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"[Science fiction is ] That branch of literature which is concerned with the impact of scientific advance upon human beings."
- Isaac Asimov

  Powered skates for personal transportation.  

Personal mechanized transportation was on everyone's mind in 1911; the automobile was now a familiar sight. In the world of Ralph 124C 41+, another alternative was available.

...Ralph bade Alice sit down on a chair in the vestibule. He pressed a nearby button twice and a servant brought two pairs of what appeared to be roller-skates.

In reality they were Tele-motor-coasters. They were made of alomagnesium and each weighed only about one and a half pounds. Each had three small, rubber-covered wheels, one in front and two in the rear. Between the wheels was a small electric motor - about the size of a lemon; this motor could only be operated by high frequency currents and, despite its small size, could deliver about one-quarter horsepower.

From each coaster a thin insulated wire led up the wearer's back to the hat or cap. Here it was attached to the collector, which was a stiff pin about eight inches long, projecting half-way out from the hat or cap. This pin sucked up, as it were, the high frequency electricity and carried it to the small motors, which latter propelled the coaster. To control the speed of the motor, one simply lifted up the front part of the coaster; this not only cut off the current, but automatically braked the two rear wheels.

"...the Tele-motor-coasters would not be possible were it not for the metallic streets. The flat spring which trails on the street between the two rear wheels must make continuous contact with the metallic "ground" else the current cannot flow.

From Ralph 124c 41 +, by Hugo Gernsback.
Published by Modern Electrics in 1911
Additional resources -

The power for this device is broadcast power.

Here's a graphic image by Frank R. Paul from the publication of the novel in Amazing Stories Quarterly (1929).

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Ralph 124c 41 +
  More Ideas and Technology by Hugo Gernsback
  Tech news articles related to Ralph 124c 41 +
  Tech news articles related to works by Hugo Gernsback

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