Round and Round We Go
The machinist side of me enjoys checking out all things mechanical, and this wheel assembly with Timken Roller bearings mounted on the axle ends was of interest to me, giving me an understanding as to the weight they can support in the form of the gondola car pictured when fully loaded, based on the size of bearings used.
Of course many of us have experience with Timken Roller bearings, their being used throughout different industries in many different forms, including the vehicles we ride in.
Henry Timken patented the tapered roller bearing in 1898. On December 15, 1899, The Timken Roller Bearing Axle Company was incorporated in St. Louis, Missouri, marking the official launch of what would become The Timken Company. The Timken Roller bearing Axle Company was set to make axles equipped with the new tapered roller bearings for wagons and carriages.
In 1929, the locomotive, “The Four Aces” as built to prove the economic benefit of using Timken bearings and steel. It was intended to showcase advance materials designed to pull either freight or passenger trains. Unveiled in April 1930, the locomotive demonstrated its capabilities on long hauls and steep grades under all conditions, consuming less fuel and water yet more powerful than comparable engines.
Timken bearings became standard on passenger cars and locomotives during the late 1920s to the early 1930s. Freight cars were left with the old-fashioned bearings because the improved performance on the cars was not immediately obvious. However, the old bearings would frequently leak or dry out causing overheating of the bearing journal box – a situation termed a “hot box.” Often, these overheated bearings could lock wheels, cause derailments or fires that would destroy the entire railroad car as well as cars coupled to it. Henry Timken created the roller bearing to increase lubrication which in turn reduced friction.
The Timken AP bearing, a pre-lubricated, self-controlled, two-row bearing was introduced in 1954. The demand for these innovative bearings became so great that another plan at Columbus was opened in 1958 to make only AP bearings.
Expand the photo for a closer look.....