​The History of Bearings

The History of Bearings

Modern day bearings are a part of everyday life that most people aren’t even aware of. They are used in any application that has a rotary motion; from CNC Machines and Airplanes, to bicycles and computer fans.

The first sign of a bearing, however simple, was found to belong to the Roman Empire, around 40AD. It is rudimentary in style and thought to have been used to circulate food around a table. Essentially it’s our modern day Lazy Susan bearing.

Fast forward about 1450 years and you find the first hint of the modern day bearing. Leonardo Da Vinci invented the first modern style bearing in 1498-1500. He was lead to this invention through another. He designed a machine he believed would allow 4 people to fly/float through the air. His design was like a modern-day helicopter, but this was 450 years before the first helicopter ever took flight.

The first patent for a modern ball bearing, like we know today, was in 1794 and was granted to a Welsh inventor, Philip Vaughan. His design is looks like the bearings we use today, almost unchanged for over 200 years. Vaughan was also an Ironmaster, so you can imagine that this would come in handy when perfecting his design.

As you can see looking back humanity has come a long way with our bearing designs. These designs allow for further invention and exploration as we grow and develop all over the world. These days there are so many different types of bearings. On our website we have more than 25 different bearing categories, and that isn’t including things like adaptor sleeves and locknuts that are equally as important. With modern technology, and precision engineering, we are now able to adapt and create bearing with specific purpose with extreme precision.