It seems that the prices at the “roller skating stock exchange” for vintage Vanathane skate wheels are rising, because of greater demand by skaters. Not without reasons: Vanathane wheels provide a perfect balance between slip and grip on hardwood skating floors, with resistance against flat spots/flattening. Ideal for the current popular moves in style skating. Time to present some basic facts for market participants about Vanathane wheels.
- Vanathane was a trademark of Vanguard Wheels/Classic International Sales Co in Tulsa, OK.
- Production of Vanathane wheels stopped in the late 1980s at Vanguard, and was continued for some years by Crest/Unarco Rubber Products also in Tulsa, OK.
- New Vanathane wheels (remake/replica/reissue) are not the same as vintage ones, because new requirements for environmental and occupational health and safety prevent the use of the original chemical process.
- Vanguard offered four main Vanathane skate wheels: All American Plus, All American Gold, All American Two, All American Dream.
- All American Plus: 57 mm diameter, 31 mm width, hardness 55D (Shore D scale).
- All American Gold: 60 mm diameter, 30 m width hardness 55D, colors white or beige (“gold”).
- All American Two: 57 mm diameter, 31 mm width, hardness 60D.
- All American Dream: 57 mm diameter, 31 mm width, hardness 60D, with aluminum hub/insert.
- All American Plus and Gold are the same compound, difference in the larger diameter of the Gold.
- All American Two and Dream are the same (slightly harder) compound, difference in the aluminum hub/insert of the Dream.
- Vanguard manufactured and sold Vanathane wheels to many other companies with their own brand (e.g. Chicago, Roller Derby, Pacer, roller rink owners, Vanathane rentals, etc.).
- For other companies branded Vanathane wheels and vintage orange rentals are same as All American Plus, mostly also identical shape.
- Visible difference between vintage All American Plus wheels and remakes: Vintage wheels lettering marked with “+” and “VM”, remakes with “+” and “+”.
- Visible difference between vintage All American Dream wheels and remakes: Vintage wheels lettering is broad and glossy, remakes is thin and flat.
- For cleaning of Vanathane wheels after the skating session, water and a scotch-brite sponge are best to use. For persistent dirt, I also used a steel brush successfully, but you might hesitate to treat your treasure so bad…
Now you should be prepared for hunting after the great vintage Vanathane wheels.