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The History of Tapered Roller Bearings

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Have you ever wondered how things work? So many moving parts and pieces combined to create machines that many people don't understand. For example, though there are many in the world that understand cars and what makes them "Go", there's twice as many people who just put gas in and hope to get to their next destination. Tapered Roller Bearings are one of these "mysterious" parts that help with the proper functioning of your automobile, as well as many other machines and devices. But believe it or not, these bearings have existed for just short of 300 years! Here's a glimpse into the history books to find out where tapered roller bearings were born.

Who Invented The Tapered Roller Bearing?

Way back in the 1740s, a man by the name of John Harrison developed the first known tapered roller bearing for use in his H3 marine chronometer. A self-taught Englishman with clock making and carpentry as his trades, Harrison had a knack for creating and inventing things. While also inventing the chronometer itself, in order to solve maritime issues with longitude calculations, he used this bearing type to help with the functionality of his invention.

Harrison was certainly not the first to implement bearings into the world, however. There are examples of bearing use as far back as the Roman days. Shipwrecks that were salvaged from the sea were found to use roller bearings for tables that could rotate with the benefit of bearings. While the designs of these ancient bearings were somewhat crude and made from wood, the concept was the same. Eventually, around the mid-1880s, a German company developed a machine that could grind metallic bearings into equally shaped and sized spheres that worked together as a cohesive unit or bearing set. While tapered bearings are not round balls, they are rounded similar to a miniature barrel or cone.

Tapered Roller Bearing Design

The tapered aspect of these bearings refers to the two raceways that configure the bearing. These raceways are tapered to enable the barrel or cone-shaped bearings held within to rotate at the same speed as the raceways themselves. This design also enables tapered roller bearings to be effective for both radial AND axial loads. Many bearing designs are only useful for one type of payload or the other, but very few can be useful for both. They truly are a "bearing of all trades" if you will. The photo above gives some visual interpretation into one of the designs of this type of bearing.

These bearings can be found in wheels, agricultural and industrial machines, windmills, various vehicle types, and many other places. But if you need to find tapered roller bearings for your own purpose, there's only one place you should look to find them. The Big Bearing Store has all types of bearings, with a Big selection, and low prices. There's no need to spend your time looking all over the internet when whatever bearings you need can all be found in one place.

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