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Posted by on Aug 31, 2017 in Tell Me Why |

Who Invented Springs?

Who Invented Springs?

Simple non-coiled springs were used throughout human history. In the Bronze Age more sophisticated spring devices were used, as shown by the spread of tweezers in many cultures. Ctesibius of Alexandria developed a method for making bronze with spring-like characteristics by producing an alloy of bronze with an increased proportion of tin, and then hardening it by hammering after it was cast.

Credit for the invention of springs is traditionally given to Philo, a scientist who lived about 250 B.C. in the Greek city of Byzantium, which occupied the site of what is now Istanbul in Turkey. Philo wrote a treatise on military engineering, only fragments of which survive. He suggested the use of bronze springs to power catapults. Since then springs of many different sizes and types have been designed, from the minute hairspring coils in watches to the large springs of powerful machines. These elastic mechanisms, usually of bent or coiled metal, are used to prevent jarring or to convey motive power.

For example, springs were introduced in the second half of the 17th century to cushion some of the rough jolting of coaches over the bumpy roads of the period. These springs were C-shaped and made of tempered steel. They helped for a time but proved too weak for the heavier coaches that followed. A great contribution to the comfort of travelers was made by Obadiah Elliot of Lambeth, in 1805, when he took out a patent for elliptical steel springs. In 1816 atmospheric, or steam, springs were invented by George Stephenson, the locomotive pioneer.

Coiled springs appeared early in the 15th century, in door locks. The first spring powered-clocks appeared in that century and evolved into the first large watches by the 16th century. In 1676 British physicist Robert Hooke discovered Hooke’s law, which states that the force a spring exerts is proportional to its extension. There are two types of main springs a non-coiled spring and a coiled spring.

coiled springs

The non-coiled spring has been around forever. A great example of a non-coiled spring is a bow and arrow. A bow and arrow has been around to help with food and protection. This is one of the earliest spring technologies. Anytime a string is tightened to create a bounce, that can be considered a “spring”. In the 1300’s there was spring technology being used in chariots. Chariots had a complex spring and suspension system built in, that helped give them more miles.

Leaf Springs

In the 18th century the french put on a plate, onto a carriage. This metal plate is considered a leaf spring; it was the first ever leaf spring used on a vehicle.

The Pistol

In 1493, Leonardo Da Vinci built the first spring into a pistol. This spring was customized just for the pistol. It made it possible for the pistol to be shot off in a single hand. This spring was the beginning of revolutionizing the gun. Guns today use all sorts of spring technology to make guns work efficiently.

The First Coiled Spring

It wasn’t until 1763 when R. Tradwell invented the first ever coiled spring.  It was a British patent, number 792.  It was considered a step up from the leaf spring. The leaf spring had to be lubricated often and was quite squeaking. The best was that the spring didn’t have to be spread apart.

The word coil meant to wind cylindrically or spirally. In the year 1857 the first ever steel coil spring was invented. It was used for chair seats.

Ever since the inventions of these coil springs, springs have been used in everything from shoes to trampolines. Springs help make the car industry what it is today. Springs are used in every type of machinery and they really do help make the world go around.

Content for this question contributed by Curtis Reinhardt, resident of Chino, San Bernardino County, California, USA