Scott Russell linkage

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Freemantle straight-line linkage from British Patent 2741, November 17, 1803
Animation of a Scott Russell linkage

A Scott Russell linkage (for John Scott Russell (1808–1882), although already patented in 1803 by watchmaker William Freemantle[1][2]) gives a theoretically linear motion by using a linkage form with three portions of the links all equal, and a rolling or sliding connection. It can be used to form a right-angle change of motion, linear-to-linear.

A different form of the linkage has been used in a front-wheel-drive vehicle with solid rear axle to control lateral movement, and with a flexing elastomeric connection instead of the rolling or sliding connection.[3]

A Scott Russell linkage on the rear axle of a 2002 Nissan Sentra

The linkage does not share the disadvantages of the asymmetric Panhard rod and although more compact than Watt's linkage has all the forces in one link.[4]


  1. ^ British Patent 2741, November 17, 1803
  2. ^ Project Gutenberg: KINEMATICS OF MECHANISMS FROM THE TIME OF WATT, Eugene S. Ferguson
  3. ^ US Patent 6179328
  4. ^ Article about the Scott-Russell linkage used in the Nissan Sentra

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