Re: Friction Bearings – How Old Is This Term?

Tim O'Connor

I disagree. By "definition" a bearing is something that bears a weight, if words mean anything.

I have heard railroaders use the 'friction bearing' term. Terminology in the Cyclopedias is technical
and is intended for use by mech engineers machinists draftsman and skilled maintenance and construction
workers so no doubt others made up their own terms that varied by place and time.

On 7/4/2021 11:30 PM, D. Scott Chatfield wrote

But were they using "friction bearing" to describe a type of journal bearing or were they using it correctly to describe one type of side plate bearing?

"Friction bearing" is an oxymoron since a bearing by definition is an anti-friction device.  

As has been pointed out to me in the past, plain journal bearings are a type of sleeve bearing, and the "solid" journal bearing is a variant developed later (1940s?), so not all plain bearings are solid bearings.  But before the development of the roller journal bearing there was really no reason to call journal bearings anything other than just journal bearings.  The use of the inaccurate and unnecessary term "friction bearing" had to start somewhere. 

Scott Chatfield

Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts

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