Ball Bearing

Description
This is a ball thrust bearing made by the Aetna Manufacturing Company of Chicago, Illinois around 1950. The bearing is inscribed with the serial number “1116.” Thrust bearings bear a high axial load and were used in common applications such as an automobile crankshaft. 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.
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
Object Name
bearing
Measurements
overall: 1 1/4 in x 4 1/2 in; 3.175 cm x 11.43 cm
ID Number
MC*336099.45
catalog number
336099.45
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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