History of Holland > Famous Dutch people > Cornelis Corneliszoon

Cornelis Corneliszoon

Cornelis CorneliszoonCornelis Corneliszoon was born in 1550 in the city of Uitgeest and invented the sawmill. He used a crankshaft to convert the turning motion of the windmill in a up- and downwards going motion, allowing to saw wood with great precision and speed.

Before the invention of the wood sawing windmill, a sawteam consisting of two man dragging a saw up and down, would cut trees. It took about six hours to cut a tree in half. The sawmill speeded this process up, the time to cut a tree in half was now about thirty minutes.

Because of this invention the Dutch were able to build their ships in great speed using less people, giving the country an advantage against competing countries like England, Portugal and Spain.

Cornelis Corneliszoon died most probably shortly before 1607. His invention turned out to be one of the greatest inventions of its time. Cornelis Corneliszoon is not very known, despite the important role his invention played for Holland in becoming a world power in the 17th century.