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What is the history of the chainsaw and when were they first used?

- Jan 02, 2018 -

What is the history of the chainsaw and when were they first used?

The earliest reference I could find on chainsaws comes from the Canadian Medical Association Journal in an article written by Wolf Seufert, MD, DSc: "Orthopedics became a specialty with the help of a new instrument, the osteotome, invented around 1830 by the German Bernard Heine. This illustration from a contemporary inventory of surgical tools shows clearly that this clever master of prosthetics had in fact invented the chain saw. The links of the chain carried small cutting teeth with the edges set at an angle; the chain was moved around a guiding blade by turning the handle of the sprocket wheel.
Several major manufacturers of chain saws claim to have invented the first chain saw and all their claims point to the 1920s. However, the 1830 osteotome would pre-date them all. 
One claim states that a California inventor named Muir was the first person to put a chain on a blade to use for logging purposes, technically inventing the first logging chainsaw. However, Muir's invention weighed hundreds of pounds and required a crane. This invention was neither a commercial or practical success. Other examples of early automatic logging saws were: the 1861 Hamilton saw that was hand-cranked by one or two men and looked like a spinning wheel; and the American riding saw of the 1880s that resembled a rowing machine that cutters could sit on.


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