1813 Was A Big Year For Saws

The invention of the circular saw is a bit murky. Attributes have been assigned to various enterprising yet nameless Brits and possibly to an unknown 15th century Dutchman. You can see why we say it’s murky. It’s full of murk. It’s all nameless and unknown.


What is known is this:  Tabitha Babbit, a Shaker spinster, is generally credited with the design of the first large circular saw used in a sawmill. The year was 1813. She wanted to make things easier for the male sawyers in her Massachusetts community by eradicating the wasted motion of the two-man whipsaw method. She had the mind of a mechanical engineer.

She could have opened a repair joint: Tabitha’s A-1 Tool Repair

Other spinsters became jealous of Tabitha. They tried to shun her. But she wouldn’t be shunned. If she was ingenious enough to improve the ancient practice of sawing, she could certainly outwit some Shaker spinsters, or for that matter, any spinsters that might come her way.

As an added bonus to this murky story, here are some of the images that pop up on a Google image search for Ms. Babbit.

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