Small machines

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Small Machines is a term coined by Mahatma Gandhi to denote machines and technology built for small scale use that can be built run and maintained by anyone without too much specialist training. Thus things like the spinning wheel, the lathe, the loom, the solar water heater, the methane digester, solar cooker, could all be counted as Small Machines.

They are empowering by using design, physics and scientific understanding to make difficult tasks simpler and more efficient. A tin opener could be termed a small machine. Small Machines are often used in sustainable and self-sufficient enterprises because they make economical sense and can be repaired and maintained without sending for expensive replacement parts and/or specialist repairers, or requiring shipping back to the manufacturer.

Thus ideas like clockwork, magnetic energy, different working theories from physics and natural systems can work together fulfilling complex functions.

Many small machines are used with great success in remote areas and developing countries. For example the solar cooker which is providing a low cost alternative to the destruction of local forests for fuel wood and the need for inhabitants to search further and further away for fuel.

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