- This is a sealed contact ball thrust bearing made by New Departure of Bristol, Connecticut around 1950. New Departure was a division of the General Motors Corporation at this time, and this bearing could handle medium weight axial loads, possibly used in a car. The bearing is inscribed with the serial “55601-A-M.” 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.
- Currently not on view
- Object Name
- overall: 1 in x 1 1/2 in; 2.54 cm x 3.81 cm
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Credit Line
- Anti-Friction Bearing Manufacturers Association
- See more items in
- Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
- Industry & Manufacturing
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.