Stihl Chainsaw: The Strange History Behind this Classic Power Tool



Over many years and decades of the modern chainsaw being depicted in countless films and television shows, as well as being used by homeowners, professional gardeners and lumberjacks, it has become almost difficult to imagine this gardening tool’s origins to stem from anything other than gardening and tree felling. By reading through this brief article, you will find out the true story behind the modern-day Stihl chainsaw before browsing through our website’s online store for your very own, all of which can be picked up at handsomely competitive prices.




The Peculiar Beginnings of the Modern-Day Chainsaw


When looking at practically any chainsaw today, especially while it is being operated by a trained professional, it is difficult to imagine one being used for anything other than tree felling. Our desensitization to the technological progress we have experienced over the past few decades has led to some of us forgetting just how powerful such a tool can be. It is especially impressive to see such a small tool being able to carve through and bring down relatively gargantuan trees with such ease.


By taking note of how and what these chainsaws are used for on a daily basis, you may expect it to have been invented by a frustrated and overworked lumberjack looking to make his job more convenient, but this could simply not be further from the truth. The very first rendition of the chainsaw was actually invented in Scotland by two doctors, John Aitken and James Jeffray between 1783 and 1785. An improved version of the chainsaw referred to as an ‘osteome’ was later invented in 1830 by a German physician by the name of Bernhard Heine.


Considering the size of the chainsaws that we have today, alongside how powerful and dangerous they can be in the wrong hands, it might seem impossible for such a tool to be used in the medical field. Thankfully back then, the ‘osteome’ was a rather small device meant for handheld use and had to be operated through the cranking of a handle and sprocket. Trained doctors that had ample experience with the tool would use it during a variety of medical procedures, mainly for the purpose of cutting bone.


It was able to do so thanks to its incredibly sharp teeth being attached to a chain, much like how the modern Stihl chainsaw can be seen today, although appearing far more rudimentary. The chain hand saw itself was made up of a fine serrated link chain that would cut objects from its outer edge. The chains were fairly similar to standard hand saw blades, however, requiring the operator to still need to apply a lot of their own pressure and effort in order to deepen their cut.


This chainsaw was mainly used to remove dead and diseased bone as it was exceptionally good at preventing the surrounding tissue from becoming too damaged, as well as preventing the splintering that would frequently occur while other medical tools were being used. In extreme circumstances, however, this rendition of the modern chainsaw was even used to help assist with childbirth in instances where the baby’s head would get stuck and the mother’s pelvis had to be widened. Thanks to the modern caesarean section being introduced as a safer alternative procedure during childbirth, the use of the ‘osteome’ was discontinued during the middle of the 20th century.




When was the First Modern Petrol-Powered Chainsaw First Released?


While more and more renditions of the hand or human-operated chainsaw were created over the course of the 19th century, it was not until 1905 that the very first recorded patent for ‘endless chain saw’ was filed by Samuel J. Bens, who had invented the first chainsaw that was able to run a chain continuously without stopping. While this version saw some amount of success and laid the way for many more to come, it was only in 1927 that massive leaps and bounds were made to this power tool’s technological progress. Emil Lerp, a German businessman was able to invent the very first chainsaw that was both transportable as well as being able to use petrol as a source of fuel.


Lerp’s very own company, Dolmar Saws, would quickly begin to produce the tool on a mass scale and was then regularly being used for professional forestry work. This variation of the chainsaw was incredibly heavy however and could not be operated by only a single person, weighing up to 63.5kg per unit. The modern chipper chain that we see on chainsaws today was only invented during 1940 however. The inventor, Joseph Buford Cox thought to imitate the cutting action made by the timber beetle, which would cut from side to side as opposed to straight on.


Not much later, however, Stihl would begin to produce the very first rendition of the gas-powered chainsaw that would still be used to this day. During the 1950s, the Stihl chainsaw was the first of its kind that could be carried and operated by just a single person, and to be produced for public use under the name Stihl BL. With Stihl taking the lead in the progress and production of chainsaws, many improvements and features were added to improve the tool’s capabilities and general ease of use, most of which can still be seen by chainsaws being produced today by various other brands.


One of these improvements can be seen as the addition of the manual chain brake bar, being introduced in 1972. This addition gave the operator the ability to stop the chain from spinning while the bar was pressed down. A year later, Husqvarna would go on to innovate upon this idea by making the process automatic. After the kickback, the automatic chain brake system would then stop the chain in an instant, helping to prevent severe facial injuries to the user.




When Did the Electric Chainsaw get Introduced to the Public?


It comes as a surprise to most people upon finding out that the electric chainsaw did not only come out in 1926, a year before the first petrol-powered chainsaw, but was also the first to become commercially available to the public. Stihl received a patent for their design for the purpose of felling trees, so their rendition was quickly applied to forestry work.


Unfortunately, the early years of this Stihl chainsaw did not see much commercial success. This was a result of it having been designed in a completely different fashion as a result of its exceptionally large size and weight of roughly 52kg per unit, and also needing more than one person to operate it successfully. In spite of its initial failures, this electrical chainsaw was able to pave the way for the many successes that would begin to flood the market in the later years to come, from Stihl themselves as well as their competitors.




Where to Go and How to Get Started When in Need of a Stihl Chainsaw


The act of buying your own chainsaw is one that should not be taken lightly. If unprepared in any way, this high-performance gardening tool might result in a bit more carnage than just some ruined shrubs or trees. In order to make the most out of any chainsaw that you may want to buy, it is advised that you take the time to familiarise yourself with not only the chainsaw itself and how it should be operated, but also with what it is that you are trying to accomplish when using it.


This is because there are a number of different types of chainsaws that are currently available that are each used to fulfil different purposes within forestry. These chainsaws are usually categorized by the different roles that their intended clientele would fulfil, namely:


  • Homeowner / Hobby saws
  • Farmer saws
  • Professional saws
  • Arborist or Top handle saws


It is incredibly important to know which of these roles it is that you would fulfil when using your chainsaw, as it would not be ideal to spend large sums of cash on professional level chainsaws only to use them on occasion just to trim your bushes, or even a homeowner chainsaw for commercial-grade tree felling. Doing so would not only put you at risk of serious injury but could also damage your chainsaw, your garden, as well as your wallet too.


This is where BS Power is able to come in to provide you with the help you need. Our store has become one of the most widely acclaimed and coveted power tool manufacturers and suppliers throughout the country as a result of our deep and collective understanding and experience within the industry. Our attention to detail can even be felt through our team of qualified and practiced staff, whose combined knowledge adds up to over 100 years of work experience. This ensures that even our most professional and experienced clients within the industry are still able to leave satisfied with their questions and queries answered and attended to without hassle or confusion.


With this extensive range of knowledge, we at BS Power also provide you with an extensive range of chainsaws of varying types, allowing clients to fulfil any jobs they may have to finish, no matter the size. With our wide range of Stihl and Husqvarna chainsaws, there is no option that is too big or too small for you. To get the right option for you, you simply need to make contact with any of our skilled and friendly staff for help and guidance on the matter.


Whether you decide to visit our store in the Brackenfell area of Cape Town, or by contacting us via phone call or email, etc. all you need to do is provide our staff with an idea of the job at hand. With enough information, we can help equip you with the perfect chainsaw, whether it be for the purpose of trimming your trees or bushes, professional-level tree felling, or even for use of carving artwork into ice or wooden blocks. The best part is that we have an abundance of savings waiting for you during this festive season too.


When visiting the online store on our website, our returning clients find themselves surprised at how affordable our prices tend to be, especially when compared to any of our local competitors. This festive season, however, our prices have been reduced even further with the addition of handsome discounts. This allows you to place your orders with absolute peace of mind knowing that you can still expect to receive a quality product, in spite of how little you spend in the process. To order your Husqvarna or Stihl chainsaw today, simply head over to the “Contact Us” button found at the top of our website’s homepage, where you can find a selection of contact methods for your convenience.