Re: Friction Bearings

Andy Harman

At 09:44 AM 6/4/2016 -0700, you wrote:
Actually, be careful with this statement. The measured frictional resistance is vanishingly small between solid and roller bearings at all speeds above about 5 miles per hour.

The thing about changing technology is that often there's no special name for the old tech. It was just a "bearing". So when roller bearings came along they had to invent a marketing name for the "old bearings" that implied inferiority. Hence "friction".

Like, today what is a "light bulb"? We'll probably still be calling them that long after argon-case encased glass globes with tungsten filaments are relegated to museums. Or "digital modem", which is an oxymoron - but "modem" no longer means "MOdulator / DEModulator", it means "box between your computer and the communications network.

I suppose the term "friction bearing", whether correct or not, has the same meaning to both railroaders and model railroaders and if one is motivated to correct the terminology, then one must understand the reference. In other words, communication was successful.

There are plenty of cases where modeling terms differ from prototype terms by necessity. In that regard model builders have more in common with the car builders than with railroaders and shippers who use the cars. The "end user" of a car is concerned with its capacity and ability to do the job. Builders and modelers care about details like how many panels, riveted or welded, etc. I enjoy learning about all of these aspects. I bought my first ORER about 10 years ago, and while it contains no photos or much of anything useful to a model builder, it's invaluable for determining the service live of a specific class of equipment. If I have an undated photo, and I can find the car in the ORER I at least know something about its service life. It has come in very handy especially when modeling steam and transition era cars in my own era. I've put aside a number of models I considered too early only to discover examples in service in my era still wearing a 1947 paint scheme.

Anyway... terminology is good, especially when its understood.


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