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and Saw-Mills Saws

saw-mill, timber, cut, wood, time and preserved

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SAWS, AND SAW-MILLS. A saw is a cutting instrument, with a serrated edge ; a saw-mill; a machine or building, wherein several or many of these instruments are actuated by horse, wind, steam, water, or other power not derived from human agency. In the earliest ages, the. trunks of trees were split with wedges into as many and as thin pieces es possible ; .and if it was necessary to have them still thinner, they were hewn or shaved by sharp instru ments, until reduced to the required dimensions. This simple yet wasteful method of making boards has been continued in some places up to the present time. Timber is divided by riving more expeditiously than by sawing; and the boards are much stronger, as the grain of the wood is preserved, MUSA of being cut through by the saw, which lessens its cohesion or strength. For this , reason an oak rafter or beam, that has been sawn, is not generally so strong as one of deal, owing to the straightness and uniformity of the fibres of the latter being preserved whole, instead of being cut through, as in the irregular grained oak. The staves of casks are moody made of split timber, as they can be bent without injury, and are not easily broker by percussion.

The invention of saws is of very great antiquity ; the Greeks placed the inventor in their mythology, among those whom they honoured as the greatest benefactors of rnanldnd. The invention, it is said, originated in the enemy stance of a jaw-bone of a snake having been employed as an experiment to cut through a small piece of wood, which succeeded so well that the operator deter mined to make one of iron. By a painting, which is preserved among the ruins of Herculaneum, it is evident that the saws of the Grecian carpenters had the same form, and were made in the like ingenious manner, as ours are at present. Two genii are there represented as at work with a saw, which has a perfect resemblance to our foams sato. In the bench on which the wood is laid there are a number of holes, into which the cramps that hold the timber are struck, which are likewise of a similar form to our own, being like the figure 7.

Saw-railk are likewise of greater antiquity than is generally supposed. So early as the fourth century a saw-mil was erected on the small river Roeur, in Germany; it is probable, however, that this was but a rude contrivance, an we find writers of more modern times speaking of saw-mills as new and uncommon. The old construction of them had, therefore, very likely, been lost, or the im provement was so great as to cause the more modern to be looked upon as new inventions.

It cannot, however, he doubted that saw-mills have been in use more than four hundred years. Upon the discovery of Madeira, in 1420, mills were erected there for sawing into planks the various excellent timber with which the Wand abounded. The city of Beesley had a saw-mill in 1427, which produced a yearly rent of three marks. Erfurt had a saw-mill in 1490. In Norway the first saw-mill was built in 1530. Soon after, the first saw-mill was built in Holstein, another at JoachinstalL In the year 1555 the bishop of Ely, ambassador from Queen Mary to the court of Rome, having seen a saw• mill at Lyons, it was thought worthy of a particular description. It was not, however, until the sixteenth century that saw-mills received the great improvement of having several different saw-blades, by which a piece of timber was cut into many planks at the same time. At Saardam, in Holland, were erected a vast number of saw-mills, and it has still a great many, notwithstanding more than a hundred have been given up of late years. The largest saw-mill that has perhaps ever been constructed is in Sweden, where a water-wheel, 12 feet in breadth, drives no less than 72 saws at the same time.

It was not until the seventeenth century that saw-mills were introduced into England, attended with the most violent opposition from the sawyers, who apprehended they would be the means of depriving them of their subsistence. Some that were undertaken were abandoned at the outset, and others were destroyed by the populace.

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