The History of Bearings and Movement
When man designed, or recognised the wheel, he made another immediate dilemma. The wheel needed to sit on an axle to allow it to rotate. Because the axle stayed immobile in relation to it, too much friction was created for the wheel to be effectively used for extended periods. Axle grease helped, but it was extremely messy and sticky, and it didn’t last all that long.
Bearings were invented to resolve this dilemma. Initially, mere shims of metal with grease were still required, however, with time they became more advanced as new bearing forms were invented. They appear to have been with us for a long time now. In fact, I’ve read that varieties of spherical bearings have been discovered on a Roman ship named ‘Nemi’, which was constructed around 40 AD. The brilliant Leonardo da Vinci must have read about them too, because he was first in establishing the initial prototype for a set of ball bearings, and that was way back in the 1500’s.
Philip Vaughan, who was a Welshman and an iron master as well as an inventor, patented the original design for actual ball bearings somewhere in Carmarthenshire as long ago as 1794. They were created to support carriage axles.
During World War II, English bombers often targeted German ball-bearing factories, as they were very vital to industry and war production. While the average person knows little of these essential machines, there are huge companies who make nothing else. SKF for example, is a world leader in its field. They specialise in Roller Bearings and SKF Bearings, as well as having a notable place in the manufacture of Elastomeric Seals.
NTN, which is one of the biggest bearing manufacturers in the world, creates the world famous NTN bearings. With manufacturing factories worldwide, NTN is one of the leading bearing suppliers for both the automotive and industrial markets. In addition to bearings of all shapes, types and sizes, NTN is also a substantial player in the manufacturing of constant velocity junctions. These are crucial components in auto drive-trains. With its headquarters in Japan, and with over 18,000 employees in 27 countries, NTN leads in building precision equipment.
Nachi bearings are a significant Japanese owned company. But, they have factories all over the world, and are a enormous, multi-faceted economic giant. They incorporate many forms of production, but still produce numerous kinds of bearings.
When a 500 ton plane comes in for a landing, Timken bearings make it safer. A deep technical application experience and expertise helps to safeguard the aero-industry’s trust in Timken. Timken communicates globally with their customers, providing engineering remedies. In turn, this minimizes costs by enhancing performance in their essential production applications.