History of the ShaftSaver™ Rotary Bearing




Shaft bearings have been wearing out prop shafts since boats have had engines. During World War II, a need for a new type of bearing arose due to the lack of quality prop shaft material, brutal North Sea conditions, and the use of high RPM gasoline engines, so the Navy Department called upon its vendors to submit designs for an alternative shaft set-up.




The E.J. Willis Company, a well known Marine Supplier in New York City, who had recently acquired Akerite Marine, responded with Akerite’s rotary bearing design, offering a easy and inexpensive alternative to redesigning the entire powertrain, and the Navy Department began using the E.J Willis Rotary Bearing as the preferred shaft bearing for Landing Craft and Patrol Torpedo (PT) boats.   



After the WWII Era E.J. Willis remained primarily a Marine Supplier while continuing to manufacture rotary bearings for military and civilian use, however once the USN ceased production of PT and LC vessels, Willis eased away from promoting the rotary bearing, making them on an as requested basis. 




In 1996 Palmer Products Inc. based in Akron, Ohio, bought the assets of the Willis Rotary Bearing and has continued to manufacture the bearing, now renamed ShaftSaver™ Rotary Bearing for the Military and Civilian sectors.  Today, the rotary style bearing has more than 80 years of proven performance on all types of vessels, from USACE workboats, to State ferries, sailboats, and dozens of Alaska's fishing fleet.  Over the years we have continued to improve the rotary bearing, now offering it in materials never dreamed of in 1944.  

 ‘Having been involved in the marine bearing industry for nearly 50 years, I proudly stand behind the ShaftSaver™ Rotary Bearing.  You'll find that our "revolutionary" bearing continues to exceed the needs of today's military as well as commercial vessels and recreational boaters alike.’

Len Palmer, Sr., President