Historical overview from antiquity to the present day.
B.C. - Ancient - Already in ancient times, the principle of universal joints was known, one of its applications being the siege machine invented by the ancient Greeks, the ballista.
1300 - The need for transmitting rotational motion between axes at certain angles arose during tower clocks in the 1300s, because of the characteristics of the building, it was not always possible to position the clock face perpendicular to the dial.
1550 - Geronimo Cardano develops a pivotable articulated suspension, and is associated with the name of universal joint and universal joint shaft.
1663 - Robert Hooke assembles a double joint to adjust the dial of the solar clock. He called it a universal wrist. It's also called "Hooke's Joint".
1824 - Jean-Victor Poncelet recognized that the rotary motion transmitted by the drive shafts was uneven. He proved this by spherical trigonometry. A further discovery was made that the driving and driven angular velocities and torques were inversely related.
1841 - Robert Willis develops Hook's articulation into a cinematic articulation. A better recognition by Willis is that the angle of the hinge must be the same, and the forks of the drive shaft and of the driven shaft must be in the same plane.
1842 - Wilhelm Salzenberg performs the dimensioning of the strength of the cardan cross pin as a captive bracket. Its method is still used today.
1901 - Arthur Hardt and Robert Schwenke patent the drive shaft in the automotive industry.
1904 - Clarence Winfred Spicer begins serial production of universal joints and shafts.
Clarence Winfred Spicer
1908 - William A. Whitney implements the first fixed center universal joint.
1923 - Carl William Weiss divides the joints at the ends of the drive shaft and the driven shafts radially and creates intersecting grooves therein which automatically guide the torque transfer balls into the bisector.
1926 - Jean Albert Grégoire and Pierre Fenaille develop a shaft joint with angle error-free drive so-called homokinetical joint.
1928 - Clarence Winfred Spicer begins to produce u-joints with the needle roller bearings.
1933 - Alfred Hans Rzeppa's patent has been futher developed by Whitney.
1934 - Bernard Stuber reaches the intersection of ball paths with his developed method.