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Do you know what connects the Pyramids, the “Mona Lisa”, and a healthy smile?

Leonardo da Vinci, the artist, cartographer, astronomer, and painter of “The Last Supper” and the “Mona Lisa”, was also an engineer. His research and discoveries predated the invention of helicopters, tanks, submarines, watch works, and even parachutes by centuries. It was in his design for an early helicopter, in 1500 (!) where da Vinci first diagrammed a bearing.

da Vinci wasn’t the first to use bearings. There’s evidence to show both ancient Egyptians and ancient Romans used bearings of one kind or another. The Egyptians used plain bearings to transport huge blocks of stone to build the pyramids. Drawings show workers riding on large sleds with runners and pouring water on the sand to decrease friction. The Romans used rolling ball bearings later. Researchers found a rotating table on a wooden ball bearing in Roman ruins dated 40 BC. We still use wooden bearings in grist mills and water wheels. I’m getting to the healthy smile part.

Another famous Renaissance man, Galileo Galilei, conceptualized the caged bearing. In the 1700s, watchmakers began using caged roller bearings in their designs. These days, fine watches use sapphire bearings to lessen friction, creating a more precise timepiece. Still not smiling?

Today, manufacturers, engineers, and fabricators need ball bearings to keep their machines moving. They’re in so many different types of products, we often take them for granted, but without bearings, dental drills, milling machines, and robotic arms would come to a halt. Well, maybe we wouldn’t mind the dental drills stopping.

What connects the Pyramids, the “Mona Lisa”, and a healthy smile? Bearings.

In other words, without Leonardo da Vinci, we’d all have toothaches.

Are you interested in any of our other Bearings 101 articles? Here’s our glossary of bearing terms and our article comparing bearings and bushings. 

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Premium Quality Bearings Produced by the Industry’s Leading Manufacturers.
Since 1957, Alpine Bearing has sought the industry’s leading manufacturers to ensure the delivery of high quality bearings to OEMs, distributors, rebuilders, and individuals. We specialize in miniature and instrument, Thin section, spindle, Thinex and torque tube, stainless, chrome, radial, angular contact, and ball screw support bearings of all precisions. With thousands of bearings in stock, same day shipping is available on most products.

Alpine Bearing has a Class 10,000 clean room and as a certified re-lubrication facility for New Hampshire Ball Bearing (NHBB) & Nippon Miniature Bearing (NMB), we can customize our bearings to suit your needs. Bearings can also be re-packaged for optimum protection.

Offering bearing re-lubrication services
Alpine Bearing’s re-lubrication center is a class 10,000 clean room with Class 100 laminar bench work stations certified to Federal Standard 209E. We are a certified re-lubrication facility for New Hampshire Ball Bearing (NHBB) & Nippon Miniature Bearing (NMB). We can customize bearings to suit your needs. We also re-package bearings for optimum protection.