Ball Bearing


The Marlin Rockwell Corporation of Jamestown, New York manufactured these bearings during the 1940s and 1950s. These bearings were used on airplane propeller blades. The bearing consists of an outer ring that may be slipped over the portion of a propeller and an inner ring that is in two or more parts . Between the inner and outer rings is a ball retainer. 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

See more items in: Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Bearings, Industry & Manufacturing


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Anti-Friction Bearing Manufacturers Association

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: MC.336097.01Catalog Number: 336097.01Accession Number: 1977.0585

Object Name: bearing

Measurements: overall: 2 3/8 in x 6 1/8 in; 6.0325 cm x 15.5575 cm


Record Id: nmah_846577

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