Posts Tagged ‘out of the past’

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.

I tried and tried, and now need to switch tracks

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Catch a man a fish, and you can sell it to him. Teach a man to fish, and you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.

I worked throughout the day trying to get, what I thought, was a great blog done for today, only to be fought tooth and nail.  So now we need to go a different track and save my marvelous blog for another day.

The above quote by Karl Marx explains it well.  Bearings Incorporated has gone from a simple blacksmith shop, to the 100 plus year old corporation it is today.  Someone taught the proprietors to fish.  As changes came about, they adapted to them, and we are still adapting to changes today.  We represent multiple product lines, as well as multiple well established manufacturers

Bearings Incorporated  has established themselves over the years, as reliable, trustworthy, and service oriented.  We are now taking the next step in “learning to fish” .  We’re excited about our new website, in the process of being built, and we are hoping it will be launched in September 2010.  Of course as the new comes to life, the links  will all change, but the service, and the dedication towards our customer will never change.

We have “learned how to fish” and continue to prosper in today’s shaky economy.  Not only have we learned to fish, we have also learned to clean, bread and pan fry.

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.

Welcome to Bearings Incorporated!

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

With this being our first blog posting, we have decided to make it a welcome, and teach you a little about us. 

We have been in existence since 1887, starting from a blacksmith shop in now, downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and continuously keeping up with the times to bring us through to today.  We have longevity within our company with employee average of 25.5 years.

We are here to welcome you and your thoughts and postings throughout this new experience of blogging.  This is a learning experience for us, and look forward to your help in making it a success.

Watch for our revamped website at  You will start seeing changes as of September 2010!!  Changes we are planning are it will be searchable for parts, and you will be able to purchase on line!  This is a new and exciting change for Bearings Incorporated, and we would like you to be a part of it as well!!!