Why Were Chainsaws Invented? The Shocking Facts Reveal


You might be taken aback to find out that chainsaws were not designed as power tools in the beginning.

Rumors had it that this type of tool was initially created for supporting women in delivering babies.

The answer sounds quite horrific, right? Many people can’t wrap their head around this explanation, while some concur.

In this article, we will give you the true answer why were chainsaws invented. Not only that, but we also reveal every interesting fact about this tool and how it used to support soon-to-be moms in labor.

Why Were Chainsaws Invented?

why was the chainsaw invented

The answer: Chainsaws were invented for childbirth.

The theory is true! The initial purpose of chainsaws was for supporting childbirth. People invented and used chainsaws as supportive equipment to help pregnant women deliver babies.

The chainsaws were not necessary if a woman delivered her baby normally. But in some special cases, this tool was required.

For example, if a woman struggled to deliver a baby in a breech position, she would need the chainsaw. Or, in another situation, the infant was so big that the mother could not push them out.

The doctors would have to use a hand-cranked chainsaw with small trimming teeth on a chain to cut through the cartilage and the mother’s ligaments, thereby getting ease in bringing the baby out.

The answer sounds distressing, right? This idea doesn’t seem to be pleasant because many modern technologies and machines nowadays support pregnant women to deliver with as little intervention as possible.

But remember that the chainsaw was popular at the time, as doctors hadn’t found cesarean methods.

All babies must come out through the vagina (birth canal) of their mothers, making equipment such as chainsaws essential during this period.

Designs Of Chainsaws Used For Childbirth

In fact, the truth is not as terrible as it sounds.

You may immediately think of a modern industry saw when referring to a chainsaw, right?

However, the childbirth tools have a different design compared to the modern version nowadays. It does not look big, dangerous, or horror as a 90cc saw.

The inventors designed the medical chainsaw in a compact-style model with a shape similar to a knife that contains a chain on it.

Here is an image of the chainsaw for childbirth

chainsaw for childbirth

As you can see, the medical chainsaw is a lot more compact than the modern saws that we use nowadays.

The childbirth device does not run on an electrical motor. Instead, the user has to rotate a hand crank to run the chain.

Luckily, it is not hard to find proof of chainsaws that people use for childbirth. You can easily find images about this medical tool on the Internet.

Some pictures of chainsaws for childbirth:

Chainsaw Childbirth
Chainsaw Childbirth
All components of medical chainsaws
All components of medical chainsaws
Chainsaw For Childbirth

Who Had Invented Chainsaws?

Two doctors in Scotland had designed and invented the chainsaws in the 1780s. They are James Jeffray and John Aitken.

Their idea for the chainsaw was to combine the chain teeth of a watch with a hand crank.

John Aitken and James Jeffrey have found out that chainsaws have more uses in medications. Some medical procedures we can list are:

  • Diseased parts of bone removal
  • Infected flesh cutting
  • Limbs amputating

After some time, people have developed chainsaws to make them more supportive of industry work. Modern devices nowadays run on an electrical motor and can deliver fast cutting through large objects.

Problems Of Using Chainsaws For Childbirth?

The procedure of using chainsaws for childbirth is defined as symphysiotomy.

In detail, many people explain symphysiotomy as an outdated surgical method. The procedure widens the pelvis of the mother by dividing the symphysis of the cartilage.

With this method, the doctors can have ease in accessing the baby.

Unfortunately, the procedure leaves behind multiple problems for the women.

As people continued using this method in Ireland, many Irish pregnant women had health issues consequently.

After the chainsaw childbirth, the mothers had lost the ability to walk and stand on their feet.

Moreover, chainsaw childbirth even led to multiple lifelong consequences. Women might have issues with her vagina and her small bones inside.

Following are several problems that chainsaws cause, such as:

  • Breech birth
  • Bone breaking
  • Baby head failing to move through the mother’s birth canal
  • Shoulders stuck

To prevent the consequences for pregnant women, doctors have researched and found out more methods.

Nowadays, the caesarian section (C-section) is the best replacement for the chainsaw procedure.

When Have People Stopped Using Chainsaws For Supporting Childbirth?

why were chainsaw invented

As doctors find out safer procedures, the use of medical chainsaws in childbirth becomes unnecessary.

People in Western countries agreed to stop using chainsaws between the late 18th century and the early 19th century.

Of course, the use of chainsaws in childbirth does not completely come to an end.

Many undeveloped nations still allow people to use the chainsaw for medical purposes when it’s impossible to process a C-section.

Evolution of the chainsaw

The chainsaw has come a long way since it was first designed in 1830 by Bernhard Heine. It has been used in surgery as an osteotome, which is a tool used to cut bones.

In the early 20th century, people began to see the potential for the chainsaw outside of the medical field.

The first electric chainsaw was patented in 1905 by Samuel J Bens. It was designed to fell giant redwoods.

However, over time, different types of chainsaws have been developed to suit different purposes.

One of the most notable changes is the switch from gas-powered to electric-powered chainsaws. It was mainly motivated by the need for a more portable and less hazardous chainsaw.

Another significant change is the development of chainsaws specifically for industry work, such as sawing through concrete or metal.

These types of chainsaws are much more powerful than traditional chainsaws and can be very dangerous if used improperly.

As chainsaws have evolved, so has the training required to use them safely. With the right training and precautions, chainsaws can be safely used for a variety of tasks.

However, it is important to remember that they are still powerful tools that can cause serious injury or death if used improperly.


Why was the chainsaw invented? These tools are for childbirth support! Although the answer sounds quite horrible, the truth is not as bad as you think.

We will summarize everything about chainsaws for childbirth:

  • Chainsaws were invented for childbirth.
  • The tools did not have a complex and large design as modern chainsaws nowadays.
  • 2 Scottish doctors: James Jeffray and John Aitken, were the ones who invented chainsaws in the 1780s.
  • Chainsaw childbirth led to multiple lifelong health problems.
  • People stopped using chainsaws for childbirth at the end of the 18th century.

As you see, chainsaw childbirth is rather harmful to the mother’s health. But in the 1700s and 1800s, as cesarean section was not popular, this equipment was essential for supporting childbirth delivery.

Now you know that the rumor was true. Chainsaws were originally invented for childbirth.

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