Steam Power Circular Saw


| March/April 1982



Rumely steam engine

Barbara De Vault

#1 Princeton, Wisconsin 54968.

# Picture 1

PART 1

From the time of the first English settlements on our Eastern shores, there was a demand for lumber both here and abroad. England needed lumber, especially timbers for her sailing ships, and she expected the colonists to supply it. To achieve this she set the mark of the 'Board Arrow' on some of the trees to designate them for use by the Royal Navy. As might be expected, the colonists defied the King of England and cut many of the marked trees for their own purposes. They justified their actions on the ancient grounds of making a livelihood.1

When the Revolutionary War terminated shipments from the colonies, the English turned to Canada. Isaac Stephenson described how hewn timbers called tons (twelve inches square and forty feet long) were put aboard ships and sent to England, Ireland and Scotland where they were sawed by hand.2

The production of lumber required saws, consequently they were among the first tools to reach this continent. The saw has been in use for centuries but its origins have been lost to history. The Greeks circulated a story that Talus used 'the jawbone of a snake to cut through a piece of wood, and then formed an instrument of iron like it.' But this was indeed only a story for the saw was used in Egypt before it was in Greece.

The history of the sawmill likewise is obscure. It has been claimed that a mill was in operation in Paris in the 13th century. One was said to have been driven by water power at Augsburg as early as 1322. Sawmills were in use in Norway by 1530 and in Rome by 1555. The attempt to introduce them into England was violently opposed by men who feared for their jobs.3