Why Were Chainsaws Invented
The original chainsaw was invented and used by two Scottish doctors in the 1780s. The design of the chainsaw is based on a watch with chains and teeth that move with a hand crank. Two doctors in Scotland came up with the idea of a chainsaw combining chains, teeth, clocks and hand cranks.
The success of this invention meant that chainsaws could also be used for other bone-cutting operations, such as in amputation rooms. Anaesthetics were invented in the early 19th century and chainsaws became a popular surgical tool. In the 1830s, the first type of chainsaw, the osteotome, was invented and used for medical interventions.
|Why Were Chainsaws Invented
The tool is known for its ability to cut trees and cut lumber and was invented by a Scottish doctor named John Aitken in the late 18th century and used in the operating theatre. A German orthopaedic surgeon named Bernhard Heine designed a version of the chainsaw for surgical use in the 1830s. The osteotome was the first chainsaw to be invented, but not to cut wood.
The prototype chainsaw, now familiar to the wood industry, was invented by two Scottish doctors, John Aitken and James Jeffray in the late 18th century. They invented it for a procedure called symphysiotomy, the removal of diseased bones. In 1861, Hamilton Lake invented the hand-crank chainsaw, which was used by two men and looked like a giant spinning wheel.
In the 1780s, two doctors named John Aitken and James Jeffray invented the chainsaw to make pelvic bone removal less time-consuming. The chainsaw made cutting the pelvic bone much faster, saved many hours of surgery and prevented maternal death. In 1780, to simplify the procedure, Scottish doctors invented an early version of chainsaws to make it easier.
To facilitate the process, two Scottish surgeons invented the chainsaw in the 18th century. You will be happy to know that chainsaws are not just a horror movie idea; the modern tree hopper is actually a small kitchen knife with small teeth and a chain wrap around a hand crank.
Before inventing the chainsaw and refining the process, Dr Aitken did not invent the pelviotomy, which became a symphysiotomy. Prior to his chainsaw, the procedure was performed with a normal hand saw, a small knife and a drop of anaesthetic for the patient, which was because there were painkillers such as opium and doctors believed that the feeling of pain was necessary for the patient's survival. The fact that a chainsaw could cause a small wound and prevent nerve injuries was not enough to convince doctors to use it instead of a small knife.
Caesarean sections are still used today, but there is no room for chainsaws at birth. The chainsaw was invented to help with childbirth, which you can read more about here.
When a woman gave birth to a baby in chest position, the baby was too big to stick out, so a hand crank chain saw with fine incisors was used to cut the woman's cartilage and ligaments to get to the baby. Doctors used the chainsaw as a small incisor on a chain to cut the cartilage, loosening the mother's ligaments to get the baby out. More difficult to deliver when the baby is large, bound and difficult to rotate, in the late 18th century doctors widened the pelvic opening and sawed through the pelvic bones and cartilage to make room for the baby's birth.
At the end of the 18th century, people stopped using chainsaws for childbirth. Once doctors found safer procedures, the use of medical chainsaws at birth became unnecessary. People invented and used chainsaws and support devices to help pregnant women deliver babies safely.
The first chainsaws were invented for childbirth, but they were a far cry from the powerful monsters that humans use today to cut down trees. The chainsaw Gigli (pictured above) was used to amputate limbs from deceased flesh and bones, but its original purpose was to help women who had difficulty delivering their babies.
The first patent for the electric chainsaw (or endless chainsaw, as it is called today) was granted in 1905 to a man named Samuel J. Ben in San Francisco for his plan to cut down giant sequoias. The modern chainsaws we use and see are used for felling trees.
A video on TikTok claims that chainsaws were invented to help with childbirth. The use of medical chainsaws in childbirth is now said to be used in some parts of the world where caesarean sections are not possible, with Gigli (pictured above) overtaking the original medical chainsaw.
Chainsaws, it turns out, were invented to deliver babies. As a paramedic it is safe to remind people where the chainsaws come from that your stomach will growl. It's not hard to find evidence that chainsaws existed long before birth.
The procedure most commonly used with a chainsaw during childbirth is defined as a symphysiotomy. This procedure expands the pelvis of the mother and divides the symphysis into cartilage. Instead of widening the pelvic area with a knife, cutting through cartilage and bone and freeing the trapped baby, two Scottish surgeons called John Aitken and James Jeffray developed a chainsaw to make the incision easier.