Who would have ever thought that parts of an old, abandoned car could save the world?

Palestine resident Pat Delany did, and after four years of hard work and development he will soon be able to make his invention, the MultiMachine, available for use by missionaries and other charitable foundations who work in third world countries.

According to Delany, the MultiMachine began as a personal, home shop project to convert a truck engine block into a machine tool able to do one particular machining job.

In the four years he has been working on it, the machine has evolved into a versatile device that machinists and mechanics can use in over 10 different ways to do every type of metal working job that a machine shop would normally be called on to do.

But Delany’s vision for his invention goes beyond the machine shop — he wants the machine to be used to make life better for the billions of impoverished people in the world.

“About 30,000 children die every day from the effects of drinking bad water,” he said. “A billion people live on $1 a day or less and another billion are almost as poor.

“The MultiMachine has the potential to help those people in impoverished areas around the world,” Delany said. “Using the machine, people can build pumps and filters to produce clean water, build or repair their own agricultural equipment, make fuel efficient cookware, repair cars and materially improve the quality of their lives in innumerable ways.”

The genius of the MultiMachine, Delany said, is that anyone with only basic mechanical skills and tools can make the machine from materials that are readily available throughout the world. At the core of its construction — engine blocks from cars or trucks.

“Building a MultiMachine or a group of related machine tools,” he said, “would provide a community with the equivalent of its own small, general-purpose factory which would not even need electricity.”

With the recent completion of a prototype of his invention, Delany is now seeking help creating basic, reproducible plans and an instructional video to send to missionaries so they can help those less fortunate.

“Besides basic tools and raw materials, all that a person needs to make the machine is that set of reproducible plans,” he explained.

Delany can’t take all the credit for the MultiMachine. He has relied heavily upon the expertise of an online group made up of over 1,000 amateur and professional machinists and engineers to help develop the machine.

“They have helped me identify problems and devise solutions that moved the machine from a single-purpose tool to the basis for an entire factory that it is today,” he said. “We have used machine designs from the early and mid-1800s as well as Popular Mechanics magazine articles from the 1920s and a machine tool design used on early British nuclear submarines.”

Delany said he has already received some interest from missionaries about using the machine.

“A man in Kenya wants to use the machine to get people from the community to come to his church,” Delany said. “He also wants to use the machine to make water pumps that would bring water from a nearby lake to drought-ridden areas.”

Delany said he has a monthly budget to develop the machine, but doesn’t expect to see that money returned to him monetarily.

“I would like to see a little something for my hard work, but that is not why I am doing this,” he said. “I am a true believer in technology — I hope to show people that the materials to change the world might be found in their own backyard.

“Sometimes I think I was put on earth just for this.”

Delany and his wife Clarissa have lived in Palestine for 30 years, currently working together running a home-based oil information service business. They have four children, three grandchildren and another grandchild on the way.

Anyone wishing for more information about the MultiMachine or to help Delany with the development of plans and video project may call 903-723-0980.

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Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at mrainwater@palestineherald.com

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