Svenska Kullagerfabriken (the Swedish Ball Bearing Factory, SKF) manufactured this caged single row deep groove ball bearing during the 1950s. The deep groove of the bearing ring enabled it to carry heavy axial loads and radial loads without any increase in friction. Deep groove ball bearings are the most used ball bearings and due to their versatility, they are used in most industrial applications. 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.
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