Looking for sewing machines that would run on solar panel generated electricity, I found Jude Lally, a creative stitcher indeed. She experimented one spring day, in her Carolina home ,at first thinking she might try an antique treadle, but then, ” I plugged the machine cord into the inverter which plugs into the battery attached to the solar panel and within minutes I was off grid and stitching away!”
Seamstresses in the developing world typically use treadle sewing machines. I had presumed they were all retooled vintage machines, but Colleen Clines of Anchal, a sewing cooperative in India, tells me treadle sewing machines are still manufactured in India and the women prefer them. Perhaps solar powered machines might catch on.
What will women want after electric lights and telephone charging? The price of electric sewing machines has declined – they cost less now than when I was a middle schooler 45 years ago. And they have lots of fancy features that are hard to use and not necessary for normal sewing. They are likely just added to make a higher price justifiable. A “de-engineered” sewing machine could be manufactured that would be very affordable for developing world women, especially if they use it for income-generating activities. Someone should take this on.
Colleen ??? from Anchal says that women prefer treadles? They are still manufactured.
Harish Hande, managing director of Selco Solar, a social enterprise in India that promotes the adoption of new energy technologies, says the important thing is not so much to deliver energy to the poor, but to provide new ways to generate income. His firm has devised a solar-powered sewing machine
Practical Action Solar Powered Spinning Machine Peru
Her community now have a solar powered spinning machine, so she can now spin better quality wool much more quickly. This fetches a higher price so she is able to pay for education for her children. Their health has also improved.
Solar-powered spinning machine – spins in one tenth of the time, giving them more time to create their alpaca designs.
$75 could buy a sewing machine for the WFN’s training programs, or for a woman starting her own business. – Women for Women International
Check out this article on converting an electric sewing machine to a tread
Pretty much all sewing machines require mains power so there is an inverter between the solar panel and the machine. Once you have that, you can drive pretty much any sewing machine assuming your solar panel is big enough (and there is enough sun!). Power requirements vary but 100 Watts is the typical power need.
I will be including you in my upcoming book, linked below, in the entry on Pay-Until-You-Own systems.
I love your Energy Escalator!
You mention the top level can power a sewing machine. I haven’t been able to find anything online about the type of sewing machines that could be solar powered so would love any info you can provide!