If I were to say that chainsaws were originally made to deliver babies, what would you say? You would probably think I’m off my face on some hallucinogenic party drug or something. How could a device that’s widely used in the timber industry, and I can’t forget B grade horror movies, ever be associated with the birth of a child? Well chainsaws were made to deliver babies, along with dreaded, but necessary amputations. Furthermore, they’re a lot older than you might think.
Way back around 1783-1785, a couple of Scottish doctors were working on a new device to make the procedure of dissecting limbs, amputations and symphysiotomy easier and quicker. You probably already know what we mean when we talk about amputations and dissecting limbs. But what is a symphysiotomy? Well, a symphysiotomy is a surgical procedure that removes cartilage from the pubis to widen the birth canal. Yeah, it’s probably as painful as it sounds. To carry out this operation, along with the dissections and amputations with crude hand operated tools would have made the entire process messy and agonizingly painful. The new device was designed to speed the entire process up, and the device to dissect and deliver babies was the chainsaw.