In 1594-97, Cornelis Corneliszoon van Uitgeest (c. 1550 - c. 1600), a Dutch windmill owner, invented and perfected the first wind-powered sawmill. That is, before Cornelis two workers had to saw a log manually, using a specially designed pit. It was a long and ardious process.
|Source: Power from Wind: A History of Windmill Technology|
By Richard Leslie Hills.
The new device allowed its operator to produce wooden planks 30 times faster than before.
Why this tech advance turned out to be strategically important for the Dutch nation?
Because wooden planks was the key material for building ships. In combination with ubiquitous windmills, the new technology enabled Dutch shipbuilders dramatically increase production of low-cost naval vessels, both military and commercial. As the result, the Dutch could not only swarm Spanish ships in sea battles, but also transport great amounts of commercial goods from newly discovered places in Africa and Asia, which gave them strong market advantages. The invention of the wind-powered sawmill brought about a 10X change in productivity that rippled through the entire world.
Eventually, the British overtook the Dutch, partly due to James Watt's improvements of the steam engine, which was much more powerful and reliable than the windmills.
tags: invention, innovation, 10X, source, tool, packaged payload,