Isaac Babbitt (July 26, 1799 in Taunton, Massachusetts – May 26, 1862 in Somerville, Massachusetts) was an American inventor. In 1839, he invented a bearing made of a low-friction tin-based metal alloy, Babbitt metal, that is used extensively in engine bearings today.Babbitt was a goldsmith by trade, who experimented with metal alloys

In 1824, he made the first Britannia metal manufactured in the United States, from which he sold table wares as Babbitt, Crossman & Company. As this proved financially unsuccessful, he withdrew, and in 1834 moved to Boston.

There he engaged as superintendent for the South Boston Iron Company, better known as Alger‘s foundries, where he produced the first brass cannon in the United States. Also while there, in 1839, he invented the widely used metal now known as Babbitt metal, an alloy of four parts copper, eight of antimony, and twenty-four of Banca tin, used for reducing the friction of axles in heavy machinery.

For this invention he received in 1841 a gold medal from the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, and afterward the United States Congress granted him $20,000.

He subsequently patented this material in England (1844) and in Russia (1847). For some time, he devoted his attention to the production of the metal, and he was also engaged in the manufacture of soap. He died in Somerville, Mass., May 26, 1862.

Source – Wikipedia