Fun Facts Friday; The Origins of The Chainsaw

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Its Fun Facts Friday!

Did you know that the chainsaw was originally invented to assist in childbirth? You don’t see how they relate, right? Let me explain.

In early times, giving birth could only be done through the birth canal, caesarian sections were not a thing yet. This is normal, except that the process is not always smooth. Different kinds of complications come up including babies in breech, a narrow birth canal, etc. What doctors used to do was cut out portions of the pelvis to give more space for the coming child.

We need to appreciate modern medicine more for how far we have come with innovations. Click To Tweet

Imagine this: A woman in labor pains, sweating, her legs spread apart and a doctor hacking at her lower region with a knife. Disturbing sight, you would agree. But that is not all. Anesthesia was not invented yet, meaning she had to go through that pain clear-eyed and clear-headed. Terrible!

Women are the real superheroes.

Doctors thought about how to reduce the time spent cutting the mother and the time she spent in such pain and the answer was a kind of knife that could cut through bone and flesh very fast. In 1870, two doctors invented a machine very much like a modern-day kitchen knife but with little teeth on a chain that wound round it in an oval shape.  The machine was powered by a hand crank.

This machine went on to be used for other surgeries including amputations, and much later for cutting other non-human things. This small but noiseless cutting tool invented by doctors is the ancestor of present-day chainsaws.

These aren't such fun facts after all. Sorry. One more reason to appreciate modern medicine for how far we have come with innovations.

Tip: Symphysiotomy is a surgical procedure in which the cartilage of the pubic symphysis is divided to widen the pelvis allowing childbirth when there is a mechanical problem. It is also known as pelviotomy, synchondrotomy – Wikipedia.




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