R. Jones, A Treatise on Skating

Cover imageA new edition of this book has been published!

First published in 1772, Robert Jones’s Treatise on Skating is the oldest surviving book about ice skating. It begins with advice on choosing skates and starting to skate, then details more difficult maneuvers for advanced skaters. Several editions, some containing new material, were published in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Today’s readers will find this glimpse into the beginning of figure skating fascinating.

This edition includes the full text of the original 1772 edition, the sheet music for “The Skater’s March” from the 1780 edition, the letter to the reader from the 1797 edition, and W. E. Cormack’s 1855 revisions, plus a new introduction and notes. The sheet music is also available as a pdf download.

In honor of the book’s 250th anniversary, the full text is now available as a pdf download.

98+iv pages, illustrated
ISBN 978-1-948100-00-7 (paperback)


The beginning of figure skating
Skating in England
Robert Jones
W. E. Cormack’s revision
Editorial process

A Treatise on Skating


Section I
Of the different methods of fixing on skates
Of the construction of skates
Of the first position
Of the inside edge
Of travelling on the inside edge
Of the outside edge
Of travelling on the outside edge
Of the curved line on the outside edge, called rolling
Of running

Section II
Of the spiral line
Of the inside circle
Of the outside circle
Of the flying Mercury
Of the fencing position
Of the salutation
Of the serpentine line
Of travelling backwards
To cut the figure of a heart on one leg

Later Additions

The skater’s march
The editor to the reader
Preface to the first edition
Preface to the present edition

New and revised instructions
Of the construction of skates, and the different methods of fixing them to the foot
Travelling backwards
Outside wheel and outside edge backwards
Serpentine line backwards
Concluding injunction