Belt Drives

  • D H Ashworth
Part of the Mechanical Engineering Series book series (MECS)


Belt drives have been consistently growing in use, and in the variation of types offered, ever since the invention of the steam engine by James Watt in 1769. Broadly speaking, there have been three ‘periods’ of development: (1) the Industrial Revolution when the steam engine came into use, which brought long line shafts from big stationary engines, and, driving the machines, flat transmission belts made of such materials as sewn canvas, balata, woven cotton, hair, leather, and rubber and canvas. (2) The arrival of the V-belt, in the USA in 1928, but in the UK not really catching on until the late 1930s. This made possible the use of small individual motors for each machine, giving greater flexibility of movement and cheapness of operation. (3) The third period, starting in the mid 1940s, covered the introduction of synthetic materials into belts and made possible great advances in performance in all types of belts and brought about the design of some new ones.


Speed Ratio Shock Load Power Capacity Steam Engine Belt Drive 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • D H Ashworth
    • 1
  1. 1.The Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Co (Great Britain) LtdUSA

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