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Bearing Lube

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Old 05-08-2007, 08:20 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Waco, TX
Posts: 269
Default Bearing Lube

While looking at the shaft bearings from HEROINE last Friday at Texas A&M, we got into a discussion about what was used for for lubrication in the 1830s. Bearing lube that is, there is pretty good consensus about what the engineers were lubricated with. The lube cups on the bearing caps are nothing more than a shallow cup shaped depression with a slightly raised rim and an approximately 3/16" hole drilled to feed the bearing. They are not large- about 1-1/2 inches diameter and 1/2 inch deep. I don't think petroleum oil and greases were available yet in the mid 1830s. So, what was used? We were speculating that rendered animal fat was most likely, liquified by the heat of the bearing. Does any one have an idea?

The outboard port shaft bearing cup had never been drilled, and the lack of lubrication had predictably destroyed the top brass. The cap and shaft were heavily scored. On top of that, the bearing was cockeyed. She must have sounded like a cat with his tail caught in the door as she came up the river.
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