This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.
The friction reducer.
Canada’s greatest contribution to the design of modern machines is the roller bearing. Created by George Thomas of Digby County, Nova Scotia, in 1879, the bearing reduces if not eliminates the friction generated by the contact of moving machine parts with stationary ones. The device does so by housing rollers or ball bearings within a roller cage. Today, roller bearings are more important than ever. They are small yet critical components of a variety of devices - from bicycles and cars to farm equipment and industrial machinery. These friction reducers mean smooth running for the world’s machines.