Sunday, 5 February 2012


Adopted from a French word as renk, meaning a space for jousting, the first use of ‘rink’ was in the Scottish dialect as for a place for jousting and later racing, and then figuratively for a contest itself. Later, from the 1780s, ‘rink’ was used for the area of ice specified for curling, and later for ice-skating, and from the 1870s, for roller-skating, when the craze in the United States gave rise to the term ‘Rinkomania’.

The first refrigerated rink built in London was the Glaciarium, constructed in London’s Covent Garden in 1844, with a skating area backed by a panorama of Lake Lucerne. Entry cost 1 shilling, with skating an extra shilling. The proprietor published bills announcing the spectacle ‘on Thursday 25th of January, 1844, [of] the most extraordinary Thaw ever witnessed in this Country or any other’. ‘Glaciarium’ became a generic word for ice-rinks, as established in Melbourne in 1906 and Sydney in 1907. The quality of the ice has always been important – a notice in the Sporting Gazette of 15th April 1878 states that it used ‘real ice – Gamgoe’s patent, not natural’. Rinks now are resurfaced by a ‘Zamboni’, a machine named after its inventor, Frank Zamboni.

from Team Talk: Sporting Words and their Origins

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