By Tim Anderson

Maker Family Portrait

A family of inventive blacksmiths in Indonesia supply the locals with just about everything they need.

At the far western tip of Papua, on the outskirts of the town of Sorong, is a place called Tempat Garam (“salt-making place”). The Mombrasar family (pictured at right) of blacksmiths have their shop there. They build boats, make any and all kinds of tools, and invent labor-saving devices.

Chainsaw-Powered Sago Grinder

Yohanis Mombrasar showed me one of the family’s inventions, a chainsaw-powered sago grinder (Figure A). The local staple is sago palm starch. The sago palm grows in dense ...

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