It was in 1905, nineteen years after Osborne Reynolds had considered the lubrication of plane surfaces, that AGM Michell obtained a solution to Reynolds’ equation which took account of side leakage. In the same year, Michell patented a type of bearing in which the load was carried upon hydrodynamic oil films generated by a series of pivoting white metal (or babbitt) faced pads. The principle was applied to both thrust and journal bearings and is now universally known as the Michell Bearing.
The company of Michell Bearings Limited was established in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, in 1920. Principal shareholders at that time were Vickers, Fairfield Rowan, John Brown Engineering and Cammel Laird.
By 1962, growth had necessitated a move to larger premises which occupied the present site. On 1 January 1969, Vickers plc purchased the whole of the shareholding; the integration being fully completed by 1 January 1971. Further expansion took place and 1977 saw the opening of the current purpose built factory.
During 1994, Michell Bearings set up a joint venture company in India to manufacture bearings for the Indian market. Michell Bearings India, located in Bangalore, commenced production in 1995.
Following the acquisition of Vickers plc in 1999, Michell Bearings are now part of a grouping of world-renowned businesses within Rolls-Royce Power Engineering plc.