Why Were Chainsaws Invented? Fact check

Chainsaws for woodwork

When it comes to cutting timbers, chainsaws have been a blessing. They’re way more efficient and easier to use than an axe or a handsaw. They’re also quite dangerous: one slip of the blade, and you can be seriously injured. Many people use chainsaws for pruning, trimming, and cutting down trees. Still, not everyone knows the history of the chainsaw or why it was invented. In this post, we’ll be discussing the history of the chainsaw, why it was invented, and the top 5 reasons to use this tool.

What are Chainsaws?

How chainsaws work
Today, the chainsaw is used for cutting wood, not medical procedures. Image credit: Business Insider

A chainsaw is a tool popular in the lumbering and woodworking industry used to cut wood and logs. A battery, gasoline or petrol may power a chainsaw. Chainsaws are portable because they are often moved around for woodworking.

Chainsaws are used for felling trees, pruning, and harvesting firewood in the forest. Aside from wood, some chainsaws can be used in cutting concrete in the construction industry and ice. There are different types of chainsaws, and each is made and tailored for a specific purpose.

Why Were the ChainSaws invented?

Surgical Chainsaws


There are several theories surrounding the invention of chainsaws. However, the one that is most acceptable to most people is that two medical doctors invented chainsaws.

This was supposedly the initial chainsaw, but it was not created for cutting lumber. It was made by two Scottish physicians, John Aitken and James Jaffray, during the end of the 18th century.

The damaged bone was excised, and the cartilage holding the pelvis together was removed using the serrated edges.

This machinery makes labour easier in tough situations. It was released in Aiken’s Midwifery Principles (Puerperal Medicine).

The medical doctors first invented the prototype of the chainsaws that we now use to help them cut bones in the surgical room. This is strikingly surprising to most people, but it is a fact.

When chainsaws were introduced into bone-cutting operations in the surgical rooms, most people saw how fast this instrument was able to cut things as strong as human bone. A few years later, chainsaws were enhanced and manufactured for woodworking operations. Chainsaws have become a major tool used in the woodworking value chain.

Although better instruments have replaced chainsaws in the medical field, they are still used in some third-world countries today.

Origin of Chainsaws for woodwork

Woodworking has become the dominant use case for chainsaws today. Still, few people know how we got the current chainsaws we are using.

Per patent records, the first individual to be given a chainsaw manufacture patent was Frederick L. Magaw of Flatlands, New York, in 1883. He was issued a patent by the American Patent Office to produce an endless chain of saws. A few years after the award of the patent, several patents were granted to other innovators to produce different varieties of chainsaws.

However, the German firm Festo carried out the first industrial and mass-scale manufacturing of chainsaws in 1933. Unfortunately, World War II disrupted the operations of this company, and it was forced to close down for the period during which the war lasted.

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Immediately after the allies gained victory in the war, Festo opened its factories again. Today, the company has rebranded and is now known as Festool. It is still producing Chainsaws and other power tools.

Chainsaws today have completely replaced manual saws. They come in different designs and shapes based on the manufacturer and the intended function. There are electric chainsaws today, and they are fast replacing gasoline-powered ones.

Different types of chainsaws

As a safety precaution, chainsaws are always advised to keep children out of reach. Three chainsaws are commonly used: manual, electric, and gas-powered.

The manual chainsaw

The manual chainsaw is the most basic type and is most often used by professional landscapers or gardeners. Manual chainsaws are used for simple woodworking tasks. They can be handled mostly by those with experience alone because it would require some manoeuvre. It is the cheapest and the most common type of chainsaw you can always find around. The drawback is that it is limited in functionalities.

The electric chainsaw

The electric chainsaw is the easiest to use and is often used by homeowners with limited experience with chainsaws. The electric chainsaws can be used by professionals and non-professionals alike, and it is more enhanced in terms of functions than the manual chainsaw. Still, it is not as powerful as the gasoline chainsaw.

Gas-powered chainsaw

The gas-powered chainsaw is the most powerful type of chainsaw. It is typically used by most professionals who need to cut through large trees or logs. It is used in industrial wood, felling and lumbering. The gasoline chainsaw is strong and requires a strong grip and experience.

Safety Precautions to take when using chain saws

Using a chainsaw is a highly dangerous activity, but with proper training and equipment, it can be done safely. Many safety precautions can be taken when using a chainsaw. Still, most of these safety precautions are not common knowledge.

Before you use a chainsaw for the first time, it is important to learn about the safety precautions to ensure you are doing it safely.

  • First, you should regularly put on goggles and hearing protection. Before operating the chainsaw, you should wear glasses and a noise insulator to protect you from the noise coming from the chainsaw. The essence of wearing goggles, on the other hand, is to protect your eyes from the particles that are breaking off from the object you are cutting.
  • You should also use the appropriate tools for the job and read the instructions before you start.
  • Always keep the chainsaw in a safe position, so you don’t lose control of it. Hold the chainsaw and ensure it is in a safe position to prevent you from losing grip of it. Chainsaws vibrate a lot, and if you are not careful, they may slip off your hand and cause injury.
  • Before using a chainsaw, ensure you have adequate space to turn effortlessly and that there are no people nearby. If you don’t have sufficient space, or if there are people nearby, put the chainsaw down and go back to Plan B.
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Lubricating chainsaws

Chainsaws can be fatal and difficult to use. Still, they can work smoothly and safely if you know how to grease them well. For lubricating chainsaws, you should use a combo of oil and gas. If you don’t have gas or oil, you can use a silicone-based paste or cooking oil. These are all easy to find at the store and make your chainsaw run smoothly.


We hope you enjoyed our blog post on why chainsaws were invented. We know that it can be difficult to find the right resource when you’re searching for information on a topic, so we’ve provided you with a fact check on the origins of chainsaws. Thank you for reading!


About Fishon Amos

Fishon Amos is a freelance writer with over 3 years of experience. He has to his credit over 100 articles published online across diverse platforms and niches.

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