One of the earliest patents for an “endless chain saw” comprising a chain of links carrying saw teeth was granted to Frederick L. Magaw of Flatlands, New York in 1883, apparently for the purpose of producing boards by stretching the chain between grooved drums. A later patent incorporating a guide frame was granted to Samuel J. Bens of San Francisco on January 17, 1905, his intent being to fell giant redwoods. The first portable chainsaw was developed and patented in 1918 by Canadian millwright James Shand. After he allowed his rights to lapse in 1930, his invention was further developed by what became the German company Festo in 1933. The company, now operating as Festool, produces portable power tools. Other important contributors to the modern chainsaw are Joseph Buford Cox and Andreas Stihl; the latter patented and developed an electric chainsaw for use on bucking sites in 1926 and a gasoline-powered chainsaw in 1929, and founded a company to mass-produce them. In 1927, Emil Lerp, the founder of Dolmar, developed the world’s first gasoline-powered chainsaw and mass-produced them.
World War II interrupted the supply of German chain saws to North America, so new manufacturers sprang up, including Industrial Engineering Ltd (IEL) in 1939, the forerunner of Pioneer Saws Ltd and part of Outboard Marine Corporation, the oldest manufacturer of chainsaws in North America.
In 1944, Claude Poulan was supervising German prisoners cutting pulpwood in East Texas. Poulan utilized an old truck fender and fashioned it into a curved piece utilized to guide the chain. The “bow guide” now allowed the chainsaw to be utilized by a single operator.
McCulloch in North America started to produce chainsaws in 1948. The early models were heavy, two-person devices with long bars. Often, chainsaws were so heavy that they had wheels like dragsaws. Other outfits used driven lines from a wheeled power unit to drive the cutting bar.
After World War II, improvements in aluminum and engine design lightened chainsaws to the point where one person could carry them. In some areas, the chainsaw and skidder crews have been replaced by the feller buncher and harvester.
Chainsaws have almost entirely replaced simple man-powered saws in forestry. They are made in many sizes, from small electric saws intended for home and garden use, to large “lumberjack” saws. Members of military engineer units are trained to use chainsaws, as are firefighters to fight forest fires and to ventilate structure fires.
Three main types of chainsaw sharpeners are used: handheld file, electric chainsaw, and bar-mounted.
The first electric chainsaw was invented by Stihl in 1926. Corded chainsaws became available for sale to the public from the 1960s onwards, but these were never as successful commercially as the older gas-powered type due to limited range, dependency upon the presence of an electrical socket, plus the health and safety risk of the blade’s proximity to the cable.
For most of the early 21st century petrol driven chainsaws remained the most common type, but they faced competition from cordless lithium battery powered chainsaws from the late 2010s onwards. Although most cordless chainsaws are small and suitable only for hedge trimming and tree surgery, Husqvarna and Stihl began manufacturing full size chainsaws for cutting logs during the early 2020s. Battery powered chainsaws should eventually see increased market share in California due to state restrictions planned to take effect in 2024 on gas powered gardening equipmen.
Post time: Sep-17-2022