PETALING JAYA: While horror movie fans can relate to a madman terrorising victims with a chainsaw, the general public understands that this machine is used for tasks like felling trees or pruning bushes.
But is it true that cutting down trees was the chainsaw's original purpose?
While the chainsaw is associated with loggers, it was not first used by the timber industry.
Instead, a precursor to the device that we now know as a chainsaw was conceived in 1780 by Scottish doctors John Aitken and James Jeffray.
Its purpose – to assist childbirth and employed in a gruesome manner.
It was used cut through the pelvis of a mother who was having trouble during childbirth.
The chainsaw was designed to tear through the mother's flesh, cartilage and bone if the baby was stuck in the birth canal.
And if that was not painful enough, the now-outdated procedure called a symphysiotomy was done without anaesthesia – both the mother (and the doctor) had to be conscious throughout the process.
In later years, the chainsaw was also used to remove diseased joints of patients.
Fortunately, with the advancement of medicine and healthcare, childbirth has become more comfortable, safer and hygienic.
The chainsaw was later mechanised and its use adopted by woodcutters in the early 20th century.
In 1918, the world was introduced to the first portable gasoline-powered chainsaw, invented by Canadian James Shand. Today, we have chainsaws in various sizes and shapes powered by electricity or gasoline.
And if you think that Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie was crazy, this piece of history is even crazier!