The earliest custom universal joints were not used on cars, but on clocks. From 1352 to 1354, the universal joint drive shaft in the clock mechanism of Strasbourg Cathedral can be said to be the birth of the universal joint. Some people may wonder, why is there a universal joint in the clock? This is because the clock panel can be opened outwards like a door. During the opening process, universal joints are indispensable, and in the mechanical technology at that time, the flexible shaft has not yet been processed.
In fact, in 1550, the ring-type balanced suspension of the Geronimo cardano compass was the prototype of the universal joint. This is a very amazing design, especially in that era, a seemingly simple disc appearance, but has a complicated mechanical structure.
In 1663, the Robert hook universal joint was born; in 20 years, the double Hook universal joint was born. By 1824, jean victor poncelet used spherical trigonometry and differential calculus to help analyze the motion of the Hooke universal joint and calculate the force on the cross axis. In 1841, robert willis made a kinematic analysis of the double Hook gimbal, which was complete and scientific. In 1894, Carlbach made a calculation of the surface stress of the cross shaft. From 1901 to 1902, arthur hardt and robert schwenke’s patent for automobile universal joints, namely the double-linked Hooke universal joint, was used for automobile steering wheels. However, in 1904, the Hooke type universal joint drive shaft became a series of products. Since Benz’s Mercedes-Benz No. 1, the car basically has no steering drive wheels, so the universal joint is hardly used by the car. In 1908, the first ball universal joint was born. In 1923, it was discovered that the steering center of the fixed ball universal joint did not coincide with its own rotation center. In 1926, the uniform velocity universal joint was born. In 1927, the articulation angle of the six-ball fixed universal joint was forty-five degrees, and in 1934 it had a ball offset control. In 1928, the first journal that used needle roller bearings on the cross shaft of the Hooke universal joint was the « biped » joint. In 1933, ball universal joints with offset raceways appeared. In 1938, Robert Suczek used the offset principle of the telescopic ball joint. In 1946, the birfield elliptical race ball joint was put into mass production in 1959. In 1960, loebro circular raceway fixed universal joint was invented by aucktor willmek michel orain’s three-pivot universal joint. In 1961, henri faure’s four-ball telescopic universal joint with a pair of intersecting raceways. In 1962, Loebro’s VL universal joint with intersecting raceways was born. In 1965, the DO-telescopic gimbal of gaston devos was developed from the birfield gimbal with universal joint manufacturer and offset cage.