned him great popularity and a high profit. He built himself a large studio in Paris with a department dedicated to his inventions. He invested a lot of money in experiments that sometimes cost him several tens of thousands francs (unbelievably high sums for this epoch!). For him, money existed only to be spent. He spent up to 100,000 francs a year on advertising his inventions in the form of pictures or newspaper articles.

The success

Advertising for Choubersky skates in 1905He opened three stores in Paris where he sold his inventions. Shortly before his death, he even opened a fourth shop in Montmartre, which became known for its elegance and beauty. Renowned artists and architects, including Garnier, the architect of the new Paris Opera, drew all the details and chimneys of the store. His last invention was the "cabinet-sink", which spread in Paris after his death. Two characteristics of his invention were particularly appreciated: the small dimensions and the modest consumption of water. Over the last few years, Charles has focused on perfecting his smaller objects, as the great inventions turned out to be less profitable than improving the things that were used everyday.

HIs inventions brought him worldwide recognition. He was particularly famous in Paris, as he was cited in the list of Parisian celebrities in the "Histoire du siècle: 1789-1889", published in Paris for the International Exposition of 1889.

A tragic end

Especially in his last years he did not seem to be cheerful despite his material comfort. In 1891 he shot himself at the age of 57 years.

In spite of everything, his skates are still well known a century later, thanks to the illustration by Roumain Jean de Paleologu. His roller skates continued to be used from 1870-1914.

In 1898, even competitions in France were organized by Richard Choubersky roller skates. In Paris, the competitions took place in Bois de Boulogne and on a circuit Paris-Versailles.


Released  on 17 December 2017 - Read 4901 times

By :
Fondateur et webmaster de rollerenligne.com. Alexandre est un passionné de roller en général et sous tous ses aspects : histoire, économie, sociologie, évolution technologique... Ne le branchez pas sur ces sujets sans avoir une aspirine à portée de main !

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