Posts Tagged ‘history’

Bearings – Fun Facts!

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

While it’s true that bearings might not come up in everyday conversations, they may never be the theme at Bingo night, or even come up during a heated game of trivia – but there are definitely a few things about bearings you don’t yet know, and they are far from boring!

Bearings Aren’t New

Yes, there are many new ways we’ve found to implement the handy little buggers, but that’s not to say bearings haven’t in fact been around a very long time.

It’s easy to think that bearings just sprouted up out of nowhere as modern technology has risen in the last 50 years, but they’ve been around far longer than that.

Thousands of years ago, the ancient Egyptians used a form of roller bearings to build massive structures such as the great pyramids.

Remains of Roman ships dating back to 40 BC have been found with wooden ball bearings that supported rotating tables.

Bearings manufacturing giant, Timken, was issued their first patent for Timken Tapered Roller Bearings back in 1898.

Bearings are Everywhere

Did you ever hear the phrase, “a spider has eight legs and there’s always one within eight feet of you?” It would be easy to guess the same is true for bearings.

If you take a quick look around, you will notice bearings are everywhere, all around you. They’re in water heaters, microwaves, computers, airplanes, satellites, telescopes, washing machines, skateboards, and the list goes on and on.

Bearings are Perfect

In shape and structure, that is.

If you were to take it upon yourself to attempt to file down a ball bearing – in the how many licks does it take to get to the center of a lollipop kind of way – your file would be guaranteed to wear out long before the ball bearing ever does!

Secondly, they’re perfectly round. For a fun comparison – if you were to expand a ball bearing to match the size of the Earth, you would notice that the ball bearing would be more round than the Earth itself. This has to do with centrifugal forces pulling at the Earth, making it an oblate spheroid rather than a perfect spherical object.

Bearings Won the World’s First Bicycle Race

According to the New World Encyclopedia’s history of bearings: In August of 1869, the first French patent for ball bearings was received by Parisian bicycle mechanic Jules Suriray. Shortly after that, James Moore came in first place in the world’s first bicycle race, the Paris-Rouen, in November of 1869. His first place medal was no doubt thanks to the new bearings that had been fitted to his bike.

We Once Declared War on Bearings

During the Second World War, factories in Germany that manufactured ball bearings were often targeted to be destroyed. Reason being, the bearings were an essential part of the war industry in Germany, and thus destroying them gave the Allies a much needed headway. Schweinfurt was one location of a major bearings manufacturing plant that was targeted.

Bearings Make the World Go ‘Round

Global demand is pushing bearing manufacturers to churn out more product, faster, with ever more innovative designs. As consumers and corporations demand more from technology, and the bearings market continues to grow, we’re sure to see bearings play an important role in our future.

It’s been 1 month now …

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

and we were pleasantly surprised that we exceeded our first month goals….And I’m very pleased with the results of our new Website at Bearings Incorporated .  Thank you for your help !

Come on .. let’s take a refresher tour …

Not only can you purchase bearings, with our stock being revealed more and more on a constant basis; you can read up on our history, you can check out our manufacturers, with links to some and more to come. Stop in and check out our testimonials to see what our customers really think of us.

Currently our site only takes Paypal or Credit card, but we have plans for the future of adding open account as an option (with prior approval of course). To find forms for entertaining the idea of opening an account with us, check out our Forms page. You can also use this page, if you reside in the state of Wisconsin; and are tax exempt, a few clicks, and you have a valid Tax certificate for filling out and forwarding to us.

And of course, our contact us page in which you can inquire about purchasing our products. Just because it may not be listed doesn’t mean that we can’t get it. We will be changing the on line stock items on a regular basis, and it will take time for us to upload all of the available vendors we have.

And then last but not least — the blog connection .. which completes our circle, as it will attach directly back to here.

I must apologize however, as we are set up to do business only within the 48 US continental states. We do not export outside of this parameter.

Let’s make our second week even better!

Thank you again for your present and future patronage!

It’s now been a week ……

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

….And I’m very pleased with the results of our new Website at Bearings Incorporated .

Come  on .. let’s take a tour …

Not only can you purchase bearings, with our stock being revealed more and more on a constant basis; you can read up on our history, you can check out our manufacturers, with links to some and more to come.  Stop in and check out our testimonials to see what our customers really think of us. 

Currently our site only takes Paypal or Credit card, but we have plans for the future of adding open account as an option (with prior approval of course).  To find forms for entertaining the idea of opening an account with us, check out our Forms page.  You can also use this page, if you reside in the state of Wisconsin; and are tax exempt, a few clicks, and you have a valid Tax certificate for filling out and forwarding  to us. 

And of course, our contact us page in which you can inquire about purchasing our products.  Just because it may not be listed doesn’t mean that we can’t get it.  We will be changing the on line stock items on a regular basis, and it will take time for us to upload all of the available vendors we have. 

And then last but not least — the blog connection .. which completes our circle, as it will attach directly back to here.

Sign in for making a purchase, and with that purchase you can enter the coupon code of BRGS into the coupon box, while checking out, and save 10% off of all products.  This coupon code is in effect until March 15, 2011.

I must apologize however, as we are set up to do business only within the 48 US continental states.  We do not export outside of this parameter. 

Let’s make our second week even better!

Thank  you again for your present and future patronage!

The Modern Development of AntiFriction Bearings (part 1 of 2)

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

From the Standpoint of

Friction….

The frictionless characteristics of ball and roller bearings are well known.  While of little practical use in the actual bearing design, perhaps, it is interesting to compare the abilities of various types of bearings as measured by the coefficient of friction.

One of the outstanding differences between antifriction bearings and plain bearings, for example, is that the antifriction type will maintain an almost uniformly low coefficient of friction during wide variations in loading, whereas the plain bearing will under the same conditions exhibit a coefficient which varies greatly.

Another fact it is well to  remember is that during non-operation of plain bearings the load or weight of parts generally forces out the oil, destroying the film on which its operating effectiveness rests, and since there is no rotation to  build it up again, this leads to metal-to –metal contact and high starting friction in plain bearing machinery.  Further, this momentary sliding contact between the metals in the plain bearing produces probably the greater portion of the total wear in a plain journal, as observed after a period of operation.

The friction characteristics of plain bearings are largely influenced by variation in the lubricating medium, and while anti-friction bearings do require a careful selection of lubricant, they are not nearly so sensitive to changes in type of characteristics.

As contrasted with the plain journal in which the oil is expelled during periods of inoperation, the anti-friction bearing presents rolling elements (either balls or rollers) between the load-carrying surfaces at all time, and therefore does not suffer from a similar action.  The absence of this sliding friction at the start of operation has the effect of reducing the power required to start machines, and where a number of motors is involved this may be an item of considerable interest to the user.

Reliability

 

Anti-friction bearings could not have gained the widespread acceptance they have in the past few years without embodying the utmost reliability.  Airplanes, railway cars of conventional and high-speed design, steel mill equipment, pulp and paper machinery, a great variety of machine tools, an almost unbelievable amount of textile machinery, mining equipment, delicate apparatus such as gyroscopes, signal relays, train control equipment – indeed an almost endless list of successful applications can be credited to anti-friction bearings.  Coupled with this, the nationwide facilities of a great number of bearing companies make ball bearings readily available items.  Replacement or rebabbitting of plain journals gives way to long, carefree service, and at economical costs.

Modern production and specialization has made almost every unit of apparatus vital in the accomplishment of a definite purpose, and each unit depending upon another must perform exactly as advertised.  Reliability, therefore, is not a quality to be considered only in connection with a given piece or type of apparatus, but rather something that spreads over all industry.  Throughout the processing of almost any manufactured article, or even raw material, the effect of anti-friction bearings can be observed today.  In the deepest mines ball and roller bearings are permitting high efficiency and low cost.  In the actual obtaining, handling, conveying, and delivery of raw material in steel mills almost every process depends to some extent on anti-friction bearings.  In transportation in the air, on land, and on sea, they are contributing to the prompt and efficient dispatch of materials to thousands of manufacturing plants where more efficient machinery is delivering products of an endless variety to their respective fields of usefulness.  In the textile field utilization of anti-friction bearings has been carried out to a remarkable degree.  Millions of automobiles are creating records of economical performance from advantages obtained with anit-friction bearings.  In power transmission, in the ventilating industry, in the paper industry and in many other specialized fields they are outstanding in their performance.

Part 2 of 2 — Modern Development of Anti-Friction Bearings … from the standpoint of Precision  and Lubrication coming on Tuesday, November 23 …

History and Early Development

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Our library -- availablity of old catalogues .. Fafnir -- 1947

The history of Anti-Friction bearings extends into antiquity.  It is known that primitive peoples used hard, round objects for a number of purposes, more notably as missiles, the sling supplementing the club in early warfare.  Then coconuts and round stones were used on occasion to eliminate such friction as primordial man encountered, for he soon discovered that he could move a log or a slab of stone more easily in this fashion.  When recorded history is reached, it is found that balls and rollers were often used to ease the path of sledges and the movement of building material, such as in the building of the Pyramids.

It was the invention of the wheel, and of the wheel and axle, that brought the plain bearing into existence, however.  From that day to this, the effort to improve on this ancient contrivance has  been virtually continuous.  The first wheels were made entirely of wood, but as metals gradually came into use the endeavor to lessen friction was restricted to the improvement of these metals.  With the advent of lubrication, the plain bearing slowly became more efficient. 

Through all these centuries there were no attempt to sue balls or rollers in bearings supporting wheels or axles, and actually antifriction bearings made but little progress during the first three of four thousand years of which there is a record; it was not until the 19th century that any headway was made.

The commercial development of the anti-friction bearing dates from four major inventions of the 19th century — the steam engine, and the electric motor, the bicycle, and the automobile.

With the coming of steam and electrical power, machines were developed to operate at higher and higher speeds.  Friction graduated from a minor annoyance to a major obstacle.  In short, anti-friction bearings became a necessity. 

But, curiously enough, the ball bearing owes it’s commercial debut to the bicycle more than to anything else.  Rapid strides in the development of ball bearings were made during the bicycle era, chief of which was the comprehensive study of the properties of balls and bearing engaged in the by Stribeck and Goodman at about the turn of the 19th century.

These studies are still looked on as the basis of ball bearing designing, and the elaborate researches gave the ball bearing a sound, scientific foundation.  As the automobile supplemented earlier forms of transportation, anti-friction bearings came into their own, making the motor car possible, and the latter in turn building up the anti-friction bearing industry to its present full-grown status.

Bearings have been in every day life for years….

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

If you think about it; more than 4500 years ago, Egyptians used cylindrical rollers to move large heavy blocks of stone need for pyramids, preempting the use of ball bearings.

Similar usage was done in the creation of Stonehenge years later.

Leonardo de Vinci discovered the principle of the bearing in the 15th century. He realized that friction could be reduced if the balls did not touch each other. With this realization he designed separators allowing the balls to move freely. This design was reinvented in the 18th century when a horse carriage axle fitted with a ring of balls rolling in semi-circular grooves made in teh axle was patented in England.

Bearings have been a part of every day life for years.

Computers have bearings in the hard drives.
Exercise equipment is equipped with various bearings

Ball bearings are used in daily objects such as:

  • electric guitars
  • bicycles
  • video game controllers
  • blenders
  • camcorders
  • garage door openers
  • hot tubs
  • aquarium water pumps and aerators
  • roll and in line skates
  • cellphones

Yes — even Cellphones .. What makes the phone vibrate.  The phone vibrates from a tiny motor — which uses bearings in which to run.

The Hubble telescope and weather satellites are classic examples of ball bearings as part of the highest technology.

100 Plus Years — Surviving a Century of Change

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

The product line may have changed over the years, from horseshoer to auto springs and bearings, and finally to industrial bearings, but the basic philosophy of service has remained the same. 

When the automobile age dawned at the beginning of the 20th century, it spelled bankruptcy for thousands of buggy whip makers and horseshoeing establishments.  But for Wisconsin blacksmith, Jacob Widmeyer, it spelled opportunity.

Widmeyer closed shop and reopened as a supplier of springs and bearings to the auto trade.  Today, his company, now named Bearings Incorporated, and based in Germantown, Wisconsin thrives in the industrial bearing business. 

Succeeding in the Auto Age

The horseshoeing business of J. Widmeyer and Company, was a profitable one.  The company shod the prize draft horses that pulled beer wagons for the well-known Milwaukee breweries.  Private carriage owners were also welcome. 

By the early 1900’s, the company had become the largest horseshoeing business in the Midwest.  It’s 12 employees worked in a cavernous building that looked more like a factory than a blacksmith shop.  It extended a half-block back from the street, and beside it was a large courtyard where newly shod horses could be hitched up to carriages.

But the next few decades brought revolutionary changes.  The automobile, once a novelty for the rich, became a means of mass transportation.  In 1918, Widmeyer closed shop and reopened as WidmeyerAuto Spring and Bearing Company.  By 1930, almost all the old blacksmith shops were out of  business, but Widmeyer was already well-established in his new field.

“The company began supplying springs and axles for buses,” explained John H. “Jack” Schliesleder, who joined the company as a delivery boy.  “I can still remember delivering springs to the local transport company.”  As the industries around Milwaukee Grew, Widmeyer also began supplying a wide range of industrial bearings. 

In 1941, Widmeyer sold the business to Mae and William Farrell, Jack’s aunt and uncle.  The business, renamed Bearings Incorporated, soon dropped out of the auto spring b8usines and focused on the industrial bearing business.  In 1958, after William Farrell’s death, Jack assumed control of the company.

Today, our 100-plus year old company supplies bearings and other items, including chains, sprockets and oil seals from various manufacturers.

The company remains a close-knit family business. Throughout the years,  Jack’s children have all been active in the business.  Our company retains a commitment to our customers that have enabled us to survive for over a century.  We’ll go great lengths to take care of a customer. Our motto is, ‘If you can’t find a bearing anywhere else, you can find it here.’

Fifty years or so after Jacob Widmeyer’s death, the company he founded continues to prosper.