Timbermen Using Chainsaw, Lacomb

This photograph of two men using a gas-powered chainsaw was published in the April 1944 issue of The Timberman, a Portland-based lumber industry magazine issued between 1886 and 1962. The men were employees of the Snow Peak Logging Company, which was logging the largely Douglas fir forest in the Crabtree Basin near Lacomb in eastern Linn County. The Timberman article reported that the men were using one of four company chainsaws in a salvage-logging operation where there had been a fire in 1931.

Loggers began using chainsaws, instead of cross-cut saws, in Oregon forests in the late 1930s, but their heavy weight and high maintenance requirements prevented widespread use. Product developers soon produced lighter chainsaws, which still required two men for operation. During World War II, more loggers and lumber companies began using chainsaws, partially because of efforts to meet increased war demands for wood.

By the 1950s, chainsaws were light enough for one man to use and were easier to maintain. Chainsaws were one of many technological developments that brought more mechanization and higher timber harvests to Oregon’s forests during and after WWII.

Written by Kathy Tucker, © Oregon Historical Society, 2002.

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