Inventor of Ball Bearings

Updated July 24, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

The Question:

My son and a friend are working on a an 8th grade history project. Could you tell us who invented or patented bearings? He loves skateboarding and this is why he chose this topic.

The Answer:

The brilliant Leonardo da Vinci was first to develop an early model for ball bearings in the 16th century. Ball bearings, or antifriction bearings as they are sometimes called, are one type of rolling bearing that is used to help reduce friction between two moving parts (like skateboard wheels on an axle).

But it wasn't until 1791 that English inventor Philip Vaughn obtained the first patent for today's ball bearings while working on carriage axles.

Here is an interesting article on How Bearings Work, including information about different types of bearings. And if you have any more questions about inventors, check out our chart of important Inventions and Discoveries.

-The Editors

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