Ball Bearing

Description
This is a caged six-ball single row deep groove bearing that was made by Fichtel & Sachs of Schweinfurt, Germany around 1950. The bearing is inscribed “W C 6405B.” German bearing manufacturers had a long history of manufacturing bearings in Schweinfurt, and their production during World War II made them a target for American bombings. The Anti-Friction Bearing Manufacturers Association collected bearings for a public relations exhibit during the early 1950s, and donated them to the museum in 1977.
German bearing manufacturers had a long history of manufacturing bearings in Schweinfurt, and their production during World War II made them a target for American bombings. Bearings were a vital component in the tanks, airplanes, machine guns, heavy artillery, and submarines used by the belligerents during the war. In preparing for their invasion of Northern Europe, the Allies sought to gain air superiority by disrupting Germany’s production of warplanes. The Pointblank directive outlined the Allies plans, making fighter aircraft factories the prime target, with bearing factories the second most-vital target.
Simple bearings have been used for thousands of years reducing friction on turning parts like the axles of carts. In the late 1800s and early 1900s advances in machining and production expanded bearing use in all types of machines greatly increasing their life and precision. Bearings reduce friction on turning surfaces and keep them running true. Bearings come in a variety of shapes and sizes (including ball, roller, tapered, and simple friction). Modern bearings are often set in an inner and outer ring (called a race) sometimes with cages (separators) spacing the bearings. Changes to the size, shape, alignment, race, and cage allow for bearings to be used in almost any industry—from industrial turbines and automobiles to household mixers and computer hard drives.
Location
Currently not on view
Measurements
overall: 7/8 in x 3 1/8 in; 2.2225 cm x 7.9375 cm
ID Number
MC*336099.52
catalog number
336099.52
accession number
1977.0585
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Industry & Manufacturing
Bearings
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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