Worm Drivesaw

Worm drivesaws were inspired by the inventions of Edmond Michel of New Orleans. In 1921, Michel’s invented the very first handsaw by taking a machete and attaching it to a malted-milk mixer motor. From there, he installed a shaft, a worm, a worm wheel blade, a 2” circular blade, and a toggle switch. In doing so, the first electric handsaw found its way into the world.

He continued to work on modifications and around 1923, Michel’s had created a portable electric handsaw that was very similar to the worm drive used today. Michel went on to create the Michel Electric Hand Saw and incorporate a company of the same name in 1924. Six of these saws were made and they were sold for about $1,000.

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Of the six, only one of the saws is known to have survived into the 21st century. Michel’s continued to make saws until he came up with the Skilsaw (Model E), the original worm drive, was manufactured until 1939. The saw was popular and future worm drivesaws were inspired by the design.

An interesting fact about the worm drivesaw is that it cost about the same in the mid-1900s as it does in 2010. In the 1920s, the cost was around $105. Today, it costs about $130. Of course, with inflation these numbers don’t actually mean the same thing at all. In 1941, a single dollar was worth the equivalent of 15 dollars in 2010.

At this rate, the actual cost of the saw was the equivalent of 1,575 dollars today. That’s a massive difference in cost and value. Of course, the manufacturing capabilities in the mid-1900s were not anything like what we have today.

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Plus, the ability to get the materials needed to build the saws was very expensive. World War II was occurring during this time and it made the cost of producing any non-essential item or non-war item very expensive.

However, the invention was not only popular but very useful. Today, the worm drive saw is produced by a variety of companies and call a variety of the names. They also come with different blade sizes, handles, and features to help make the cutting and shaping of wood easier.

This popular carpenter’s tool has found its way into the home of carpenter enthusiast, novice home remodelers, school wood shops, and any other place where wood needs to be cut to create something.

The circular blade as well as the speed of the saw makes cutting wood easier and fun. Wear goggles, make sure your circular saw (worm drive saw) is working properly, and be careful. All power tools should be treated with respect and cared for properly to protect against accidents and injuries.

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