What was the Chainsaw was originally invented for?
The Invention of the Chainsaw
Before chainsaws were used for cutting wood, they were used for childbirth. Yes, you heard that right– childbirth. Before the invention of the Caesarian section, or C-section, all childbirth needed to take place through the birth canal. But, of course, complications occurred. If a baby is too large or breech, meaning they would come out feet-first, they can become obstructed.
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In 1780, two doctors, John Aitken and James Jeffray invented the chainsaw to assist in childbirth. Originally, they would use smaller knives and a saw which took more time and was much more painful for the mother. The procedure was done while the mother was wide awake and alert given the fact that anesthesia, a medicine that temporarily induces loss of sensation and awareness, was not invented yet. When babies didn’t fit through the birth canal, the doctor took a chainsaw and removed parts of the bone and cartilage to make more space for the baby. The procedure was called a symphysiotomy.
The invention of the chainsaw, after seeing how well it worked for cutting through bone during the symphysiotomy, was used under other circumstances such as amputation. The chainsaw was used in the medical field for a very long time before transferring itself to the lumber industry after they realized how fast and well it could cut through almost anything.
How the chainsaw worked and what it Looked like
If you’re thinking of the chainsaws people use in present-day to cut wood when you think about using a chainsaw for childbirth, you’re close but not quite. The chainsaw has developed into something far more advanced than what Aitken and Jeffray had originally invented. The chainsaw was powered by a hand crank that looks much like a kitchen knife with a chain that had teeth wound around it in an oval. It looked more like a medical tool rather than a lumber tool as it does today.
Medical Chainsaws today
The chainsaw aspects, although advanced, stayed but they are no longer used for childbirth. They found a new home in the lumber and woodworking industry rather than the medical field, at least in some parts of the world. Symphysiotomies are no longer performed in the United States (I know, a sigh of relief escaped my body, too.) Although, in other countries, if a c-section could not be performed under certain circumstances, they would have to use this chainsaw to assist in the childbirth process. As scary as it is to think about a lumber tool cutting through someone’s sensitive parts, it barely ever takes place and the chainsaw is kept away from surgical wards and is mostly used for cutting wood by the lumber industry.