Who Invented the Circular Saw – the History of Skilsaw

Skilsaw Circular Saw History: 5 Minutes in Tool History

The term “circular saw” technically refers to any saw with a circular blade. However, we generally mean a tool like those found in our best circular saw reviews. How much do you know about the circular saw – like who invented it and the origin of the Skilsaw name and brand? We give you a “5 minute” overview of the history of the circular saw.

A Brief History of Who Invented the Circular Saw

  • Invented by Edmond Michel in 1923
  • Joseph W. Sullivan joins Michel to make improvements on the electric handsaw and start “The Michel Electric Handsaw Company” in 1924
  • Originally called the “Skilsaw”
  • 1926 – Michel leaves the company which is renamed “SKILSAW Incorporated”
  • 1928 – Art Emmons invents the first sidewinder circular saw for Porter-Cable
  • 1937 – Model 77 circular saw is born
  • 1985 – Patent granted to Panasonic Electric Works for a battery-powered circular saw
  • 2009 – US Patent Office grants Milwaukee Electric Tool Company a patent for lithium-based battery packs

A 5-Minute History of Who Invented the Circular Saw

Edmond Michel developed the first electric handsaw in 1923. Teaming up with farmland developer, Joseph W. Sullivan, they made improvements and started The Michel Electric Handsaw Company.

It’s here that the handheld circular saw as we know it was first dubbed the “Skilsaw”. The name is so synonymous with handheld circular saws that many people still refer to any brand’s model as a Skilsaw.

Looking to pursue other inventions, Michel left his company in 1926 which was renamed SKILSAW Incorporated.

Patenting the Worm Drive Circular Saw

The patents on this original design were for a worm drive style circular saw. In 1928, Art Emmons invented the first sidewinder style circular saw on behalf of Porter-Cable to get around those patents. East coast and West coast construction would never agree on a circular saw style again.

Also in 1928, Skilsaw produces their Model E as diecast aluminum begins to make its way into power tools to make them lighter and stronger.

original 1928 skilsaw circular saw history

The Skilsaw Model 77

By 1937, the first Skilsaw Model 77 was born – a classic design that built the foundation of today’s Skilsaw Model 77 circular saw.

Skilsaw Model 77 1937

In 1985, Panasonic Electric Works is granted a patent for a battery-powered circular saw thanks to the efforts of Hiroyuki Ando, Toshio Tanabe, and Shinji Ihara.

Ushering in the modern age of cordless circular saws, the US Patent Office granted Milwaukee Electric Tool Company a patent in 2009. The patent approved their application for lithium-based battery packs. It changed the course of cordless tool history. Milwaukee followed up with additional patents for high current draw applications (2011).

Now, nearly every major tool brand has both corded and cordless “Skilsaws” and lithium-ion battery technology is allowing cordless models to outperform corded.

That’s your 5-minute history on who invented the circular saw, thanks for reading!

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