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Non-Electric Gadgets

 
Marcella Rose
Posts: 95
Location: Central Texas, it is dry here.
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So...as a newbie to this idea, anyone want to help me come up with a list of non-electric gadgets? I watched a video on the Dervaes Family (Path To Freedom) and they have gadgets, they just do not use electricity. It showed a hand crank blender...but I would like to know what else is out there. Anyone want to help with this list and maybe where to find these things? I do ALOT of cooking and baking and we feed alot of people outside of our family so I do enjoy using gadgets for efficency. I like the idea of using my own strength...no future "Granny arms" for me!

***I did contact the Country Living Grain Mill company and they said that if there were enough requests, they could make a lifetime warranty manual blender or manual version of a Kitchen Aid Mixer (including parts for purchase for fixing and maintenence) if there were enough requests. I LOVE that idea!
 
P Thickens
Posts: 177
Location: Bay Area, California (z8)
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Knives.
Whisks.
Cleavers.
Mallets.
Axes.

Less smart-assed:
Solar ovens.
Wood-fired ovens.
Pit ovens.
 
Thea Olsen
Posts: 95
Location: suburbs of Chicago USDA zone 5b
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I have a hand-crank blender. It works, but not as well as an electric one. It takes quite a bit of time to make a smoothie in it, and it's not nearly as smooth as in an electric blender.
 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 359
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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Now I would be the first to admit to being overly analytical at times, but when you talk about lots of manual labor:
- I often hear that our industrial food supply depends on 9 calories of fossil fuels for each calorie of food
- People eat a lot of industrial food - and more when they do more manual labor!
- So doesn't each calorie spent toward manual labor really trace back to food from a lot of fossil fuels? Is it possible that in these giddy pre-apocalypse times that we might SAVE energy (and food!) by using electric gadgets for any of us not already converted over to 90% non-industrial food)

I opt for manual labor quite a bit -- I rarely can justify needing LESS exercise in my life! But I don't overdo it either -- I won't be out trying to scythe hay from my 40 acres...

Tell me why manual labor doesn't come from industrial farm energy -- this is a rare case I would prefer to be wrong....

 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Coffee hand-grinder. Food moulis. A heavy morter and pestle. The legendary 'Swift-whip' rotary eggbeater. I have no idea if they're just a NZ thing, but any self-respecting housewife used to have one. Beats egg whites, cream, etc really, really fast.
A potato ricer, a sieve and a good spatula are hardly gadgets, but they make life in the kichen a lot smoother
Don't forget the meat and grain grinders. And the pasta machine.
 
John Polk
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How about a French Press coffee maker? No electricity, nor no filters to buy.
Makes great coffee, and they come in many sizes.
 
Mike Dayton
Posts: 149
Location: sw pa zone 5
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A squeezo is a great hand cranked tool. It seporates the skin and seeds from tomatoes and berrys very well. A steam juicer does not need electric, only heat that can be provided by many different means. Hand meat grinders are great as well as apple peelers, and cherry pitters all with a hand crank. I have an old Veg-O Matic that slices french fries and sliced potates and other veggies very well with one push. My son has a hand cranked ice crusher that is great for many different types of drinks. The old fashioned egg beaters mentioned befor work very well. I have a hand cranked nut grinder that we use alot to grind up walnuts for cooking. Turns out there are alot of kitchen tools with a crank, just look around.
 
Fred Morgan
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Once you learn how to use it, it is amazing how much you can cut with a scythe in a day. It leaves the grass in nice rows for collect too - which I appreciate when feeding the sheep.
 
Mike Dayton
Posts: 149
Location: sw pa zone 5
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You are right Fred, the main thing is to learn how to use one with out killing yourself. When I was 17 I worked for a road paving co, the owner thought I might be a bit young to go out on the paving crew so he kept me in the shop for several weeks seeing what I could do. One day he handed me a scythe and told me to go cut all of the brush and weeds that had grown up around the equipment in storage in the fenced in yard. I had no clue how to operate a scythe. I was using my arms and after a very short time they were ready to fall off. My back hurt, my arms hurt, my whole body hurt. Befor noon I had gotten into the only position that my body could stand. I bent at the waist, held my arms steady and moved at the waist. You body does the work, not your arms or your back. It is so much easier and so much more comfortible to work a scythe once you know how to use the tool. No one told me how to do it, my body told me, it got into the only position it could stand and still do any work. I wish the old Gentelman who ran the Co had given me a bit of training when he handed me that scythe.
 
Denise Lehtinen
Posts: 102
Location: Tampa, Florida zone 9A
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http://www.lehmans.com/

Sells lots of nonelectric gadgets. Why not use them as a resource to make your list?
 
marty reed
Posts: 120
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we have a deli slicer that has a hand crank on it the elecrtice ones where way to high i got this one for 5.00 at the flea market talk about a deal i dont now how much money it saves me but alot we buy in bulk and slice it all up and package are meat and it seems to be alot better than the small packages it may just be me tho
 
Tyrr Vangeel
Posts: 23
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I've been looking arround for some time, but I can't find anything I can ship at an affordable price to Belgium.
So, does anyone know a brand of a supplier on main land Europe?
If I know a brand, I might be able to find a supplier in Belgium or get it at home with travellers who can pick it up.
I will try this myself for the UK next summer, but USA is harder to get.

Looking for a blender, sweet chestnut pealer, walnut pealer, ...

The oilpress that is also for sale on Lemans comes from the Netherlands, so that's for half the Lehmans price
But the other tool brands are unknown for me in Europe.
 
marty reed
Posts: 120
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Apple pealer hand crank apple cider for apples hand crank smasher all I can think of for know but I'm sure their are much more

 
Rory Rivers
Posts: 14
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Don't forget the cherry pitter. You can ever make your own out of a cheep fork. (though it is less gadget-y that way)
 
R Scott
Posts: 3274
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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http://www.cottagecraftworks.com/non-electric-kitchen-appliances-hand-crank-appliances-c-53_290_291.html

Lots of interesting stuff. Kitchen Aid, Bosch, Vitamix. AIR powered kitchen tools? Wow.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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almost all the original food processing companys did hand cranked versions of their tools.

Le Cuisene for Cuisinart, prob Bosch too..

I have a couple "cone" slicer/ processors , and the big clamp on mixer that just fits over the top of a bowl.
Still havn't gotten a "disc" food processor for seed removal and baby foods yet.

Just got a copy of the old Pepperidge Farms cookbook, with most of the old stuff illustrated.

Look up an old Sears or Montgomery Ward catalog.
 
Steve Furlong
Posts: 40
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A simple knife can be a hugely versatile tool if it's well-made and maintained.
 
wayne stephen
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Mandolin slicer. You can slice paper thin or julienne. Two small cleavers , one in each hand , and a butcher block and you can mince a pile of herbs into pesto in minutes . If you can keep a beat you can chop a good drum solo too. I made a cup of mayo two nights ago with a bowl and a wisp - takes about ten minutes.
A food sieve will puree most fruits and vegies , you can stir in purees instead of blending for smoothies/soups. I have made little chicken sausages by using two cleavers to mince the meat . add seasoning , stuff into the skin off the legs and tie ends , grill. I worked as chef in 70's and 80's and we were able to produce all textures and shapes of foods with an assortment of knives and non-motorized , non-cranked gadgets.
 
Jason Taylor
Posts: 8
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I own a 107 year old printing press that is treadle powered, which is put to use for making labels, tags, and handouts. I also have a roughly 70 year old paper cutter.


If you look long and hard enough, you could build an entire wood shop out of people powered tools that are like their modern electric equivalents. Lathes, table saws, drill presses, etc.. I have a hand brace, which works nearly as well as a modern electric drill, unless you are drilling large quantities of holes.

I also own a reel mower and a grass whip for lawn care.

Not as easy to use as a modern computer, but how about putting typewriters on this list?

 
Vera Stewart
Posts: 193
Location: 7b at 1050 feet, precipitation average 13 inches, irrigated, Okanagan Valley
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Old post resurrection to ask - does anyone here have experience using a manual typewriter on a fairly regular basis?
My laptop has gone to the great recycling depot in the sky, and while I can use the library or the "household" behemoth desktop for internet access, I would also like a way to continue work on writing the next great Canadian novel

I am thinking of buying a typewriter locally, since it will save me money and should last approximately a bajillion times longer then another "cheap" computer. But I've never used one, ever!

 
Su Ba
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Gosh, I used a manual typewriter for decades before finally switching to a computer because of the word processing feature. I no longer have a typewriter but I wish I did. I'd snarf one up in a second if I saw one at a yard sale or thrift store. The main problem would be ribbons. I don't know if old ribbons are still available.

Manual typewriters take a bit of pressure to depress the keys. It just takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it. And your hands may get tired at first. But I used to be a whiz on those keys.

Maintenance:
Keep the mechanism free of dust and properly lubricated. It makes it much easier to use that way.
Clean the ink build up off the key heads from time to time. Otherwise the o's, a's, and e's come out solid.
Re-ink or replace the ribbon when the print becomes too faded.
Don't drop it onto the floor. I did that once and broke the carriage return.
 
Vera Stewart
Posts: 193
Location: 7b at 1050 feet, precipitation average 13 inches, irrigated, Okanagan Valley
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I think I'll be able to get ribbons, if I match up whatever typewriter I get with ribbons that are still availible. Apparently there is still a (non-"antique"-collecting) market for typewriters and ribbon in such places as prisons and certain government offices in North America, and of course in other parts of the world without wide-spread reliable electrification, like India.
So, I sent a message to someone advertising a 1960's typewriter for sale relatively locally, asking about the ribbon size so I can check ebay, etc., for replacements, and then I might just go and buy it!
I know that my spelling will suffer without spell check, but that's alright with me, as I'll mostly be typing to myself, at least initially.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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One thing to make sure before you get one is that the keyboard layout is the appropriate one for the language you will be writing in.
 
R Ranson
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I picked up an old typewriter at a yardsale, for about the price of a head of cauliflower. It's an ugly orange thing, and wouldn't work. But I love mechanical things and figured why not bring it home, I can go a week without cauliflower.


images from my blog

I gently took it apart and discovered that it was simply the spring had gotten a bit stiff in the back. A bit of light sewing machine oil and it worked loose again.



The only real problem with it, is that it doesn't speak English. The typewriter is from Germany, so the keys take a bit of getting use to, but I can still write with it. I hope one day to trade it in for an older, english speaking, less orange one. There are not many left in town because of Steampunks cannibalize them for decoration, so I make do with orange.
 
Larisa Walk
Posts: 131
Location: South of Winona, Minnesota
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We have an early 1900's Underwood typewriter that still works fine. It's a bit of a workout on the fingers after using a computer keyboard. A bit like the difference between playing an organ and a piano ;>. Ours gets very infrequent use. One tip that I'd like to pass on is that if you don't use it regularly, it helps to wind up the ribbon onto one spool so it doesn't dry out. The ribbon will last for many years if stored that way. Haven't tried re-inking a ribbon yet. Fortunately the Underwood used a very common ribbon. I used to put together a bioregional newsletter the old- school way. I typed it up, went to the local copy shop and did reductions or enlargements on their copier and cut and paste it into the master copy that we would use for printing. Someone once asked me what software I was using!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Corn Sheller from about the 1880s.


Wooden Handle on Corn Sheller.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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On my farm, I produce somewhere around 100 Calories of food for each Calorie of diesel burned up in the tractor.

I produce about 33 Calories of food for each Calorie that is required to keep the farmer alive to plant and harvest.

However, considering the externality of the energy required to produce the steel used in the tractor, and amortizing it over the 60 year lifespan of the tractor, it turns out that my farm would need to be twice as large as it currently is in order to break even and produce more calories than it took to make the steel to make the tractor.

If I consider the truck I use to take food to market, my farm would need to be 3X larger than it currently is to break even on energy. Eventually, the steel in the tractor and truck may be recycled, so it's hard to say how much energy the externalities of the farm are really requiring.

But, it's not just me... The energy embedded into the steel of a shovel is about the same as required to feed a human for a couple years.

The energy embedded in a typical push mower could feed about 18 people per year over the 8 year expected lifetime of the mower.


 
Travis Johnson
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Fred Morgan wrote:Once you learn how to use it, it is amazing how much you can cut with a scythe in a day. It leaves the grass in nice rows for collect too - which I appreciate when feeding the sheep.


Here in New England my Great Grandfather would not hire anyone who could not mow 3 acres per day while his better workers could do 5 acres per day. One day while out mowing with our tractor and mowing machine my Uncle quipped how "we just have to get the AC fixed in this tractor". I laughed and mentioned that our ancestors would kill us for complaining about a little heat...today we knock down 200 acres a day, and that includes hauling it home and putting it in the bunker.

I have two treadle sewing machines that still work. Though my Grandmother had many electric one given to her, she refused to use them and used the treadle machines right up to her death. The treadle principal can be applied to all manner of woodworking equipment like lathes, scrollsaws, tablesaws and the like. If you want tunes while you cook up dinner you can have a wee-one hand crank a phonograph or music box. I have a hand cranked clothes washing machine; again from my late grandmother, and while we do not use it; it is there if need be. When the power has gone out I have employed her hand cranked well pump to get water for our modern home. And on the construction side of things; I have a hand cranked cement mixer, it doubles under electrical power too. Finally we have a hand cranked phone; yes like you see from the 1930's that we had working well up into the 1980's. It only went from our house to my Grandparents to my Uncle, but it still worked/works!!

I am out of ideas at the moment, but my suggestion is to go to a local museum. You would be surprised at the innovation in hand cranked implements. Just before electricity went big the Sears and Roebuck Catalog did too, therefore a company producing hand cranked corn cob shellers in Boston would ship them all over the country. No matter where you live museums are teeming with hand cranked ideas.

Here is the 1901 hand cranked clothes washing machine that we have (our home is modern but we made our kitchen to look like the 1930's).


 
Travis Johnson
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Sorry, I should have cropped out the rechargeable lithioum-ion battery charger slipped into a GFCI outlet...that was hardly around in the 1930's was it!
 
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