Bearing Display

Description
Barden Precision Ball Bearings of Danbury, Connecticut created this display of their precision ball bearings around 1950. Seventeen small ball bearings are embedded in an acrylic plastic block, displaying the precision manufacturing necessary to create ball bearings for small form-factor applications. Barden was founded during World War II to manufacture bearings used in the Norden bombsight. 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.
Bearings were used to reduce friction for thousands of years before late 19th century industrial production techniques made their use ubiquitous. Bearings reduce friction by facilitating radial and axial movement between surfaces, allowing heavy objects to move at high speeds while saving critical parts from the wear of friction. Bearings come in a variety of shapes and sizes (such as ball, roller, or tapered) and are commonly 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 automobiles and airplanes to heavy machinery and hard drives.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
bearing
Measurements
overall - from catalog card: 3 in x 4 in x 5/8 in; 7.62 cm x 10.16 cm x 1.5875 cm
overall: 3 in x 4 in x 5/8 in; 7.62 cm x 10.16 cm x 1.5875 cm
ID Number
MC*336107.04
catalog number
336107.04
accession number
1977.0585
subject
Bearings
Industry & Manufacturing
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Bearings
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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