The first chainsaw was a big, awkward, dangerous machine that two people had to operate together. Husqvarna, a Swedish company, began manufacturing chainsaws in 1959. Since then, the company has led the way in improving chainsaws, making them lighter, safer and easier to handle.
Husqvarna is a Stockholm-based manufacturer of outdoor power tools used to cut and maintain lawns, gardens, forests and parks. The company’s product lines include lawnmowers, leaf blowers, trimmers, garden tractors, chainsaws and their accessories, tools for cutting concrete and stone, and protective clothing. Husqvarna sells its products worldwide.
According to Husqvarna, the first chainsaw, a large, water-cooled machine that had to be run by two people, was introduced in the early part of the 20th century. Bulky and dangerous though they were, chainsaws quickly became indispensable tools for foresters and park maintenance workers, who used them to fell trees. At that early point, the workers had to chop the limbs off the trees with axes, since chainsaws were too cumbersome to be used for that work.
Husqvarna Enters the Chainsaw Market
Husqvarna brought out its first chainsaw in 1959. A few years later, in 1962, it introduced the Model 70, which was tough enough to take down trees, yet light enough to use to cut limbs off. In 1968, the company took its products worldwide, opening markets in many foreign countries.
The engineers at Husqvarna devoted their attention to solving problems that seemed inherent to chainsaw use. People who operated chainsaws for lengthy periods suffered from hand and arm ailments caused by the constant vibrations, so in 1969, Husqvarna brought out the Model 180, the first chainsaw with an anti-vibration device. During the 1970s, the company continued to introduce new chainsaws, including models that were lighter and easier to use.
In 1973, chainsaw safety took a big leap forward when the Husqvarna Model 140 hit the market. This was the first chainsaw with an automatic chain break, a device that stops the motor if the user accidentally bumps something with the rounded end, or if s/he cuts into wood that closes up tightly around the saw. In such situations, the saw blade lurches back toward the operator, in a movement called a “kickback.” Kickbacks caused many (and very serious) injuries, so the chain break represented a major improvement.
Designing for the Customer
In the late 1970s, Husqvarna introduced several chainsaws specifically designed for professional users, as well as the Model 50 (now the 55), for occasional users, farmers, and ranchers. Continuing the tradition of innovation, the company brought out a chainsaw in 1980 that was made with composite materials instead of metal, which resulted in a much lighter saw. Finally, in 2000, Husqvarna began selling the Model 375 XP, billed as the most powerful chainsaw ever built.