Henry H. Timken

Inducted 1977

With his father and brother, patented the Timken tapered roller bearing that provided the foundation for the Timken Roller Bearing Axle Company in 1899

Propelled his family’s company to the forefront of the industry with the production of bearings and related products world-wide

Henry H. Timken’s technological improvements to the horse-drawn carriage extended to the automobile and saved millions of vehicles from needless wear and tear. Ball bearings were already in use when Timken and his brother, William, worked alongside their father in the family’s carriage-building shop.

In 1895, the elder Timken challenged his sons to come up with an improvement that would reduce friction and improve the reliability and longevity of their carriage’s axles. Three years later, Henry and William Timken patented their tapered roller bearing. Henry Timken’s foresight paved the way for the Timken company to make the transition to the automotive age.

Seeking out auto pioneers in the shops and alleys where they tinkered, he learned about their vehicles’ requirements. He then was able to design and manufacture bearing products that satisfied the performance requirements of a wide variety of vehicles. Timken drew inspiration from his father, who said “If you have an idea which you think is right, push it to a finish. Don’t let anyone else influence you against it.” This vision and a strong desire to create quality products established the company as the world’s largest makers of bearings during Timken’s lifetime.

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Class of 1977

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