Inventions and innovations demand research bent of mind and not mere educational qualifications. This has got proven time and time again in cases of legendary Thomas Alva Edison and Albert Einstein, who were treated as below average kids by their school teachers. In the Indian context, up to even today complaints of lackluster research environment prevail. Also, cries of underutilization of Research agency funds surround us. But here is an aberration instance of a genius innovator born in pre-independent India, who was educated up to 5th standard but nurtured and honed skills for inventing appliances of social relevance. He is none other than Mr. Poonamchand Lakhaji Mistry, popularly known as P.L Mistry. He had done 33 inventions of which 22 are patented. An anonymous innovator whom the Nation has almost forgotten is our ‘Unsung Hero’ for this post. Fortunately, our administrators’ have earned respect by awarding this gentleman posthumously with Second National Grassroots Technological Innovation and Traditional Knowledge Awards – in the year 2002. Most importantly all his innovations advocated ENERGY EFFICIENCY. Coincidentally in the year 2017, our researcher’s primary focus area is also power/energy efficiency.
Mr. Poonamchand Lakhaji Mistry was born in a low-income family in the year 1914 in Pali, Rajasthan. His father Shri Lakhaji Suthar of Takhatgarh was a carpenter, and P.L Mistry dropped out of his school while in 5th standard to support his father in carpentry work. The practical exposure he obtained in his father’s skill-laboratory of carpentry work triggered various ideas within this boy. At the age of 17, he developed a locker which could automatically handcuff a person trying a wrong key. Later, many such ideas earned patents. Throughout his career, Mr. Mistry invested all his earnings in new experiments and was rightly supported by his brothers in all the endeavors.
Ideas to Patents Saga of P.L Mistry
Mr. P.L Mistry had invented many products.Name Lists of his inventions are available online in many portals, and this post exclusively explores few significant innovations of this genius in detail. Interestingly the majority of Mistry’s innovations operated without electricity. An aspect which cannot be ignored in today’s energy crunch situations.
Tea/Coffee Maker (Tea Plant)
Salient features of the tea coffee maker are:
- Two exclusive chambers for Tea and Coffee powder
- A thermometer to measure the temperature/hotness of coffee/tea
- Can be operated with gas or electric stove
- The most amazing functionality of this apparatus was it had clock-dial with a needle. Based on timings it could deliver a different concentration of tea/coffee mix:
- At 12 Noon it delivers pure-tea-water (No milk)
- 3 P.M it delivers mixture of 25% milk and 75% tea-water
- 6 P.M it delivers mixture of 50% milk and 50% tea-water
- 9 P.M it delivers mixture of 75% milk and 25% tea-water
- 12 Midnight provides only Milk
Most importantly entire apparatus works without electricity!
Platform Ticket Vending Machine or one anna (rupee) Platform Ticket Machine
British Govt. was facing a stiff challenge to detect counterfeit/fake coins used by customers in railway stations while purchasing platform tickets. The Platform ticket machines imported from Britain failed to detect fake coins. In such situation, P.L Mistry came up with a manually operated Platform ticket vending machine with an ability to detect fake coins. British authorities on seeing the demonstration (in 1942) of the same were excited and ordered for six machines for Bombay Central and Dadar stations.
Salient Features of Platform ticket vendor:
- Passengers have to insert one anna coin, press a button and pull a handle simultaneously.
- Doing so will deliver a platform ticket with the date printed on it.
- Usage of fake coins will be detected.
- If the number of platform tickets in stock goes below 25, a warning will be issued for authorities to place more tickets within the machine.
- Operates without electricity.
Gravity operated Ceiling Fan:
P.L Mistry had invented a Ceiling fan that operates with gravitational force, and no electricity is needed for its operation. Though its patent details are not available, it is documented in records.
Automatic Cycle Pump
On Indian roads vehicles often get punctured. In those days since tubeless tires concepts did not exist, P.L Mistry came up with an idea to inflate air in bicycle tires with a pneumatic operated pump. These pumps had the ability to fill air even when the vehicle was in the running. Thus riders could comfortably reach their destination with a punctured wheel.
- An air pump is fixed in the hub of the bicycle.
- This pump can be operated by pressing a button in the handle.
- The rider can keep inflating the punctured tire on the run so that rider can comfortably reach the destination.
Animal body weight water pump
Mr. P.L Mistry came up with equipment to pump water from wells approximately 60 feet deep without using electricity.
- His innovation had a tilting platform connected to the pump.
- A Bullock or cattle is made to move over the tilting platform continuously.
- The small movement of animal could generate 9HP of electricity facilitating drawing of water for irrigation purpose.
When demonstrated to Agriculture Department officials of New Delhi and Junagarh they had widely appreciated this apparatus.
Power Generation from Road Traffic
Today we are discussing rainwater harvesting and solar energy generation models across the globe. But the Power generation model proposed by P.L Mistry using vehicular traffic on roads would have been best possible way given the type of traffic congestion our cities are experiencing. It can be a panacea for current power crisis of Indian cities as the heavy traffic on Indian roads can be meaningfully converted to power using this invention of Mr. Mistry.
Other innovations of P.L Mistry that can be listed here are:
- Constant water flow governor in taps
- Train collision and accident avoiding system due to derailment
- Improved churner
- Small flour mill
- Folding Cradle
- Cloth washing and drying machine,
- Folding swing bed
- Thief-catching equipment installed in safety lockers
- Automatic lighting and delighting kerosene lamp
Recognition, Rewards & Humane side of P.L Mistry
Mr. P L Mistry was honored posthumously by then President of India, Dr.A P J Abdul Kalam on behalf of National Innovation Foundation (NIF). King of Jodhpur had offered Mr. Mistry with one lakh rupees and a large tract of land as a mark of respect. But Mr. Mistry was such an independent human being He had politely rejected this offer from the king. However to respect the king’s gesture he accepted a motor car as a gift.
When Mr. Mistry invented a small steam engine and demonstrated to District Collector of British rule. Though the collector appreciated this idea he cautioned Mr. Mistry not to publicize this innovation owing to the fact that British rulers were bent upon dumping India with their own technology and products.