Another way to distill water - dimply put a pot of water to boil and cover it with clean cloths. The water vapor will condense along the fibers of the cloth. Simply wring the cloth out to get the water. Not efficient but very effective. You can test it for yourself by making up a salt water solution and then boiling it to collect the water. You'll find that the salt has been left behind. Note: the cloths do get very hot and can burn your fingers if youre not careful. Also the cloths must be as clean as you can get them as anything in the cloth that can be dissolved by warm water will be dissolved into your collected water.
Offered by Ray.
Good idea. I am now wondering what cloths would work the best. Something that absorbs water like a sponge but adds little taste and doesn't melt and is not harmed by the 212 degree F temperature. Cotton is what I am thinking as a starter but there might be something much better. Do we have any one knowable in this direction on this list? Once this material is found one could mount the cloth on metal hoops made of coat hanger wire or similar. If the hoop was just a bit bigger than the pot then it would rest on top. Once saturated, one would take it off the pot and stand it up vertical to drip into another pot and to allow the surface to cool. During this time another hoop has been put onto the boiling pot. At regular intervals they get swapped out. May need three or more of them to be efficient.If the material is chosen carefully it should drain off when tipped. I can see with some thought one might be able to automate this process. A sort of paddle wheel result with the weight of the collected water moving the wheel from horizontal to vertical.
Offered by Mike.
I suspect that the downside for the cloth method is that the large surface will also speed up evaporation. In a time when possibly water resources are limited we would want something more efficient at converting unsuitable water to good drinking water. I still do not see anything more efficient than a still of sorts; be that glass or copper. People would have to put the moonshine manufacture on hold for a while whilst they purify drinking water. Geez!
Offered by Stephen.