Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Transformer: the Charkha

Spinnity's Book Charkha
Spinnity showed me a marvelous thing called a Charkha.

The charkha embodies the utility of industrial engineering design as a linchpin to global and local economics and social change.

During the turn of the century, India, which was under British colonial rule, produced cotton and exported it to Britian, who produced fabric and clothing and sold it back to India at a cost higher than India could afford. Gandhi saw that India could become more self-sufficient if they produced fabric from their own cotton.

Charkha: setting the spindle
In order to do so, spinning cotton fiber was essential. The charkha is a compact spinning device that rose in prominance when Gandhi promoted its use amongst the populace: anyone and everyone could spin fiber.

The charkha is a design marvel. It is compact, lightweight and very portable. Components are made of readily available, easily malleable and replaceable material. The drive-to-output ratio is extremely high, about 1:100; there is an efficient use of energy input to output.
Charkha: spinning
Charka: winding on

Charkha: poonis and setting the reel
Charkha: reel in motion

Spinnity's Book Charkha

The charkha contains a world in itself.

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