Schultz, Robert M. William Langer Jewel Bearing Plant, Bulova Watch Company, Inc., Rolla, North Dakota.
A bearing used in quality timekeeping devices, gyros, and instruments; usually made of synthetic corundum (crystallized Al2O3), which is more commonly known as ruby or sapphire. The extensive use of such bearings in the design of precision devices is mainly due to the outstanding qualities of the material. Sapphire's extreme hardness imparts to the bearing excellent wear resistance, as well as the ability to withstand heavy loads without deformation of shape or structure. The crystalline nature of sapphire lends itself to very fine polishing and this, combined with the excellent oil- and lubricant-retention ability of the surface, adds to the natural low-friction characteristics of the material. Sapphire is also nonmagnetic and oxidization-resistant, and has a very high melting point (3685°F or 2029°C). Ruby has the same properties as sapphire; the red coloration is due to the introduction of a small amount of chromium oxide. See also: Antifriction bearing; Gem; Gyroscope; Ruby; Sapphire; Watch
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