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Philip Vaughan 1794

Philip Vaughan, an iron master from Carmarthen Wales, patented the first ball bearing mechanism. He described how iron balls running in a groove between the wheel and axle would reduce friction in his patent of 1794.
Philip Vaughan Ball Bearing Patent
Philip Vaughan Ball Bearing Patent

Vaughan was a carriage maker and wanted to improve the direct contact between the axle and wheel to reduce the wear.

Literally a Revolution
If the wheel is one of mans greatest inventions the bearing is close behind. Vaughans bearings made carriage travel more comfortable lessened the strain on horse power and reduced maintenance.

Ball Bearing animation
Ball Bearing animation
The success of the bearings caught the imagination of other engineers who applied the principle to a multitude of rotating machinery. Bearings improved and miniaturised in the coming years and now just about every moving device has bearings to reduce friction.

  • Transport - every car lorry bicycle
  • Home - Washing machine, foodmixer, Vacuum, DVD
  • Factory - Machinary, robotics, trolly, forklift.
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