Cutaway Bearing

Description
The Aetna Ball & Roller Bearing Company of Chicago, Illinois manufactured this cutaway bearing around 1950. The bearing’s cutaway reveals the cage and ball configuration. The bearing utilizes two patents (1,958,725 and 2,140,818) filed by Louis H. Stein and assigned to the Aetna Ball Bearing Manufacturing Company during the 1930s. The patents related to the balls maintaining proper alignment both at ease and under stress, and better retaining the bearing’s lubrication. 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 - from catalog card: 2 3/4 in; x 6.985 cm
overall: 2 7/8 in x 2 7/8 in x 5/8 in; 7.3025 cm x 7.3025 cm x 1.5875 cm
ID Number
MC*336108.03
catalog number
336108.03
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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