Henry Timken

Born: 1831
Birthplace: Bremen, Germany

Tapered roller bearings—The bearings that existed in the late 19th century worked well at reducing friction but ran into problems when wheels had to bear heavy loads from the sides, as when vehicles turn. Henry Timken tackled the problem and created a tapered roller bearing in 1898. A year later, he established the Timkin Roller Bearing Axle Company which grew rapidly as the product was in great demand by cars, trucks, and tractors. By 1923, 90% of the country's production came from Timkin. His slogan “Wherever wheels and shafts turn,” describes the widespread use for bearings—trains, conveyors, elevators, aircraft engines, even space shuttle landing wheels.

Died: 1909