Disaster, destruction and a sudden burst of inspiration is all that took for Mansukhbhai Prajapati to turn a tragedy into a springboard of innovation. Born and brought up in Wankaner village of Gujarat, Mansukhbhai is a potter by profession. When the Bhuj earthquake in 2001 flattened his pottery unit, a newspaper published his photo sitting amidst earthen ruins with a title: “Fridge of the poor in pieces”. They were earthen pots used for storing water everywhere in India, but the word fridge caught Mansukhbhai’s attention.
He embarked on his quest to create a clay refrigerator. Mansukhbhai knew there was a latent demand for his intended product as it would fill the aspirations of rural folks who held back their desire to buy a refrigerator out of two compulsions: The refrigerator available in the market was very expensive and its maintenance was high. And, second, the power supply in rural areas is erratic and hence the investment wouldn’t have yielded desired results for the buyer. It took him four years of trial and error to finally arrive at a mix that was good enough to create the final product.
Soon he developed a technique where using water as a coolant, he created a refrigerator. It was christened “Mitticool”. This refrigerator has two chambers; the upper chamber is filled with water which drips on the sides, evaporates and brings down the temperature of the outer and inner walls.
Within the second chamber of the refrigerator, there are two shelves. The one above is used for keeping vegetables and the lower one for milk. Vegetables can be stored for a week, while milk and milk products can survive for three days. There is also a provision for cold water which can be accessed directly from the water chamber with the help of an in-built tap.
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