The Clay Refrigerator Man: He Makes all Appliances out of Clay.

 (sanjay austa      sanjayausta@gmail.)

Prajapati in his Clay Refrigerator Factory, Wankaner, Gujrat.


Whenever his in-laws  stepped on to the highway, Manshuk Lal Prajapati would crouch behind his tea- stall to  hide.  Pashupati, 48, was a defeated man. He had failed in his tenth boards, worked as a laborer and was now trying to eke out a living as a tea-vendor in the Wankaner- a small dusty town in  Gujrat.

But a wave of humiliation swept  over him whenever  his in-laws saw him peddling tea on the roadside.  ‘’ My in-laws were much better off . They were in the toy making business and here I was selling tea. I felt very ashamed’’ he says..

It was this feeling of shame that drove him to become an extraordinary entrepreneur he is today. Prajapati is an innovator who is in the business of making everyday household appliances including refrigerators,  pressure cookers, non-stick pans, water dispensers- all out of clay. These products marketed under the Mitti Cool banner are not only eco-friendly, sustainable  and effective but also very cheap.

 (sanjay austa      sanjayausta@gmail.)

The Clay Refrigerator in use in a household in Gujrat.

Take his centerpiece product- the clay refrigerator  for example. It has sold more than  nine thousand units all across India.  Priced little over three thousand it is  a veritable poor man’s fridge. ‘’ The rich can buy anything but the poor cannot afford products like the refrigerator. So I thought why not make something the poor can afford and use’’, says Prajapati.

Temperature  inside this clay fridge remains  almost 8 degrees cooler than the room temperature. Vegetables remain fresh for over 4 days and milk for two. 26 inches long , 15 inches wide and 12 inches deep, it does not hog any space in the kitchen either. Those who have it, usually prop it up on their kitchen slabs.

The fridge works on a simple scientific principal. Evaporation causes cooling.  The roof , walls and bottom of this clay fridge are filled with water which evaporates over time keeping the vegetables  in this two chambered fridge  cool and fresh.

 Prajapati makes the fridge and other appliances  out of ordinary clay mixed together in calculated proportion. His ancestors were potters and he witnessed  with a tinge of pain and nostalgia  the declining importance of  earthen ware products  and the rise of the plastic. The rapid march of  Globalization  has  forced many an artisan out of their traditional jobs in India. Prajapati’s father was one them. ‘’ My father left pottery to work as a laborer’’, says Prajapati.

 (sanjay austa      sanjayausta@gmail.)

Prajapati Shows his Clay Refrigerator, Gujrat

In a fortuitous turn of events Prajapati not only wrested back his ancestral calling but also proved there was hope still for the potter. After his one year stint as a tea-vendor, Prajapati  worked as a supervisor at a tile making factory. It was here his subliminal potter’s instincts kicked in. ‘’I thought  I am a potter and if tiles can be successfully made out of  clay why not other products’’, he says.

In 1989, aged 24 , he began  his experiments with clay. Starting out with a non-stick pan he gradually went from one clay alternative to another.

 Today his products are so successful that he now has a row of factories with an assembly line production of myriad clay products. Big machines designed by Prajapati  himself , mold the clay in seconds into pots and pans each of them produced in their hundred to keep up with the rising demand.

Today he has a turnover of 45 lakhs and a running staff of over 35 people.

 (sanjay austa      sanjayausta@gmail.)

Prajapati’s factory churning out clay appliances.

But it was not a  smooth ride.  He had run into a debt of over 19 lakhs setting up the clay product factories. ‘’It was hit and trial and my pans broke easily throwing me in a huge debt’’, he says.

But  he presevered and with  encouragement from those who saw potential in him he made one clay product after another.

The products go all over India and sell especially well in Chennai. His clay creations have also gone to Africa and this year Prajapati has dispatched his first consignment of 100 clay fridges to Dubai.

Prajapati’s next innovation is a clay house or Mitti Cool house as he calls it. It is a house made of clay to keep it cool in summers and warm in winters.

As for his in- laws,   they use most of his clay products and cannot stop boasting about their efficacy .

7 Responses to “The Clay Refrigerator Man: He Makes all Appliances out of Clay.”

  1. Satyen says:

    An encouraging example of eco friendly initiative. Can I get his adress and contact no.

  2. Ramit Mitra says:

    Brilliant Sanjay….eco-friendliness and a essay i loved reading 🙂

  3. Meghna says:

    Dear Sanjay
    Kindly give his contact details!

  4. Amaze, brilliant blog structure! The best way prolonged have you been running a blog for? you’ve made blogging and site-building look simple. The complete appear of your site is fantastic, when logically because the material!

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