It is with a very heavy heart that we announce the sad passing of John Bass, an original founder of BearingNet. Without John, BearingNet would not be the same as it is today. John was instrumental and many of the best ideas on BearingNet came from him. He leaves a marvellous legacy that will continue into the future.
John’s Father ran British Manufactured Bearings (BMB), and so John went to work there after finishing school at Brighton College. He was able to tour the world visiting both customers and manufacturers, and attending trade shows. John was a well-travelled man who always had a tale to tell about his visits to various places in the world. In fact it was pretty difficult to mention places that he hadn’t been.
The company eventually moved from Crawley to Scotland, but never recovered from the move. John started a new business representing General Bearing in Europe. General Bearing had been the US representative for BMB. John was great friends with General Bearings founder and chairman, Sermour Gussak, a friendship that lasted a lifetime and together they flourished.
After General Bearing, John retired to Spain, where he wrote articles for a magazine about cooking (another of his passions) using microwave ovens – a relatively new-fangled kitchen device for which many people used to speed up cooking, but as John would often point out, they often just left the microwave on full power where they should use a lower power to get the best results for many things.
Asides from writing magazines, John enjoyed living in Spain, and after he returned to the UK he often mentioned returning to Spain someday.
John returned from Spain in 1994, and in need of an income, he created the BearingExchange, a journal for bearing distributors, which contained advertising and surplus lists from various distributors from around the world. This successful magazine grew to develop a mainly European readership and included editorial from John, and of course John could not resist including the occasional recipe representing his other love, cooking.
John was a great man of ideas and it was typical of him to try and find a better way to distribute his magazine. Johns original idea was to use floppy discs (remember those?) to list the data. This was the gem of the idea for BearingNet and by 1995 He discussed this idea with Peter (His Nephew and now Managing Director) fleshing it out to cover not just the surplus, but all the inventory, in order to save the practice of faxing round several distributors in the afternoon to see if any of them had the required items in stock.
Having got the site up and running, initially as a dial up service, the internet became easily accessible to the public and many people went online. BearingNet went online which simplified matters. But to make the new service gain new customers, John had the idea of creating Bearing Roadshows, where a small group of companies would travel overseas, share the marketing effort and pull local companies in for everyone to talk to.
Around this time, John also started a meeting for both the members of BearingNet, and the Bearing Exchange. This helped add value to BearingNet and today, BearingNet still operates user meetings which are attended by over 400 people. This successful networking event is thanks to John’s original conference idea.
Later on, John took a step back from working for BearingNet and ceased the Bearing Exchange. However, he would still attend the events and trade shows, where he would enjoy catching up with old friends from the industry.
Eventually advancing years caught up with him and he was unable to travel to the events, but he would always ring the BearingNet office daily to catch up and would keep an eye on the forums.
Today, BearingNet is used by over 1,900 companies worldwide generating over 100,000 part searches every day, John would be very proud of the legacy he created, which will carry on into the future, continuing to make a huge difference to bearing industry trade worldwide.
John would have been very happy at the kind tributes paid to him since his passing. As well as making his mark on the industry he also made a mark on many of the people in the industry he encountered, who have many fond memories of him.
Rest in peace John Bass 30/9/1939 to 19/1/2020