February 20, 2021
In 1921, Warren G. Harding became the 29th President of the United States, insulin was discovered, baseball's World Series was broadcast on radio for the first time, and the predecessors of Timken Belts invented the raw edge v-belt.
Early v-belts were made of leather or balata and fabric, glued or riveted together. The materials evolved to natural rubber with a fabric covering, but the harsh demands of industry pushed for a better belt. Our solution was a raw edge die cut v-belt. This revolutionary multiple ply, neutral axis, raw edge v-belt was a huge success. The new raw edge v-belt was soon transmitting power on automobiles, industrial machines, business equipment and household appliances.
A v-belt is one of the most dynamic and rigorous uses of flexible materials. Everything is in constant motion changing from tension to compression thousands of times a minute as the drive rotates. Belts are used to transmit torque and rotation in an amazing variety of environments and configurations with an impressive efficiency compared to other forms of power transmission.
In 1926, we patented the raw edge cog-belt. In the 1930s, a variable speed raw edge v-belt was developed. A double cog variable speed belt was designed in 1943. These belts were used on industrial machinery and agricultural combines. Continued innovation led to the introduction of “The Incredible MAX” snowmobile drive belt in 1976 and the revolutionary Ultimax belt in 1988. Ultimax ATV/UTV belts and Ultimax XS snowmobile belts were introduced in 2005. New technology, improved compounds and proprietary processes pave the way for the continuous development of better belts, like Ultimax XP which was engineered for extreme performance and introduced in 2018.
Today, Timken Belts produces a comprehensive line of Ultimax performance products in ISO-registered manufacturing facilities, supported by innovative product development and a team focused on satisfying customers.
Historical information provided by Dale L. Waugh, former Director of V-Belt Research and Development at our Springfield, MO Technical Center.