General References

The Formula Manual, Available in the AT Library. INDEX CODE MF 02-31, by Norman Stark, 1975, 1980; out of print in 1986.

This volume is filled with 558 formulas for household products, many of which are relevant to the Third World. All have been chosen to be made in the home, with simple tools. Thus some of these might be appropriate for production in small-scale industry efforts in the Third World. Equipment needed is very simple: double boilers (one pot sitting on top of a second pot filled with water), wooden spoons, mixing bowls, measuring cups, thermometers.

The author claims that some of the formulas have been “modified from large scale manufacturing quantities to small batches that are suitable for the do-it-yourselfer,” and that “all are tested under actual use conditions.”

There is a listing of the usual sources of supply for the chemicals used (mostly drugstores, hardware stores and grocery stores in the U.S., though sometimes chemical supply houses). All these chemicals are defined in an appendix.

Some examples: waterproofing mixture for concrete, waterproofing mixture for canvas (using soybean oil and turpentine), mixtures to protect wood from fire and termites, biodegradable laundry detergent, mixture for fireproofing cloth, chimney soot remover, safe cockroach poison, airtight seal for canning, bay leaves used in stored flour and cereals to repel insects, liquid glue, mixtures for the repair of holes in galvanized roofing sheets, automobile radiator leak sealer, and tire leak sealer.

Knots for Mountaineering, Camping, Climbing, Utility, Rescue, Etc., Available in the AT Library. INDEX CODE MF 02-43, booklet, 27 pages, by Phil D. Smith, 1975, out of print in 1985.

Fifty-six useful knots are illustrated and briefly described in an informative “how to do it” pamphlet. Includes many variations on the common loops, splices, and hitches which should allow those with some prior experience in utility rope work to apply the most appropriate knot to the job at hand.

Appropriate Technology Institutions: A Review, Occasional Papers 7, Available in the AT Library. INDEX CODE MF 02-69, book, 74 pages, by Richard Whitcombe and Marilyn Carr, 1982.

“The broad purpose of this study is … to review, classify and analyze the experience gained in the establishment and operation of AT institutions, to identify their purposes and objectives, strengths and weaknesses, achievements, and problems.” The discussion is based upon ITDG’s familiarity with some 60 appropriate technology institutions. Unlike the other booklets in this series on institutions, this one does not primarily list and describe particular institutions. Instead, the authors have attempted to make some conclusions about A.T. institutions as a group.

“Examples of projects which have taken technologies beyond the pilot stage into widespread production and use are very thin on the ground.”

“Non-governmental organizations that concentrate on a few technical subject areas in which their staff have specific expertise have often worked successfully on rural technology programmed both in establishing small rural industries and in improving living standards in rural communities. Without institutional affiliation they have had to develop a methodology for utilizing the research and development facilities and extension services of others, and some have become skillful at this, thus allowing concentration of their own resources on neglected aspects of the implementation process.”

A Guide to Appropriate Technology Institutions, Available in the AT Library. INDEX CODE MF 02-72, book, 124 pages, by Angela Sinclair, l985.

Here are interesting 2-5 page summaries of the historical evolution and activities of each of some 40 A.T. institutions around the world. This will allow the reader to quickly get a basic understanding of the major players in this field. ITDG has also published in-depth reports on several of these organizations, issued as separate books, and a directory which simply lists addresses of a much larger number of groups (see review of A.T. Institutions: A Directory).

Appropriate Technology Institutions: A Directory, Available in the AT Library. INDEX CODE MF 02-68, booklet, 36 pages, ITDG, 1987.

In the interest of creating a low-cost, up-to-date listing of active appropriate technology institutions, ITDG has published this directory of some 180 groups worldwide (addresses only). ITDG intends to regularly update this list.

Appropriate Technology Directory, Available in the AT Library. INDEX CODE MF 02-21, book, 361 pages, by Nicolas Jequier and Gerard Blanc of the Development Center of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 1979, $22.50 in English or French, from OECD Publications Office, 2 rue Andre Pascal, 75775 Paris Cedex 16, France; or OECD Information and Publications Center, Suite 1207, 1750 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington D.C. 20006, USA.

“The idea for such a ‘Who’s doing What’ in the field of appropriate technology grew out of hundreds of requests for information addressed to the OECD Development Center …. In trying to provide these answers, we soon discovered that the number of organizations involved in developing and diffusing ‘appropriate,’ ‘intermediate,’ or ‘soft’ technologies was considerably larger than anyone had suspected…. What we have attempted to do here is to present in a standardized way … all the basic information about organizations involved in the promotion of appropriate technology, both in the industrialized and developing countries.”

280 groups and organizations are listed alphabetically by country. Text on each organization includes information about origin, funding, main objectives, examples of technologies worked with, and future plans. Data on scale of activities, budget, and staffing are also given when available.

Tinker, Tailor, Technical Change: Technologies from the People, Available in the AT Library. INDEX CODE MF 02-84, book, 288 pages, edited by M.S. Gamser, H. Appleton, and N. Carter, 1990, £10.95 from ITDG.

This volume offers a grab bag of case studies of localized technologies and technical knowledge that are not widely understood within “professional” circles. The most unusual of these include a Kenyan coffee pulper, artificial reefs in India, and a pipe-frame multipurpose tool bar in India (perhaps the only successful animal-drawn multipurpose tool bar anywhere). Other topics include improved stoves, Nepalese watermills, and Nigerian cassava graters, all of which are given more in-depth coverage in other books. Little technical information is provided on any of these technologies; the focus is on the evolution and local response to the technologies.

The history and evolution of the Indian multipurpose toolbar is particularly noteworthy, as the toolbar has been successful in Gujarat, but similar devices have been unsuccessful virtually everywhere else. By 1989, 236 different fabricators in Gujarat were making variations of the toolbar, each producing 30 to 1000 units per year. “Field tests indicate that, compared to its traditional substitutes, the tool bar is lighter, requires less draft, and is more efficient and superior in terms of seed-rate, plant spacing, and quality of work. Not all farmers and artisans, however, are convinced about the higher efficiency of the tool bar, though most of them agree that it requires less effort. The major factor contributing to the popularity of the tool bar is its cost advantage. All respondents interviewed by us agreed that it is less costly both in terms of the initial investment, and repair and maintenance costs.

The equipment is multipurpose, and, if adopted fully, can replace 10 traditional and three improved implements. The cost advantages become even more significant when the farmer is eligible for subsidy …. While the subsidy adds to the advantage of the tool bar over traditional implements, it is almost impossible to isolate the impact of the government subsidy on the diffusion/adaptation process. However, it is certain that the subsidy scheme has contributed to” the toolbar’s popularity.

“The story of the tool bar brings into sharper focus the issue of centralized and decentralized innovation-diffusion systems. The centralized (classical) diffusion model has dominated the thinking of scholars and policy makers. Classical diffusion theory fails to capture the complexity of relatively decentralized diffusion systems in which innovations originate from numerous sources and evolve as they diffuse.”

Appropriate Engineering Technology for Developing Countries, book, 259 pages, by A.J. Francis and D.S. Mansell, 1988, available from Research Publications Pty. Ltd., 12 Terra Cotta Drive, Blackburn, Victoria, Australia 3130.

This book is intended to provide a broad overview of the conditions, options, and likely priorities for technologists working in developing countries. The early chapters are devoted to a discussion of the circumstances and basic economics that underlie the need for appropriate technologies. Next are chapters on food and agriculture, small-scale manufacturing, energy, public health, building and construction, and transport and communications, all sprinkled with interesting examples from Asia.

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