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No. 4622: Rockin' up MTV

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Rockin' up MTV

First | Previous | 2022-01-13 | Next | Latest

Permanent URL: https://mezzacotta.net/garfield/?comic=4622

Strip by: Manyhills

John Joseph Merlin {wobbling}: I crashed into sixty-three mirrors, but I still like them
{John Joseph Merlin smashes into another mirror}
John Joseph Merlin {off-panel}: Sixty-four!
Garfield: Ladies and gentlemen, the inventor of roller skates!

The author writes:

John Joseph Merlin is generally credited with the invention of the roller skate. Famously, he debuted them during a ball, at which... well, I'll let Thomas Busby's Concert Room and Orchestra Anecdotes, as quoted on Wikipedia, explain:

One of his ingenious novelties was a pair of skaites contrived to run on wheels. Supplied with these and a violin, he mixed in the motley group of one of Mrs Cowleys' masquerades at Carlisle House; when not having provided the means of retarding his velocity, or commanding its direction, he impelled himself against a mirror of more than five hundred pounds value, dashed it to atoms, broke his instrument to pieces and wounded himself most severely.

From that episode you might assume he was a somewhat pathetic Jon-like figure, but he seems to have been well-regarded in fashionable London society for his talents and whimsies, if perhaps also indulged as an eccentric. His most visible legacy is an automaton for which he created the clockwork mechanism, a finely sculpted swan on display at the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, County Durham, United Kingdom.

Original strips: 1998-04-13, 2004-01-21.