The Origin of the Chain

Humanity is so familiar with chains – we see them and use them in hundreds of applications throughout our lives – that it may come as a surprise to find that they are a relatively recent invention.

The word “chain” itself is a derivation of an ancient Indo-European word and the earliest known use of a metal chain is that of a well-bucket chain made from linked metal rings back in 225BCE. The use of chains developed alongside humanity’s growing expertise in metalworking and these early chains would have been prized for their vastly superior resistance and longevity compared to the ropes made from animal skins and plant fibres.

Nowadays our industries still make use of chains, although they’ve evolved somewhat! There are heavy duty chains capable of withstanding caustic and abrasive environments, as well as temperatures of up to 530C, such as the chains used in lime production. A far cry indeed from a hessian rope!

Da Vinci’s ideas

Back in the 16th century, genius inventor Leonardo da Vinci made several sketches and plans for what seem to be the first steel chains. These chains appear to have been designed for a pulling application rather than a wrapping application because they have plates and pins only, as well as metal fittings. The sketch does reveal a roller bearing ensemble as well, though, and it’s not dissimilar to bearings used today!


As was often the case with the Italian genius, da Vinci found his ideas were way ahead of their time. The technology to realise and produce the concept was limited by the restrictions on the production and processing of steel itself. Thankfully, innovations in the 19th century made steel manufacture and processing easier and more sophisticated so that it was possible to make chains and bearings much more accurately and uniformly. In 1832, a French inventor called Gull was awarded a patent to make a chain similar to a modern-day bicycle chain and the so-called Gull chain is still used today in hanging and suspension applications.

Chains take off

With the invention of the moulded chain in the 19th century, chain technology started to advance more rapidly. Next in line was the cast-detachable chain, made from cast links that are identical in shape and dimension. Then came the pintle chain, which features a separate pin. Both types of chain, cast-detachable and pintle, have been refined and improved over the decades, as you no doubt imagine and they are still in use today in some industries. They are gradually being replaced, however, mainly by large pitch steel conveyor chains.

By the late 19th century, the bushing came along to change the chain industry further. Chains that featured bushings had much greater resistance to wear then the Gull chains because the bushings provided a bearing to protect the pin. This is when chains really started to develop and to be used in more and more industries and applications. Steel bushing chains were used in bicycles, as well as in the rear-wheel drive of early cars and even in the propeller drive of the Wright Brothers’ 1903 aeroplane.

Benefits of Owning a Dashboard Camera

Dashboard Cameras or Dash Cameras for cars, have become increasingly popular over the years. They mount onto your cars dashboard and record everything it captures.

Dash cams come in a variety of sizes, styles, and capacities. Some are basic devices, while others are state-of-the-art technology.

People spend hours each week in their cars, and many people end up in situations where they could have benefited from video footage of an event. A dashboard camera is a wise investment for anyone who drives a car.

Here are six of the biggest benefits of owning a dash cam.

Accident Documentation

Documenting evidence is the most common reason people purchase dash cams. With many accidents, a video is the only way to indisputably prove that you aren’t at fault. Videos will help your insurance company see exactly what happened so you can receive enough money for car repairs.

Catching Insurance Fraud

Unfortunately, some scammers try to get money out of drivers by running in front of their cars in traffic. Multiple viral videos shot by dashboard cameras have shown pedestrians running in front of cars and leaping onto the hoods, pretending to be hit by the car. A dash cam can prevent this from happening to you.

Preventing Parking Accidents and Vandalism

Many dash cams can keep recording even after you turn your car off. If you park your car in a lot, in a garage, or on the street, your dash cam can give you more information if someone hits your car while it’s parked.

If someone who wants to vandalize or break into your car sees a dash cam mounted on the dashboard, they’re much less likely to go through with the crime.

Road Trip Footage

Dashboard cameras aren’t only good just for accidents. During a road trip, your dash cam can capture amazing scenic views that you may not be able to document otherwise. Many people have created beautiful time lapse videos of their road trips by using their dash cam footage.

Cheaper Insurance

Some insurance companies offer discounts if you use a dash cam. Because any dangerous driving mistakes you make will be recorded, insurance companies believe that people with dash cams drive more safely than people without.

You can buy a basic dash cam for relatively cheap and it could save you hundreds, or even thousands in insurance savings. A dashboard camera can save you from being found at fault for something you weren’t responsible for, and it will allow you to have proof of every event you see on the road. Plus, you may be able to record interesting sights or events with the camera.

For what it costs, a dash cam is a valuable addition to your car.

March 2016 Reg Plates

March marks the month of the new 2016 reg plate release, and with this in mind West Way Nissan have created this new 2016 reg plate infographic to welcome the new number release.

Now and September are the best times of the year to purchase a new car and order one of the top contending number plates. Twice a year, new registration plate variations are made available to the public, and with each plate change comes new words that can be created. This year’s contenders include MAI6 NUM, DR16 GON and LE16 END. So if you fancy having a name, something hilarious or something you love on your new number plate, find some inspiration in this infographic.

New plate changes can also bring a wave of inappropriate registration plates, and this year we saw the DVLA ban the variations such as B16 BUT and OR16 ASM. The DVLA takes great care in making sure that no inappropriate plates are made available to the public so if you’re thinking about purchasing a rude number plate you’ll have to come up with one that will be DVLA approved!

In this infographic, you will also find some familiar celebrity number plates! Can you guess who these belong too?

  • H4IR DO
  • COM IC

As well as celebs having some recognisable number plates, many rich also like to spalsh the cash on a fancy number plate. The UK’s most expensive number plate is F1 which today is worth £10,000,000! Next in place is ‘1 D’ costing £350,000, followed by ‘VIP I’ worth £285,000 and ‘CEO I’ worth £154,100.

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