About us

Bearings Incorporated got its start in 1887 as a horse shoer and blacksmith shop.  Our founder, Jacob Widmeyer, started as an apprentice blacksmith at age 16 in Washington County, Wisconsin.  When he was 20, he moved to Milwaukee to continue his trade.  After four years as a journeyman, he went into business for himself.

In 1887, he opened J. Widmeyer & Company, which grew to be the largest horseshoeing business in the Northwest.  In 1918, when the automobile replaced the horse and buggy as the main mode of transportation, he became an auto springs and bearing supplier, and changed the name of his company to The Widmeyer Auto Spring and Bearing Company.  His business is recognized as one of the few companies to successfully make the change from the horse and buggy to the automobile.


William Farrel and his wife, Mae Williams Farrell, who was Jacob Widmeyer’s secretary for many years, assumed control of the company in May 1941, before Jacob’s death.    Bill’s reign as President saw the company grow into a bearing specialty house. To keep pace with this growth, he changed the name of the to its present name; Bearings Incorporated.  He dropped the auto spring business and concentrated on the industrial bearing trade.  This is still the main thrust of our business.


John H. “Jack” Schliesleder started to work for the company while Jacob Widmeyer still was President.  He started as a delivery boy and worked himself up to salesman for Bill Farrell, as he worked he acquired stock in the company. In March 1958, a few months after Bill’s death, Jack inherited the balance of the stock and was elected President.  Jack operated by the motto “If we don’t have it, we can get it for you.”   This still holds true today; serving our customers is our number one concern.


1992, Bearings Incorporated opened it’s Germantown location and upon Jack’s death, the Presidency was passed on to his son, Jim Schliesleder.  We hold true to today, 2012, the customer service that we applied throughout the years.



Last modified on December 14, 2013