Everyone today associates chainsaws with cutting through wood, but the real reason it was invented couldn't be further from how we use the tool today.

Over the past couple of days, I have seen several people on social media share posts that they Googled why chainsaws were invented and their reactions weren't too pleasant. Some people said they were shocked, others said they cringed. So naturally, I had to Google it for myself. After doing that, I can honestly say that I was shocked AND I cringed.

You might be wondering by now, why a chainsaw was invented. Get ready for it...

The chainsaw was originally invented to help assist with childbirth.

Crazy surgeon with chainsaw
Getty Images/iStockphoto


Before the common use of the caesarian section, all babies had to be passed through the birth canal. As you know, childbirth isn't always easy. Sometimes babies can't fit through and can often times get stuck in the pelvis. According to Business Insider, back in the day, when something like that occurred, parts of bone and cartilage were removed to create more space for the baby. This is called a "symphysiotomy".

Originally, a symphysiotomy was performed with a small knife and a saw to cut off the pelvis bone. As if that doesn't sound painful enough, there wasn't any anesthesia during this procedure. So you can assume it was a very painful day for the women who had to go that route.

Eventually, two doctors invented the chainsaw to help make this procedure a little easier in 1780. This wasn't the massive chainsaw that Leatherface carries around. It was a hand tool kind of like a knife with teeth that were powered by a crank. The chainsaw was later used for other medical procedures to cut through bones. Then, someone thought that it would be a good idea to see if it could cut through things that aren't a part of the human anatomy. That's when it evolved into the wood working tool that we all recognize it as today.

If you're like me, chances are you will never look at a chainsaw the same way again. I never would have guess that it's origins were anything like that. I always assumed it was a wood working tool...aside from in the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" movies. It turns out, the beginning uses of the chainsaw was closer to those movies.

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