Tribology Online
Online ISSN : 1881-2198
ISSN-L : 1881-218X
Short communication
Oil as a Lubricant in the Ancient Middle East
Michael Nosonovsky
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2007 Volume 2 Issue 2 Pages 44-49


There is a significant interest toward the history of tribology in both engineering and historical communities. However, there is a gap between engineers and historians in their approach to the topic, and existing literature sometimes overlooks various cultural influences, in particular, oriental ones, which affected the tribological science and technology. We consider the early history of lubrication and show that while the evidences of usage of lubricants (water, gypsum, and animal fats) in Ancient Egypt in 2nd-3rd millennia BC are hypothetic, rather than established facts, the Hebrew Bible contains earliest records of using oil as a lubricant. In particular, the account of rubbing the shield of King Saul (11th century BC) is discussed as well as other similar cases. These findings allow us to better understand the universal nature of history of science and technology as a multicultural phenomenon.

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© 2007 by Japanese Society of Tribologists
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