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Remember When: Clamp skates

Maxine Clark remembers when her brother would use scraps of wood, adjustable clamp skates and nails to make his own coaster. “During the Depression years of the 1930’s, there was not always enough money to buy toys. Making our own was more fun,” she writes.

SELMA – Before shoe skates were made, there were roller skates that clamped onto your regular shoes. Clamps at the sides and straps around the ankles held the skates on. The skate key tightened or loosened the clamps. You always carried the skate key with you while skating.

The length of the skate was adjustable with the nut and bolt that held the front and back of the skate parts together. When your shoe size changed, the skate could be adjusted to fit it.

The skate could be taken apart to be used on a skate coaster. A skate coaster is a scooter with skate wheels.

My oldest brother made lots of skate coasters in his growing up years. He used an old skate and a piece of board from the woodpile that measured two inches by four inches and was about 30 inches long. He nailed the front of the skate to one end, and nailed the back of the skate to the other end of the board. Horseshoe nails worked best. Sometimes, he used straight nails and pounded them in a little way and then bent them over the skate.

Next, he used an empty orange crate that an uncle had sent with oranges in it. That was nailed to the top front end of the board. On top of the orange crate, he nailed two one-inch square, eight inches long pieces of wood for handles, and angled them for easy steering.

The skate coaster was ready to use.

The wood for our woodpile was collected from building sites by my father for the purpose of fuel for the dining room stove, and for kindling for fireplace logs. It was the boys’ job to take out the nails and cut the wood to size, and pile it neatly under the back porch. The woodpile was a good source for creative projects.

During the Depression years of the 1930’s, there was not always enough money to buy toys. Making our own was more fun

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