Gary, Jenny, Peter and Scott

BearingNet’s #throwbackthursday

The BearingNet Directors back in the day (Peter and Gary). BearingNet started in 1996 in the basement of Peter’s house.

How times have changed!!!  Although I’m pretty sure Gary looks exactly the same now!!



Ever wondered how it all begun and where the idea of BearingNet came from?

Keep reading to find out!


Long ago before the days of the internet the founder of BearingNet

John Bass and his Bearing Xchange magazine!

John Bass and his Bearing Xchange magazine!

John Bass was producing a magazine called “Bearing Exchange” for distributors of ball bearings in the UK and Europe to advertise their surplus stock. In 1995 John approached his nephew, Peter Annis, with the idea of taking the print magazine and putting it on the newly invented internet thing!!

At the time Peter was working as a sales representative for a technical company. After realising that John’s idea could be something great, Peter approached a colleague at the photocopying machine and pitched the idea to this young technical wizz kid also known as Gary Jenkins. After talking it through they both thought ‘why not?!’ and Gary agreed to code a programme which would enable bearing distributors to list their stock.

After 6 long months of evenings and weekends spent in Peter’s basement the BearingNet programme was ready!!!

BearingNet was first tested on 5 businesses, some of these being Acorn Industrial, Roeco and Australian Bearings.


tester logos

They were sent floppy discs (Yes! Floppy discs!!) and an information pack on how to install (sometimes unsuccessfully) and use BearingNet. The system worked through a dial up modem in Peter’s basement with a simple database full of part numbers where companies could search for the part they needed.

“Without the help of these companies we simply would not have got the business to work. They were essential to our service and we will always owe them a huge debt of gratitude. With a special thanks to Des Spillings, Martin Povey, Eric Baines, John Dykes, Ralph Portaro, Elisabeth Krejcy and Andreas Roegelsperger” Gary Jenkins

photo 1

Once the trials proved that the business idea was a good one Peter left his job and started to promote BearingNet both through John Bass’s magazine and well designed leaflets (see left). BearingNet went online in December 1997 and in the first year signed up 8 customers and for the next two and a half years BearingNet continued in the same way.


BearingNet was growing and many people liked the idea but still didn’t have the technical equipment that was needed to operate BearingNet which restricted growth…


The turn of the millennium saw the increase in the use of the internet amongst many businesses including in the bearing

2005 Board Meeting with directors Tony, Peter and John

2005 Board Meeting with directors Tony, Peter and John

industry. This meant that BearingNet could do away with their dial-up modems!! BearingNet could now access customers a lot easier and quicker without having to send out software and as the internet grew and developed so did BearingNet!

And the rest is history!


“The power of BearingNet is its customers and we would like to thank every one of our customers for contributing to making BearingNet so powerful and unique!” Peter Annis

Left: Coleen, John and Peter in 1997. Right: Jenny hard at work!

Left: Coleen, John and Peter in 1997. Right: Jenny hard at work!


Gary, Jenny, Peter and Scott

Gary, Jenny, Peter and Scott