We have invented many things and repurposed various objects to make life easier. Of all the things we have ever repurposed or invented, the saw is one of the few that has had the greatest impact in history. The earliest forms of the saw were serrated objects like shark teeth that enabled us to cut objects. The saw has enabled man to level down forests and transform them to land for cultivation and settlement. It has also enabled us to transform various objects to furniture and tools for handling everyday tasks. The saw has come a long way. In the following brief words, let us look at how the saw has advanced from mere serrated objects to purposely-created powerful tools that keep transforming our lives.

Earliest Known Saws (Prehistoric & Mesolithic Periods)

The earliest known saws were prehistoric flint saws, Mesolithic flint saws, mounted flint saws, and even shark teeth. It is from such objects that man got inspiration to keep improving the concept into something more powerful and useful. There were also primitive saws discovered in Western Australia that were created using stone, which had glass flakes mounted on, using gum.

Egyptian and Roman Saws

It is believed that without the saw, we couldn't have invented the wheel. The saw played a crucial role in the creation of the wheel because it would have been near impossible to shape the materials that were required to make the wheel in its initial stages. Egyptian saws were made of bronze, copper, and at times iron (rarely). The ones that were discovered date way back to 4900 and 4700 B.C. The Prehistoric and Mesolithic saws had small teeth because man wasn't that advanced then. However, the Egyptian saws had larger teeth because by then man was more sophisticated. The increase in the size of the teeth made the saws more useful and applicable in more areas.

By around 1200 B.C, saws had been around for a few centuries and the technologies used to create them had advanced. The Romans revolutionized the saw technology using iron during the Iron Age (1200 B.C - 600 B.C). The Romans learned a thing or two about saws from the Egyptians and they used that knowledge to develop saws that were more effective. This was achieved by shaping the teeth of the saw in certain ways to make them more effective and efficient. Around 450 AD to 1775 A.D, the Romans had introduced various iron saws like the frame-saw and various handsaws like the backsaw and open handsaw. By 1775, the British had come into the picture to influence the advancement of the saw technology. Some Iron Age saws originated from London that date back to between 900 A.D and 1700 A.D. Up to this time, most handsaws were pull-saws, as in, the cutting was done in a pull motion, unlike the push and pull motion we are used to with the modern saws. The shaping of the teeth of the saw is what determined how the saws would be used.

Medieval Times (Sawmills)

The medieval times saw the introduction of sawmills, which were centers where large-scale sawing machines were assembled for cutting large pieces of wood or timber in high quantities. Besides the sawmills, there were other five types of saws that were popular during this period: two-handled saws, pit-saws, frame-saws, machine saws, and open handsaws. If you are wondering how the machine saws worked, they were powered by various sources of energy like wind, water, or treadmills. In the case of wind, they used windmills, and in the case water, watermills. The machine saws were the earliest forms of automated saw technology. Moreover, it was around this period that the British Windcliff push saw was discovered; the earliest instance of the push saw. As time passed and technology advanced, the source of power for these saws changed as well as their designs and functionality.

Into the Present

From around the 1500s, the sawmill technologies advanced significantly. As technology advanced in other areas, it had a ripple effect. As you already know by now, saws play a big role in industries; their technology is one that has advanced exponentially. Handsaws, as we know them today, were beginning to take their form around the 18th century. By the 19ty century, you would recognize them because they look pretty much the same as they do today. Their designs also varied and kept changing depending on the use. Of course, the change in design also meant the introduction of new kinds of handsaws, like the Felloe saw, French Copying Saw, Floorboard saw, Tenon saw or the Swedish shoulder saw.

Later came the invention of the Circular saws, Gang-saw (reciprocal) mills, and band saws around the 18th and 19th Centuries. These three saws are perhaps the most revolutionary inventions and advancement in the saw technology. The discovery of electricity and its manipulation in the 19th Century significantly influenced the technology of saw automation. Ever since many variations of the circular saw alone (over 10 variations) have been introduced. Various other types of saws have been invented within the last two centuries as technology keeps advancing.

As long as there is wood, concrete, plastic or stone, saws will always be of use to us. The saw technology is one that has advanced rapidly and that will keep advancing for a while. The thing is that most saws are more affordable and effective for daily use. Until the day laser technology will be portable and affordable for the average person, saws will keep being of use to us in many ways.