Norwegian speed skates

Fig.1: Norwegian speed skates, around 1930

Around 1885 the Norwegian speed skating champion Harald Hagen designed the first ice skates with runner blades that were soldered in metal tubes. Detail 1a shows their initial appearance. From a description in a book that was published in 1888 we know that the present speed skates are very much the same as the first metal speed skates of more than 125 years ago:
very long, accurately straight grinded runner blades of only 1.0 to 1.5 mm wide;
soldered in tinned iron tubes with tinned iron platforms of which the first stands approximately 1 cm inward (detail 1b);
harder steel than the Dutch, English and American models of that time;
use of special boots with very thin soles and without heels;
that are fixed to the platforms with copper thread;
very low weight.
The large photo shows a Hagen model that was sold around 1935. It has all the characteristics mentioned above be it that the boot was riveted to the platform instead of sewed (detail 1c).

Manufacturer: L.H. Hagen & Co., Oslo (N); mark: detail 1d and 1e
Technical data: total length: 44 cm; height over ice: 6.5 cm at the rear, 5 cm at the front; platforms 29 cm long, 9 cm wide; runner blades: 1.5 mm thick, weight: 400 g including boot

(The ice skates shown have been given in long term use by courtesy of Henk Jan Drenthen, Eindhoven.)

The mark in detail 1d shows that these skates were made in the factory of L.H. Hagen & Co., Oslo. Unclear is whether there were family ties. But this might well be the case. Hagen was a manufacturer of weapons like swards and shotguns as the mark makes clear (detail 1e). Interesting is that they also made the ski's Scott used for his expedition to the South pole.

The present Oslo was called Christiania until 1925. The mark in detail 1f mentions Christiania as address and since this mark comes from the skates in the figure alongside it is clear that they were made before 1925. This figure is shown for the reason that these skates are fastened with straps instead of copper thread or rivets. Just like the skates in figure 2 underneath.

.2: Norwegian speed skates, around 1910

As in the small picture above these skates are fastened with straps. They come from a different factory however. Therefore it seems that this way of fixing has been common for some time. Detail 2a shows in which way the heel was secured: a pin and two edges in combination with a strap that is lead through the hole that can be seen after the stanchion under the heel plate.

Manufacturer: Christiania Staal & Jernvarefabrik A/S, Moss (N); mark: Ving (see detail 2b)
Technical data: total length: 41 cm; height over ice: 5.5 cm; platforms: 29 cm long, 9 cm wide; runner blades: 1.5 mm thick; weight: 400 g

Fig.3: Norwegian speed skates, around 1960

Sold as Ving Balangrud Racer (detail 3a) this has long been the standard skate for the Dutch top skaters. The model was named after a famous Norwegian all-round speed skater making furore between 1920 and 1930.
Manufacturer: Christiania Staal & Jernvarefabrik A/S, Moss (N); mark: Ving (detail 3b)
Technical data: total length: 41 cm, height over ice: 6 cm; platforms: 26 cm long, 7.5 cm wide; runner blades: 1.6 mm thick; weight: 600 g including boot 


detail 1a

detail 1b

detail 1c

detail 1d

detail 1e

detail 1f


detail 2a

detail 2b

detail 3a

detail 3b

2002-12 The virtual Ice Skates Museum. All rights reserved.
home | sitemap | copyright | contact