Why were chainsaws invented?


Chainsaws were originally designed to aid in childbirth, not to cut wood.

  • If a kid was too big to fit through the birth canal before Cesarean sections, portions of the pelvis were excised.
  • The treatment was initially carried out using a tiny knife, which was both filthy and uncomfortable.
  • Two doctors devised the chainsaw in 1780 to make the removal process quicker and faster.
  • Hand cranks were used to power the first chainsaws.

After reading the title, you’re probably already clutching your knees, but the chainsaw was originally designed to aid with childbirth. All babies had to be passed through the delivery canal before the caesarian section became popular. That makes perfect sense.

But, as we all know, breech or big babies can become obstructed in the womb. When newborns couldn’t fit through or became caught in the pelvis, sections of the bone and cartilage were removed to provide more room. This is referred to as a “symphysiotomy.”

Originally, the technique was done by hand with a small knife and saw to remove the bone. This was all done on a woman who was in the process of giving delivery without anesthetic. It took a long time, and it was a shambles and very painful process.

If you’re already uncomfortable, don’t worry; we’re only about to get to the chainsaw section. This little-known history of this popular saw was revealed by 13th Floor. In 1780, two doctors devised the chainsaw to enable the removal of pelvic bone during childbirth easier and faster. It was operated by a hand crank and resembled a modern-day kitchen knife, with little teeth on an oval-wrapped chain. We’re sure you’re thinking of those loud machines that can chop down trees in seconds, but this one is a little less frightening and looks more like a medical device.

Still, anything including the words chainsaw, knife, saw, or blade in a fully awake surgery heading for your downstairs is horrifying! The first surgical chainsaw used for those symphysiotomies can be seen here.

In the operating room, the chainsaw was soon employed for various bone cutting surgeries and amputations. When people discovered how swiftly and easily it could get through, well, anything, it evolved into a woodworking tool. It grew bigger and stronger, eventually becoming the monster we know today.

Symphysiotomies are no longer performed, however they do occur occasionally in “Third World” nations if a cesarean section is not possible. In the United States, however, they are no longer performed.

So there you have it: the chainsaw’s unexpected and horrific history.

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About the Author: Stephen James

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