Chainsaws: A History (Hardcover)

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Winner of the 2007 Award for Best Non-Fiction Book from Arts Hamilton

Winner of US Magazine Independent Publisher's IPPY Award for Best Western Canadian Regional Title


"It rips, and cuts, it makes a horrible racket--a chainsaw is a frightening thing. I write not to glorify its terrible power but to acknowledge its place in the most sweeping revolution that technology has wrought in the 20th century--the revolution of individual empowerment."

So begins author David Lee in this first-ever book on the worldwide history of the chainsaw, an invention that transformed the forest industry and eventually became the indispensable companion of every red-blooded country dweller. Chainsaws, it turns out, have a curious history and since the 19th century they have taken on many forms. From 600-pound steam-powered behemoths to gas chainsaws mounted on wheeled carriages to diesel chainsaws and electric chainsaws with portable generators, this book musters a curious collection of contraptions and inventors the like of which we haven't seen since Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. Carefully tracing the evolutionary threads of countless short-lived pioneer devices, author Lee, working together with a worldwide network of chainsaw buffs, traces the roaring, woodchip-and-oil-sprayed progress of what is now a lightweight modern machine that holds a place of honour in the world's woodsheds.

Chainsaws is a handsome gift book full of wonderful old and new photos along with priceless chainsaw ephemera that will warm the heart of anyone who's ever held a power tool. From Andreas Stihl's Black Forest experiments to Vancouver's booming WWII chainsaw industry, to the postwar race to develop one-man saws, the rise and fall of Canada's proud Pioneer brand, and the late entry into the field of the centuries-old arms manufacturer Husqvarna,it examines why the chainsaw is no good for massacres (in Texas or elsewhere), and why it is unlikely to replaced by any new high-tech inventions such as lasers.

About the Author


David Lee has been fascinated and frustrated by chainsaws since the early nineties when he moved to the Sunshine Coast and had to heat his house as cheaply as possible. He is author of Four-Wheeling
on Southern Vancouver Island
and now lives in Hamilton, Ontario, where he no longer heats with wood, but still misses the thrill of a saw in his hands.


Product Details
ISBN: 9781550173802
ISBN-10: 1550173804
Publisher: Harbour
Publication Date: December 2006
Pages: 216
Language: English