Tekniska Museet
100 Innovations - Tekniska museet

An exhibition at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Stockholm, 2012 – 2018

The ball bearing

The ball bearing

Ingress för att beskriva innovationen

The ball bearing

A ball bearing should be able to support great loads and are used in large and small machinery with moving parts. Photo: Archives of the National Museum of Science and Technology.

The ball bearing

A close-up of a ball bearing manufactured by SKF. From the collections of the National Museum of Science and Technology. Photo: Ellinor Algin.

Kort fakta om innovationen

Kort fakta (2) om innovationen

Rubrik för små genier

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The ball bearing

The development of industry during the 1800s required durable machines with a long life. Sven Wingquist´s spherical ball bearings from 1907 lay the foundations for the Swedish ball bearing company, SKF.

Even when they built the pyramids in Egypt they rolled small stones on logs which acted like a ball bearing. The bearing helps to distribute the weight and prevents wear. If an ant had access to ball bearing technology it could move an elephant.

There are different kinds of ball bearings in nearly all machines that have moving parts. Those used in medical devices are sometimes only a few millimeters in diameter. One of the biggest bearings in the world weighs 70 tons and has a diameter of 13.3 metres. It is on a tower on the Terra Nova oil field on the coast of Canada.

Rubrik för nördar

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