Bearing Display


New Hampshire Ball Bearing Incorporated of Peterborough, New Hampshire created this display of their Micro Precision Instrument Ball bearings around 1950. Ten small ball bearings are embedded in an acrylic plastic block, displaying the precision manufacturing necessary to create ball bearings for micro-instrument 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.

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.336107.01Catalog Number: 336107.01Accession Number: 1977.0585

Object Name: bearing

Measurements: overall: 3 5/8 in x 5 3/8 in x 2 1/4 in; 9.2075 cm x 13.6525 cm x 5.715 cm


Record Id: nmah_846655

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