Chainsaw Bar & Chain Finder  

History of the chainsaw

Date Posted:9 April 2015 

The History of the Chainsaw The first chainsaws were developed in the 1920’s. The development of the motorised saw led to an increase in timber production comparable to that which occurred when the non motorised saw took the place of the axe.
Sägen von Hand
Fig. 1 - Hand sawing with the forest superintendent looking on ... 
 
frühe Einmann-Motorsäge
Fig. 2 - One of the first one-man chainsaws
 
Photos: Archives WSL  

The first chainsaws were developed in the 1920’s. The development of the motorised saw led to an increase in timber production comparable to that  which occurred when the non motorised saw took the place of the axe.

 

The history of forest work runs parallel to that of the human race. For thousands of years the forest was linked to the development, problems and evolution of civilisation. In time the dark, threatening forest thicket became a useful timber supplier. The forest was tamed, so that today it is not only an important economic factor, but it also fulfils various functions such as protection or recreation.

 

For hundreds of years the lumberjack’s job was one of the lowliest, at the bottom of the social ladder. This only changed with the introduction of the modern chainsaw. This improved the lumberjack’s social prestige and self esteem. A disdained day labourer became a respected machine operator and specialist.

 

From the axe to the saw

 

The axe has the oldest tradition of all wood cutting tools used by humans. Its use reaches so far back in human history that it’s form in stone, copper, bronze and iron reflects the different forms of culture. It remained one of the most important and widely used tools for felling trees right into the 19th Century.

 

Around 5000 B.C. Germanic tribes invented the first saw. They nicked small teeth into half moon shaped flints. Whether these saws were used for working on wood is not known. After the discovery of copper this was used, in the form of bronze, to produce axes and saws (with axes not only could trees be felled, but also adversaries). Around 750 B.C. iron replaced bronze as a working material but saws remained out of bronze for many centuries. However, they were used less in the forests and more by artisans, doctors and surgeons.