Revolutionary’s influence on UK manufacturing unbroken 140 years on
11 Feb 2019
The company which helped revolutionise manufacturing with the invention of the bush-roller chain this week celebrated the 140th anniversary of its invention.
Renold founder Hans Renold, a noted pioneer of scientific factory management, hit upon the design in 1879, six years after he set up operation in Salford.
He had recently purchased a small company that made pin chains to serve one of the North West’s key sectors, the textile industry. Keen to find a more durable improvement, Renold created the breakthrough design which he patented a year later.
The bush-roller chain comprised of a series of journal bearings, held in precise relationship to each other by constraining link plates.
Each bearing consisted of a bearing pin and bush on which the steel roller revolved as the chain moved around steel sprockets during operation.
Said a Renold spokesperson: “This was a highly advanced design for chain at the time with impressive wear resistance and load bearing capabilities. It was so successful that it remains the same basic design of bush-roller chain to this day.”
Not only a process industry landmark, the chain was adapted too for the growing bicycle industry. Other Renold inventions included a plate hole punching machine and a dry tumbling machine and in the 1960s, the Reynold Syno lubrication-free chain.
Despite owning the patent for block chain, Renold allowed bike manufacturers free use of his design, facilitating the growth of the sector.
Following his death in 1943 Hans Renold’s eulogy in the IMechE journal stated: “Few realise how extensive is the influence of Renold's inventiveness on both civil and industrial life throughout the world.”
Photo: Renold’s Chain Centre and 1880 chain patent