Has anyone here ever seen the History Channel’s Modern Marvels series? In the 1999-2000 season, they devoted this series to two back-to-back episodes in the Tool Bench subseries. The first of these two is devoted to power tools.
Modern Marvels Tool Bench: Power Tools
(Enjoy before this video is removed in accordance to copyright rules)
When Ron Hazelton is narrating about cordless power tools other than battery power, one clever idea that is seen is the Ryobi EJ101 16cc 2-Cycle Reciprocating Saw. He says appropriately that it “runs off of liquid gasoline, just like a lawn mower.” Here is an owner’s manual for it in PDF format:
OPERATOR'S MANUAL - 2-CYCLE GASOLINE POWERED RECIPROCATING SAW MODEL NO. EJ101
It is funny how hand tools have been made for eons (2 million years to be exact), but that the first electric power tool did not see the light of day until 1895, 16 years after Thomas Edison harnessed electricity to power the incandescent lamp. That first electric power tool was a drill invented by C. & E. Fein of Stuttgart, Germany, and as Hazelton says, “it was powered not only by its DC motor, but (also) by the weight of the user.”
Power tool innovations covered in this series:
1895 = C. & E. Fein of Stuttgart, Germany, invents the world’s first electric power tool, a drill.
1916 = Black & Decker invents the pistol-grip, trigger-switch type drill.
1918 = A. H. Petersen invents the Hole-Shooter while as an employee for Ford Motor Company, under the auspices of (who else?) Henry Ford. The portable drill would then be sold to A. F. Siebert of the Milwaukee Electric Tool Company.
1919 = R. L. Carter invents electric router from a barber’s clippers.
1923 = Herbert Tautz invents the scroll saw
1924 = Edmund Michel invents the Skilsaw (a circular saw with a round blade, inspired by the Shaker woman Tabitha Babbitt’s invention of the table saw with said round blade) as a solution for cutting sugar cane, instead of doing so using a straight machete.
1926 = Art Emmons of Porter-Cable invents the first portable belt sander, then codenamed “Takeabout.”
1927 = Sears sells the Craftsman brand of power tools in its mail-order catalog.
1932 = A. J. Dremel invents the Moto-Tool.
1933 = Sears publishes its first Specialog devoted to its power and hand tools.
1946 = Black & Decker sells its first consumer-oriented line of power tools.
1946 = Albert Kaufmann invents the world’s first portable electric jigsaw (obviously influenced by Herbert Tautz’s scroll saw) out of his wife’s sewing machine.
1961 = Black & Decker produces the world’s first cordless electric drill.