MRO Magazine

BSA unveils interesting facts in Brief History of Bearings report

Glen Ellyn, IL -- Did you know the earliest bearings were made of wood? That fact comes from the latest ESC Report...


November 1, 2004
By MRO Magazine

Glen Ellyn, IL — Did you know the earliest bearings were made of wood? That fact comes from the latest ESC Report from the Bearing Specialists Association (BSA) Educational Services Committee (ESC).

BSA’s “Brief History of Bearings” says the use of a rolling element to move heavy objects dates back to Ancient Egypt.

Much later, Leonardo da Vinci, employed for a period as a hydraulic engineer serving the Duke of Milan, spent time analyzing bearings, linkages, gears and various other mechanical transmission modes. Many of his ideas are still celebrated in engineering circles.

Steel developments in the 1800s transformed bearing manufacture and use. The report also traces more recent developments in the second half of the twentieth century.


“Brief History of Bearings,” like all other ESC Reports, is available free by downloading from the BSA website,

The ESC Reports are a program of BSA’s Educational Services Committee. These special bulletins present summarized information on topics of interest to the bearings industry. Previous reports have included Bearing Repair, Vibration Analysis, Seal Selection, Load Ratings and Bearing Life, The Domestic Bearing Industry: Investing in the Future, Status of Bearing Load Ratings, History of Adhesives, Seal Selection, The Anti-Dumping Ruling, and Plane Bearings.

ESC Reports are just one of a variety of education and training programs and publications provided by the association.

BSA is an international service and educational organization of distributors, representing more than 70 companies distributing factory-warranted ball-, roller-, and anti-friction bearings. For information about the association, or to obtain copies of the ESC Reports, contact BSA at Building C, Suite 20, 800 Roosevelt Road, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-5833; telephone 630-858-3838; fax 630-790-3095, or visit the BSA website at