Are you wondering who invented the circular saw?
There’s some debate when asking this question. You’ll find two distinct individuals had a large bearing in the development of the widespread power tool.
Easily one of the most versatile items in your shed, knowing circular saw history can help you appreciate its design.
Who Invented the Circular Saw in 1777?
As mentioned, there's some debate about who was the first person to invent the circular saw.
The development of tools is relatively obscure. Without original documentation, it's challenging to determine who the founders are.
With that said, there's some evidence to support a few theories over others.
The first theory we'll explore is that of Samuel Miller. Many people believe that Miller was the first person to invent the circular saw machine in 1777.
According to sources, he was awarded British Patent #1152 in regards to his invention.
The patent stated that he developed a machine that used a circular blade for cutting various materials.
He stated that his new circular sawing machine would cut into wood, stone, and ivory.
It was initially developed to provide the same power and design as a windmill, including levers and sails.
When connected, the sails move, which provides power to the rest of the machine.
Some other standard parts of Samuel Miller's circular saw include a horizontal shaft, a chariot, and pinion screws.
Other groups suggest that Tabitha Babbitt was the initial inventor of the circular saw. However, the documentation surrounding her saw was found to be established in 1810.
She got her inspiration from watching two Shaker men using a pit saw and struggling.
She then decided that she would combine the power of a circular saw with a spinning wheel's design.
She rigged a tin disk with multiple notches to spin as she pushed the pedal of her wheel.
By doing so, Babbitt was able to eradicate the need for using traditional pit saws.
After little time, this design of the circular saw was quickly adapted into popular technology.
Throughout the years, Babbitt maintained that she developed the idea for her circular saw on her own.
Even though it looked similar to other previously designed models, Babbitt's concept was substantially more massive and useful.
You'll likely hear of stories of inventors who had developed the circular saw around 1780 or earlier.
There's some evidence that suggests Gervinus of Germany built a relatively similar machine during those years.
Many others suggest the Dutch were the first to invent the device in the early 1700s.
Who Invented the Portable Circular Saw?
The invention of the portable circular saw is a little less subjective and competitive.
It's well known that Edmond Michel was the first person to take the power of the traditional circular saw and make it portable.
However, he didn't do it independently, as he also worked alongside farmland developer Joseph W. Sullivan.
In 1921, Michel was standing in Louisiana's sugarcane field when he noticed workers using machetes to hack away at the cane.
After seeing how physically strenuous the activity was, he developed a mechanized machete in his New Orleans workshop.
This device was then developed into the first portable circular saw around 1924.
With Joseph W. Sullivan's help, Edmond Michel created The Michel Electric Handsaw Company in 1924, now known as SKILSAW.
When Was the First Electric Circular Saw Invented?
Interestingly enough, Edmond Michel and Joseph W. Sullivan's electric handsaw was also the first electric saw invented.
After creating their company in 1924, they went on to invent several circular saws.
With over 2,000 models in its inventory, SKILSAW Incorporated is indeed a very reputable brand.
By 1928, they had begun using diecast aluminum to begin producing electrical tools.
With the idea of shifting to this material, they could make their equipment more lightweight and manageable.
Also, there were several safety improvements integrated into the tools to help make them more accessible.
Known as the "Model E," the first electrical circular saw with user-friendly features was developed in 1928.
From there, the company began to diversify into the world of electric tools.
By researching commonly used manual equipment, they could create various items, such as the electric drill.
The first SKIL-designed electric drill was developed in 1934.
The company didn't stop at their initial circular saw invention, as there is always room for improvement.
In 1937, SKIL began to develop Model 77, which was a highly improved version of the Model E.
Many tradespeople suggested that it was the best portable electric saw on the market within those years.
Today, the Model 77 is still one of the company's top-selling products, although it has plenty of modern advanced features.
Other Notable Circular Saw Inventions
There have been plenty of phenomenal improvements to circular saws over the years by several inventors.
Aside from answering when was the circular saw invented, these significant inventions mean a lot to circular saw history.
Raymond Dewalt - Radial Arm Saw
In 1922, Raymond Dewalt decided to create a machine that would use a circular saw blade for cutting.
It wasn't portable like the electric handsaw developed by SKILSAW, but it was useful for large materials.
One of its significant improvements was that it brought more versatility to the worksite due to its easy operation.
The concept for this invention was a circular saw blade suspended above the cutting material on an overhead arm.
The user would then have to move or rotate the motor and sawblade to work through lumber and other materials.
By 1924, the radial arm saw became another famous invention seen at construction sites worldwide.
John Barnes - Circular Saw Table
The circular saw table was quite useful before the invention of the radial arm saw.
It was initially developed by the W.R. & John Barnes Company in Illinois, dating back to 1878.
Barnes' main focus was to create a machine that could use foot power to power woodworking machines.
It had a very similar design to sewing machines during that era.
You'd find a treadle mounted under the machine that you would pump to rotate the blade on the circular saw table.
You can likely tell the similarity between this design and what we know today as a table saw.
Art Emmons - Portable Circular Saw
Another inventor who developed his concept of a portable circular saw was Art Emmons.
In 1929, he developed the porter cable circular saw, which combined an electric motor and helical drive.
His model was very lightweight and compact, making it ideal for traveling from one job site to another.
This invention was one of the main ideas that boosted the Porter-Cable Company to the forefront of tool development.
The Fascinating End to Who Invented the Circular Saw
The circular saw invention experienced several innovative developments by notable inventors.
If you're wondering when was the circular saw invented, you’ll find that there are plenty of individuals who had a part in its development.
Today, many of the basic designs are still frequently used and preferred by tradespeople for cutting laminate, tile, and more.