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US Patent: 3,183X
Circular saw for making clap boards
Josiah Jaquith - Brunswick, MA
Robert Eastman - Brunswick, MA

USPTO Classifications:
83/409, 83/875

Tool Categories:
woodworking machines : specialty machines : clapboard machines
woodworking machines : circular saws


Not known to have been produced


Patent Dates:
Granted: Mar. 16, 1820

Patent Pictures: [ 1 | 2 ]
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1824 article on this machine from UK journal
Patented renewed by Act of Congress 1835-03-03, effective 1834-03-15.

Brunswick, MA later became Brunswick, ME. Eastman purportedly invented the inserted circular sawtooth, which is apparently covered by this patent. Pre-1836 patents often covered multiple ideas in one, and insertible saw teeth and a sawmill could be covered by the same patent. See also William Kendall's 1826 patent, X4,314.

From Nancy Goyne Evans' "Windsor Chair Making in America": "The circular saw was used in America about this time (1821) for cutting 'small stuff', such as staves, shingles, clapboards, and sash stock. By 1822 Robert Eastman of Brunswick, Maine, was successfully operating a 'rotary sawing machine" sufficiently rugged and powerful to cut house building lumber. The entrepreneur remarked, 'though the circular saw has previously been in operation in this country, and in Europe, for cutting small stuff, it had not... been successfully applied to solids of great depth'. Eastman implies that the circular saw could have been in use at the start of the century, and certainly by the close of the war of 1812."

According to a research paper from Old Sturbridge Village, "(Another early clapboard machine) close resembled the successful design which Robert Eastman and Josiah Jaquith of Brunswick, Maine, invented and patented as early as the year 1820. After seeing Eastman and Jaquith's 'Clapboard Machine' in operation in 1823, a gentleman from South Carolina visiting in Brunswick wrote that 'the machinery, though simple, is so constructed that it will cut two clapboards in a minute, regulate itself without any manual labor, and cut from a block, two feet in diameter, one hundred and twenty clapboards. These are found much superior to rifted clapboards.'" The machine sold for about $40. That same research paper references an article on Eastman's "Improved Saw machine with section teeth...", in The American Journal of Science and Arts V (1822), 146. The article, written by Eastman himself, says, "In my first attempts to employ the circular saw for the purpose of manufacturing clap boards, I used one nearly filled with teeth, for cutting five or six inches in depth into fine logs. The operation required a degree of power almost impossible to be obtained with the use of a band; the heat caused the plate to expand, and the saw to warp, or as it is termed, to get out of true. To obviate these difficulties I had recourse to the use of section teeth, and the improvement completely succeeded. The power required to perform a given quantity of work by the other method was, by this, diminished at least three quarters. The work, formerly performed by 70 or 80 teeth, was by the last method performed by 8 teeth; the saw dust, which before had been reduced to the fineness of meal, was coarser, but the surface of the lumber was smoother, than when cut with a full teethed saw."

According to M. Stephen Miller's book, "Inspired Innovations: A Celebration of Shaker Ingenuity", "Advertisements for Robert Eastman's 'Rotary Sawing Machine' began appearing in New England newspaper in 1821, and a full description and an illustration of it were published in the American Journal of Science in 1822.

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