local resources
safety & health



Table 1: The choice of the manufacturing method
  Advantages Disadvantages
Owner Built
(i) little or no cash outlay poor quality control; material procurement difficult
(ii) small design changes to needs significant design changes difficult
(iii) individual independence no special community advantage maintains subsistence existence
Itinerant Artisan
(i) skilled craftsmanship at work; quality control better labour of craftsman to be paid for
(ii) possible to bring in new design ideas with time isolated work situation with no stimulus for radically new ideas
(iii) promotes the formation of a guild of artisans requires adjustment to the artisan's method and time of work
Industrial Production
(i) a standard product with a reliable performance sophisticated infrastructure - both possible requires higher capital outlay unavailable now in in rural areas
(ii) could sustain an in-house house design capability for continuous product innovation product may not be accessible for the really poor
(iii) Sophisticated marketing techniques feasible  
(iv) helps in moving subsistence living patterns into productive entrepreneurial patterns  

Again we see each of the methods have their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these, at least in a superficial sense, happen to be more concerned with organizational aspects than with technical considerations of design and manufacture. Yet it has to be realized that a better organizational backdrop provides the designer much more elbow room for introducing design complexities that lead to a better and cheaper product. In this connection the following two approaches that can overcome some of the disadvantages of the different choices in the table are worth considering.

A single large unit producing stove elements like grates, top plates (this is one of the most vulnerable parts in many a mud stove design) and chimneys servicing a large number of itinerant artisans.
Several small scale production units operated by a single management entity responsible for R&D, design and marketing.

These ideas are not being suggested as brand new (see for example Khosla, 1985) but if one needs to reach the numbers of stoves indicated earlier these practices need to be pursued with more vigour.