The circular saw was invented during the end of the 18th century, during the peak of the Industrial Revolution. Back then, circular saws were used to turn raw logs into timber that can then be used for buildings and other wood-related crafts. Sawmills saw the majority of the presence of the circular saw, as it was efficient, fast, and accurate and massively sped up production compared to manually cutting pieces of timber, which at this time was seen as time-consuming, quality was not across the board consistent and many pieces of valuable timber were often wasted or scrapped.
The circular saw vast improvements and innovation through the decades of use. Circular saws that were found in saw mills were initially boring smaller blades that pushed the lumber into an “up-and-down” motion which enabled the lumber to be cut into smaller and more manageable sizes. During the first two decades of the 1800s, saw mills were keen to adapt to the larger scale of production and thus utilized larger circular saws to facilitate a quicker, easier and more accurate cut for the lumber. Circular saws that had smaller blades were initially powered by hand but due to practicality reasons, larger circular saws were now powered by steam engines, another innovation brought about by the Industrial Revolution.
It has been disputed who really invented the circular saw, as claims included Samuel Miller of Southampton, England who obtained a patent for the saw windmill in 1777. This claim, however, was highly disputed as it was only incidental that the saw was mentioned, and might be only due to no prior reports nor patients were present. Another notable claim of the circular saw’s invention was from Gervinius of Germany, who is often given credit for inventing the circular saw in 1760. Some claimed that the circular saw must have originated in Holland in the sixteenth or seventeenth century, as many believed that the wooden craftsmanship of products from Holland could not be made without a type of mechanical assistance from a rudimentary type of circular saw.
The use of the large circular saw in the saw mill’s context is often credited to Tabitha Babbitt, a member of the Shaker sect, after noting that the saw pits used in their mills are all but inefficient, and she pushed for the innovation and improvement of it for the sawyers in her community.
Whoever was responsible for the invention and wide acceptance of the circular saw, has made a great innovation in the industry of manufacturing, woodworking and even those who are highly engaged in “do-it-yourself” work, such as hobbyists. Today, circular saws come in numerous sizes, from portable ones – perfect for those who love engaging in personal hobbies, to industrial sized ones – mostly found in large-scale factories and workshops which engage in cutting metal, wood and other materials for industrial and manufacturing use.
Many companies worldwide have started to manufacture circular saws for personal and industrial use. These companies include Black & Decker, Craftsman, Bosch, Makita, and Skil, and are currently powered by electricity; a far-cry from the humble and mechanical beginnings of the circular saw.