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Skateboarding and the polyurethane wheel
Frank Nasworthy made his mark in the history of skateboarding after he introduced the polyurethane wheel technology in the early 1970s, sparking the second wave of skateboarding.

In the 1960s skateboarding experienced a surge in popularity, that is now known as the first wave of skateboarding. But up until the 1970s, skateboard wheels were the same as the ones used by rollerskaters, made out of either steel or clay composite. The poor equipment led to many accidents and the banning of skateboarding in many American cities, and by January 1966 skateboarding had gone under ground.

Fast forward to 1970. While spending the summer in Virginia, Frank Nasworthy visited a friend whos family owned a plastics factory in Purcellville, called Creative Urethane. The factory had experimented with a softer polyurethane wheel for novice roller skaters, but the new wheels never became popular as the roller skaters favored harder wheels that gave them more speed on the wooden floors of the roller rinks. But when Frank Nasworthy came across a barrel of discarded wheels, he realised they would be perfect for their skateboards. He got a bunch of them that he brougth home to Washington, and spent the rest of the summer testing them around the city with his friends.

Frank Nasworthy later moved to California, and in 1972 he invested his savings of $700 to form the Cadillac Wheels Company. The company had some success, but was eventually overtaken by other manufacturers.

The rest, as they say, is history.


Larry Stevenson has later revealed that Makaha Skateboards was looking into urethane wheels in 1964, and even bougth some from Chicago Roller Works to test them. The wheels worked well, but in the end it was decided that $1 per wheel on a $7 board was to expensive for the mass market.


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Bahne Skateboard with Chicago Trucks and Cadillac Wheels.


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