G. U. A. Vieth, On Skating

After over two centuries, this historic document—one of the foundational works on skating—is finally available in English. First published as a lecture in 1789 and republished as a book in 1790, Vieth’s treatise on skating provides an overview of what skating was like in Germany in the late eighteenth century.

Vieth uses poetry and physics to draw readers in and teach them to skate a spiral line. He is unique among early skating writers in connecting skating to dance and recommending musical accompaniment.

This book was first published under the German title Ueber das Schrittschuhlaufen, but it is often recorded as Ueber das Schlittschuhlaufen or Über das Schlittschuhlaufen.

82+iv pages, illustrated
ISBN 978-1-948100-09-0 (b&w paperback)
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Gerhard Ulrich Anton Vieth (1763–1836) was a German mathematics teacher and one of the founders of Germany’s physical education movement. He was among the first to propose a physical education curriculum for schools, including safety considerations. His best-known work is his Versuch einer Encyklopädie der Leibesübungen (Attempt at an Encyclopedia of Physical Exercises). He also published books on mathematics and physics.


Vieth in skating history
Vieth’s life and work
Translator’s note

On Skating
Klopstock’s poems

Further reading
Illustration credits