Who Invented the Saw

who invented the saw

You may say that our modern world is built on saws. They cut into the wood, metal, and many other materials to build buildings, tools, cars, and things that power our modern society. Saws also come in many types and may be for different use. However, not many think of how saws were invented, specifically, who invented the saw?

The first electric hand held circular saw was invented by Edmond Michel in 1923. He then partnered with Joseph W. Sullivan and they were awarded a patent in 1924 naming the saw “Skil”. The first chainsaw was invented by Bernhard Heine in 1830. The inventors of the saw may be many, depending on which saw you are looking at.

Why Was the Circular Saw Invented?

Edmond Michel was a frenchmen who immigrated to the United States. After seeing how difficult it was for cane farmers to cut through stalks he thought there had to be an easier way. He partnered with Joseph Sullivan and moved to Chicago when in 1924 was granted a patent. In 1926 they named the saw Skil due to the fact at that time you needed skill to use it.

The earliest users of saw-like tools were the ancient Egyptians from as early as 3100 BC.

This article explores the saw, types of saws, as well as who invented each of the saw types. We also explore why saws were created in the first place.

What Are The Types Of Saws?

There are many types of saws. However, the common saws used today include hand saw, chainsaw, circular saw, miter saw, table saw, jig saw, and back saw. These saws may be suitable for different types of uses and to perform different types of cuts. These saws may be powered manually, electrically, or by fuel.

There are many types of saws that have been invented over their existence. In fact, it may not be an exaggeration to claim hundreds. However, not many of these saws are commonly used today.

The commonly saws you may see today include:

Hand Saw

Hand saws are operated by hand and may be the most common and affordable saw you can find in the market. Hand saws usually have a stiff back, allowing the saw to keep its shape while being moved back and forth to cut.

Hand saws usually have a grip at the end of the saw, usually attached to the saw itself to allow for easy pushing and pulling motion from the person operating the saw. Hand saws may come in smaller types, such as those cut into metal, stone, or plastic.

Back Saw

Back saws are similar to hand saws in many ways. It is usually operated by hand and features a grip that allows easy pushing and pulling motion. Back saws usually have a thinner blade, making them more suitable for performing more surgical cuts than hand saws.

However, thin blades may cause rigidity issues. As such, you may see the back saw coming with a stiffening rib to hold on to the blade on the non-cutting edge. Depending on the user’s requirements, the back saw may be small or large. Small back saw examples include the Japanese Dozuki, while large ones include Tenon Saw.


Chainsaw may be one of the most popular automatic saws around. It consists of the motor and the guide bar. The motor provides power to the sawing motion and can be gasoline, electric, or battery driven.

The power is then delivered to a set of sawing teeth attached to a rotating chain that runs along a guide bar. Chainsaws may also come in multiple sizes and types and can only be as small as 4 inches.

Chainsaw as a concept has also been used to develop many types of special-purpose chainsaws. These special chainsaws may perform pruning, ice cutting, metal cutting, or even cutting bones during surgical procedures.

Miter Saw

Miter saws, at times, can also be called chop saws. It is usually electricity operated and mounted on a table. It consists of two parts, the circular saw and the base plate. You operate a miter saw by placing your wood on the base plate and then lowering your circular saw on the wood to cut it.

One of the strengths of the miter saw is that you can perform accurate angular cuts with a miter saw by performing adjustments. As a result, it is rather common to see a miter saw in a wood workshop. Miter saws can also be cut into metal and stones, provided the blades are suitable.

Circular Saw

Circular saws can be a more portable but less feature-packed version of a miter saw. It consists of the circular sawing blade, usually disc-shaped, and the motor and shield.

You operate a circular saw by pushing it through the wood. As you push it, the blade runs circularly, sawing through the wood to cut it. The circular saw may be one of the simpler and cheaper automatic saws, making it popular with many woodworkers.

Jig Saw

A jigsaw operates by automating the back-and-forth motion of a hand saw, allowing users to focus on maneuvering the blade. Jig saw’s blades are also thin and narrow, allowing users to cut irregular curves.

A jigsaw consists of the motor unit and the blade itself. Most jigsaws are electric-powered, although battery-powered ones are common as well. You push the jigsaw along the wood to cut it. As you do so, the saw blade cuts into the wood in an up-down motion.

Table Saw

A table saw is a table with a circular saw placed underneath it. Part of the blade protrudes through the table. Beside the blade, there is usually a guide.

You operate the table saw by pushing the wood piece into the circular saw, which will then cut it down. The table surface and the guide ensure you feed the wood piece into the saw in the right line and measurement.

Who Invented The Saw?

The invention of the saw may be prehistoric, which means we may never know who created it. However, the earliest proven use of the saw was dated back to 3100 BC, with the ancient Egyptians.

The earliest example of a saw was found in tomb number 3471, constructed during the reign of pharaoh Djer in the 31st century B.C. This saw is made of copper and does not feature any frames or handles.

There are also many unproven claims that saws may have originated from places such as China or ancient Greece.

The Chinese source claims that Lu Ban first cut his hand on a piece of a leaf with jagged edges. This inspired him to create a saw. The Greek source claims that Talos got the idea to create the saw after seeing the spine of a fish.

These claims may not be considered history, as there is little proof to back these claims. They are best seen as tales.

However, more modern saws may have been patented as an invention, which allows us to figure out the names of these inventors. These saws may also have multiple people who claim to be inventors, as not all saws were patented when they were created.

As such, when a patent is registered, the person registered as the parent may not be the original inventor.

Who Invented the Circular Saw

The first electric circular saw was invented by Edmund Michel in 1923. The original design may have been called the ‘worm-styled’ design, as the motor is larger, longer, and tubular in shape behind the disc blade. Behind the motor is the handle, similar to a hand saw.

Modern circular saws retain the concept but can use a smaller motor, bringing the handle closer to the circular blade. Modern circular saws are also lighter and easier to maneuver as well.

Who Invented the Miter Saw

Ed Niehaus from Rockwell International invented the first modern electric miter saw in 1964. He was the Chief Engineer in the Power Tool Division at the time. Many aspects of the original miter saw are still in modern saws, such as dust collection systems, blade braking, and radial arc spring action.

More modern miter saws may have additional functions, such as protective shields and angular cut adjusters, and may be mounted on a stand.

Who Invented the Jigsaw

Jigsaw’s invention may be attributed to Albert Kaufmann. At the time was an employee of the Swiss company Scintilla AG. Kaufmann attributed the idea of the jigsaw to seeing the up-and-down motion of the needles on his wife’s sewing machine.

Who Invented the Chainsaw

The earliest examples of a chainsaw may have been invented for medical purposes. A German physicist by the name of Bernhard Heine invented a device called an Osteotome in 1830 to help cut into bones. The concept is then developed into today’s chainsaw.

The modern, proper wood-cutting chainsaw, powered by gasoline, was invented by Andreas Stihl in 1929. The chainsaw patented by Stihl has a motor, guiding frame, and chains carrying the saw teeth.

Who Invented the Table Saw

The concept of the table saw was started by Samuel Miller of Southampton, England, in 1777. However, Miller only invented the circular, disc-shaped saw, which does not come with a table.

It was unknown who came up with the idea of putting a table around the circular saw to guide the wood. However, the modern table we see first came out in 1885 in a catalog from W.F. & John Barnes Co.

If you insist on a name for the inventor of a table saw, then consider Art Emmons. In 1929, he patented the first electric-powered, portable table saw.