Circular Saw and Table Saw History

Circular Saw Has Long History

What workshop or contractor’s tool box would be complete without a circular saw? The history of these saws can be traced to 1777 when Samuel Miller invented the first spinning saw blade in England. These early circular saws were used in sawmills and used to cut lumber. It took more than 150 years and the development of electricity as a practical power source before someone would come up with the idea for a portable saw.

Raymond Dewalt devised the first radial arm saw in 1922, using a circular saw blade. This dewalt circular saw wasn’t portable, but it was certainly more versatile than the conventional saws of the day. Dewalt developed this saw, which could perform a number of operations easily by moving or rotating the motor and saw blade which were suspended on an overhead arm, as a labor saving device. He formed a company to produce and sell his invention two years later.

The John Barnes Circular Saw Table Used Foot Power

The circular saw table was being used long before Raymond Dewalt came up with his radial arm saw design. One of these saws was the treadle-powered circular table saw produced by the W.R. & John Barnes Company of Rockford, Illinois, as early as 1878. In those years Barnes was a strong believer in using foot power to power woodworking machines. Similar to the sewing machines of that era, the Barnes Company woodworking machines were operated by pumping a treadle mounted beneath the table of the machine.

Inventor Art Emmons came up with the idea of a portable circular saw in 1929. The porter cable circular saw used a helical drive with an electric motor packaged into a compact and lightweight unit that was easily portable. Now, woodworkers and carpenters could easily take the saw to the work rather than take the work to the saw. This was a tremendous development and was just one of the innovative tools that helped make the Porter Cable company one of the leaders in power tools. Emmons’ design is still the basis for portable circular saw designs today.

Today the circular saw comes in many forms and is an important design for sawmills, woodworking shops and for home hobbyists. This versatile design is continuing to find new uses. The circular saw, mounted on a boom or on the front of a tractor-like piece of machinery, has turned tree trimming and log felling into a much safe and much more labor efficient operation. It is clear that one of the most popular of all cutting devices is the circular saw.

Filed under Table Saws

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