Why Were Chainsaws Invented? Let’s Find Out

frightening that surgeons were the ones who initially created a deadly instrument like a It’s chainsaw. It’s true what you heard. The origin of chainsaw that we currently know was just created to help in the childbirth process. In this blog post, we are going to discuss why were chainsaws invented, their original use, and many more things. So, let’s begin 

Who Invented Chainsaws Originally?

In the 1780s, two Scottish surgeons invented and utilized the first chainsaw. John Aitken and James Jeffray were their respective names. They took inspiration from watch chain teeth which could be adjusted with just a hand crank for their design. 

They created a chainsaw that was very different from what we have today. It was stable and like a Gigli wire saw, with handles at each end and a long, thin chain of serrated teeth. Yet another person who has taken responsibility for inventing chainsaws is German orthopaedist Bernhard Heine. 

His invention had a guide bar and rotated, similar to a modern chainsaw. But it was mini chainsaw, had a hand crank instead of a motor, and was manually controlled by a human hand.

Why Were Chainsaws Invented?

If we talk about why were chainsaws invented? The story takes place in the year 1700 when saving the woman and her kid simultaneously during childbirth was not always possible. When natural birth was not a possibility, a treatment known as symphysiotomy was performed on the pregnant woman. 

To deliver the baby vaginally, the birth canal is spread during the surgery. This treatment was initially done very brutally, with a knife, which made it very filthy and painful. Later, in the year 1780, two Scottish surgeons named John Aitken and James Jeffray created an instrument to cut the pelvis.

Comparing it to currently in use, sharp knives, they visualized a spinning blade. And from this inspiration born the first chainsaw. But all the doctors weren’t able to use it properly as it was dangerous and difficult to use. 

After some years, a man named Bernhard Heine created a new tool (bone saw). It required manual operation and was designed to cut through tough bones. It was run by a crank handle. The tool worked well. And the process kept on improving with time. 

What Was the Original Use of Chainsaw?

The original use of chainsaw was for a symphysiotomy surgery during childbirth. To make room for a normal birth, the pelvis was cut. The procedure was risky, challenging, and had long-term health consequences. Accordingly, it lost popularity after a few years.

Many innovative and cautious procedures were developed and used in the case of birthing. But Heine’s bone saw was best in terms of surgery and medical amputation.

Samuel J. Beans applied for his patent in 1907 after seeing how useful an amputation chainsaw could be for clearing land, chopping fuel, and trimming hedges. With those innovations, the chainsaw took on a new direction and expanded significantly, creating a sizable market with many rivals.

When did Doctors Stop Using Chainsaws for Childbirth?

Despite advancements during the 1700s, the West continued to utilize a medical chainsaw during childbirth into the late 1800s. Although the Gigli saw mostly replaced the use of the first medical chainsaws, it is believed that it is still occasionally utilized in some regions of the world today when a normal delivery is not possible.

However, the chainsaw’s and the Gigli saw’s original usage was to assist women who were having difficulty giving birth to their babies. Both tools were also used to surgically remove limbs and dead skin and bones.

Early Inventions Served as Inspiration for Modern Chainsaws

The chainsaw that you can purchase at your neighborhood shop is significantly larger and more potent than the original. It would be awful to consider utilizing such a thing for medical treatment.

The tree-cutting chainsaws, on the other hand, are completely based on the previous version’s basic design. Modern chainsaws share several characteristics with their predecessors, including the chain link’s teeth and the way it surrounds the saw’s blade.

While a motor replaces the manual crank, the operation of today’s chainsaws is surprisingly identical. Additionally, both of them are utilized to cut through something to remove it or create a hole.

FAQs Related to Chainsaws

1) How was the original chainsaw framed?

It resembled a current manual egg beater but had a chain in place of the whisk. Early medical chainsaws were very different from chainsaws used by homeowners nowadays.

2) Who was the creator of the transportable chainsaw?

The first chainsaws had two operators—one at the powerhead and the other at the other end. Dolmar Chainsaws created the DB 35, the first electric chainsaw designed for a single user, in 1935.

Following this, Dolmar also created the portable one-man gas chainsaw in 1952. In addition, Stihl asserts that it created the first chainsaw for a single user in 1950. It must have been “created” before 1952 because that is the same time Stihl BL Chainsaw became available on the market.

3) Was the chainsaw invented by Robert McCulloch?

No, this is not true. Although they undoubtedly contributed significantly to the development of the chainsaw and were creative, the McCulloch chainsaw organization did not invent it.

4) Which brand of chainsaw is the oldest?

As of 1926, Stihl chainsaws are the oldest chainsaw brand in existence.


In the end, we can say Chainsaws are a great invention. We hope this article has answered your question about chainsaws and why were chainsaws invented. As a tool, they have many benefits, but they also come with some risks. 

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