Relics of the Empire: Bearing Samples

Schatz Manufacturing, a major bearing producer in Poughkeepsie, made a sample case to show off their wares:

Schatz Ball Bearings
Schatz Ball Bearings

You can tell by the yellowed backing paper that these have been around for a looong time.

It turns out that Poughkeepsie had two bearing manufacturers. Federal Bearings went into the products of other locally important industries:

Federal Bearings
Federal Bearings

A detailed look shows what was important, back in the day:

Federal Bearings - Detail - IBM Card Sorter
Federal Bearings – Detail – IBM Card Sorter

Schatz and Federal later merged into Shatz Federal Bearings, eventually become Shatz Bearings, and still operate in Poughkeepsie. Some of their industrial waste remains here, too.

Out in the garage I still have a few grease pilots (*) from the final Schatz Federal downsizing / going-out-of-business / moving / whatever sale. A friend bought several sets of heavy-duty steel chests-of-drawers which contained, very much to his surprise, a huge assortment of grease pilots, ranging in size from fit-on-your-thumb to cover-a-dinner-plate, which he obviously had no use for. He unloaded them on me with a phrase that has lived on forevermore:

They’re a buck apiece, unless you take all of them, in which case they’re free.

You’ll find the sample cases on the top floor of Adriance Library, should you ever be in town.

Taken handheld in ambient light to avoid harsh flash shadows, then perspective-distorted to make them look like I was standing directly in front of the reflective plastic covers.

(*) Different from a “pilot bearing”. A “grease pilot” is a two-part circular steel assembly used to inject grease into the bearing races before snapping the shields in place. They’re painstakingly machined to cup the balls and fill the gaps, with a pipe fitting on the back surface for the grease pump.

2 thoughts on “Relics of the Empire: Bearing Samples

  1. When I lived in California, I built up a stash of bearings in various, occasionally useful sizes. Most of these were surplus stock from the industrial outfits in Silicon Valley (semiconductor equipment manufacturing was big, though the Bradly M2 IFV was developed locally, and Lockheed did odd things in their Missile and Space division.)

    Haven’t been there since 2003; I assume the surplus places are gone; most of the semi-equipment places left or were assimilated.

    Now, I get bearings on line. Easier in a way, but not as fun.

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