Hail to the king, baby! Ashley “Ash” Williams, played by Bruce Campbell, has been battling ‘Deadites’ through three movies, a TV Series, and several video games for nearly 40 years. Ash’s weapon’s of choice are his 12-gauge Remington double-barreled “Boomstick” (Shop smart, shop S-Mart) and his iconic chainsaw hand.
The chainsaw makes it’s first appearance in the original 1981 Evil Dead movie. In this movie the chainsaw used is a Homelite XL-12. The XL-12 was introduced in 1963 and is credited with being the first “lightweight” chainsaw. The “12” in the model number indicates that the saw weighed 12 pounds. The Ash Williams character uses this chainsaw to great effect, and makes it through the movie with both of his hands in-tact.
By the second movie, Evil Dead II (1987), the props master switched the chainsaw that Ash uses to a Homelite XL, a newer and lighter (at 8 pounds) model. After some heavy modification, this Homelite XL would literally become a part of Ash for the rest of the series. (Direct arm attachments for the Homelite XL were not factory issue.)
The Home Electric Lighting Company was founded by Charles Ferguson in Port Charles, NY in 1921. The name was later shortened to Homelite. The company initially manufactured small, gasoline-powered electric generators. After World War II, Homelite began manufacturing other small engine products, and introduced their first chainsaw in 1946. Fittingly, considering the company’s original name, the first Homelite chainsaw was an electric model.
The Lumber Museum has a Homelite Model 26LCS chainsaw in our collection (LM2015.10.1). This model, introduced in 1951, was the second gasoline-powered chainsaw Homelite made; the first being the model 20MC introduced the year before. The museum’s 26LCS has a history of use in the Southern Tier of NY and the Northern Tier of PA. The saw switched hands between five different owners and was generally used for clearing and firewood preparation. Seeing as this saw weighs approximately 27 pounds, it’s likely a good thing that Ash didn’t have to use a Model 26LCS for a hand.