With the exception perhaps of the wedge and the axe, the saw
can lay claim to being the most ancient instrument for the conversion
of wood, and it is certainly by far the most important.
Saw Mills are recorded to have been used at Breslau, 1427;
Holstein, 1540; Lyons, 1555; Ratisbon, 1575. The first mill
erected in Holland was at Saardam, in 1596, and in Sweden about
1563. The first Saw Mill in England of which there is any record
was erected by a Dutchman near London about 1663, but was the
occasion of so much rioting that it had to be abandoned. A James
Stansfield was equally unsuccessful in 1768, but soon after,
aided by the government, he erected mills in various parts of
the country which were operated successfully.
The circular saw was supposed to have been originated in Holland,
but the first patent was granted in 1777 to Samuel Miller of
Southampton. In the beginning the blades were made with square
holes. William Rowland, of Philadelphia. was the first manufacturer
of blades in this country when he became established in 1806
in Philadelphia. The use of the inserted tooth, or the sectional
or false tooth as it was originally called, was invented in
1824 by Robert Eastman, of Brunswick, Maine.
The circular saw bench in its many forms is the most common
of all Wood Working Machines. Before other operations such as
planing, moulding, or tenoning can be accomplished, the material
must first be prepared on the Saw Bench.
A self-feed rip saw was used as early as 1824, with several
blades on one spindle and divided by suitable collars for converting
timber into planks, but no effort was made to patent such a
machine until 1868, when John Casson, of Sheffield, England,
developed a Continuous Feed Circular Saw Bench.
A Short History
of Woodworking Machinery, from the 1920 edition of the
William H. Field Company Field's Wood Working Machinery
Reference Book, Old Woodworking Machines
The invention of the circular saw pre-dated the band saw by
as much as two centuries, and was a major breakthrough. It was
revolutionary because the cut was continuous rather than intermittent,
as in the up-and-down movement of the frame saw. There have
been references to small diameter rotary cutters used for "cutting
gears for clocks... " perhaps as early as 1600.
But the first patent on a circular saw was Samuel Miller's
#1150, issued in London in 1777. For more than a century after
that, the circular saw was the major contributor to high production
in sawmills and woodworking plants.
It took very large diameter blades for sawmill headrigs. The
Pacific Lumberman of 1889 reported that the Pope & Talbot
mill in Port Blakely, WA, had two double circular units, each
fitted with 60-inch-diameter saws on top and bottom arbors.
Jones, Chandles. Milestones
in Machining of Wood, Industrial Strength Woodworking.
In 1813, Shaker-Sister, Tabitha Babbitt (1784-1854) invented
the first circular saw used in a saw mill. Babbitt was working
in the spinning house at the Harvard Shaker community in Massachusetts,
when she decided to invent an improvement to the two-man pit
saws that were being used for lumber production.
History of Hardware Tools, About.com
N. Swift "Sawing shingles,"
Lebanon, Connecticut, Patent No. 4,802X
"This invention is a very early form of a tablesaw. The
blade is mounted at the edge of the table, there is not really
a table top as such, and there is no provision for adjusting
the blade angle or the depth of cut. But it is the earliest
patent (excepting those lost in the 1836 patent office fire)
that looks at all like a tablesaw."
"Sawing shingles;" Jun. 27, 1827, Patent
Old Woodworking Machines