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Northrop, E. B.; Chittenden, H. A., Jr. (ed.) / The Wisconsin lumberman, devoted to the lumbering interests of the northwest
(July, 1874)

The inventor of the circular saw,   p. 397 PDF (391.7 KB)


Page 397


The Wisensin Lumberman.
thickness of the connection - rod,
which transmits thrust, is made of
wood, the tension being transmitted
,by means of a wrought-iron strap.
THE INVENTOR OF THE CIRCULAR SAW.
Corrspvadence of the Chicago Post and Mail.
Not long since an article appeared
in your paper, giving credit for the
invention of circular saws to some
man in Vermont, and the writer sug-
gests the idea of erecting a monu-
ment to his memory, and in response
to the same I have taken the liberty
to send you the following:
In a lonely, secluded position in
-the northwest corner of the cemetery
near the ever beautiful little village
of Richmond, Kalamazoo county,
Michigan, the historian can find, on
a pure white marble slab, nearly con-
cealed from view by a large cluster
of lilac bushes, engraved the simple
name of " Benjamin Cummins, born
A. D. 1772, died A. D. 1848." And
who was Benjamin Cummins? He
was the inventor of circular saws now
in use in this country and in Europe.
Nearly sixty years ago, at Burton-
ville, N. Y., near Amsterlam, this
man hammered out, at his own black-
.smith's anvil, the first circular saw
known to mankind. He was a noted
pioneer in Michigan, a first cousin
to one of the presidents of the United
States, a slave owner in New York
state, a leading mason in the days of
Morgan, and at whose table the very
elite of the then great state of New
York feasted and drank freely of his
choice liquors and wines. A vessel
owner on the North river before the
-days of steamboats, a captain in the
war of 1812, where, after having
three horses shot from under him,
with one stroke of his sword he
brought his superior officer to the
ground for an insult, and beeause he
was a traitor and a coward, and after
having been court-martialed, instead
,of having been shot he was appointed
a oolonel in his place. And in this
lowly grave are the ashes of the man
who, nearly seventy years ago, at Al-
bany, New York, took up and moved
bodily a large block of brick build-
ings, and to the then wonder and as-
tonishment of the world, constructed
a mile and a half of the Erie canal
through a bed of rock, and who also
built, per contract, those first low
bridges over the same.  He also
aided in the construction of the first
ten miles of railroad built in the
United States, and founded both the
villages of Esperence and Burton-
ville, on the old Schoharie, near Am-
sterdam. Now, therefore, if any one
should feel inclined to erect a monu-
ment to the inventor of the circular
saw they will know exactly where to
erect it, and it would not be in Ver-
mont either. The study and aim of
this man's life appeared to be to ac-
complish that which no others could
accomplish-and when the object
sought was secured, or overcome, he
passed it as quietly by as he would
the pebbles on the sea shore. He
was twice married, and the father
of twenty-two children ; the last wife
is still surviving him, and his pos-
terity are scattered over the entire
northwest, he having emigrated to
Michigan in 1831, when the state
was a wilderness; therefore his life
was not a failure.
Pine lumber is now not over plen-
tiful in Western New Brunswick, but
in the east and on the North Shore it
exists in unlimited quantity. Our
informant, who said that fifty million
feet of pine lumber could be got out
annually from the small harbors of
the north, writes us to say that he
might as well have said one hundred
million or one hundred and fifty
million feet, for the supply of lum-
ber available is practically inexhaus-
tible. Yet the want of the Baie Verte
canal prevents the resources of this
vast and productive region from be-
ing made available and Canada is
the loser.-St. John Telegraph.
397
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