G.D.Naidu (1893 – 1974) was an eminent inventor and industrialist from Coimbatore, India. What’s interesting about this inventor is he never studied more than the primary level! In fact, even at an young age, he hated the system so much that the threw mud in the face of his teachers (Twice. Back then, there were no slates but one needed to write using fingers on sand). So, naturally he was sent out of school and perhaps that should have been a very happy incident for our young G.D.Naidu! It seems he was quite mischievous during his early years and he is even believed to have lit a whole stack of hay which was kept over a cart, just for fun!
The above picture is of the Motor bike that he bought from an English revenue official because he was very impressed on seeing it for the first time. He was inquisitive to learn how it works and hence he disassembled it and reassembled it several times to understand how the various parts of the vehicle works!
The above picture is of the first electric motor in India which was made by G.D.Naidu’s UMS Group company called National Electric Works in 1937. These exhibits and many more are kept at the G.D.Naidu Museum and Industrial Exhibition (Near to Nilgiris Super Market – Avinashi Road in Coimbatore, the same building also hosts the Indo-German Goethe Institute & UMS Training center among others).
The G.D.Naidu museum and industrial exhibition in Coimbatore contains an impressive collection of various electrical/electronic/scientific devices and gadgets that has been in existence since very early years to the recent times. In fact, one visit to this museum would make you familiar with the different types of film cameras, projection TV’s, ball point pens, floppy disks, calculators, type writers, PA systems, printers, and many many more devices that were used right from 1930’s/40’s till today! The photos below show a few of the interesting equipments kept on display.
Well this is how the earliest computers looked! In fact, there is one more computer kept there which was so huge that it did not fit in to my camera view! Its specifications should interest you though – 48 Kilo Bytes of RAM/ 8.6 Mega Bytes of 12″ Hard Drive/ 8″ Floppy drive cabinet Somehow, I managed to take a photo that covered half of this whole computer – check it out.
In certain sections of this museum, the lights would go on automatically as you walk near that part of the exhibits and then switch off automatically when you go away from them! There were so many exhibits arranged in multiple long rows and a long shot of one of the rows is shown below.
In fact, there is a separate area where quite a few scientific exhibits are kept for encouraging curiosity in Science for children and perhaps even the grown up ones! For example, Try to say the colour of each of the below word (without struggling, that is) –
Below picture is of a cool early petrol car that G.D.Naidu built in India. But sadly, the Government rejected the License to him for manufacturing them commercially (In those days, you could manufacture something commercially only if you got a license from the Government ).
He wanted to make certain precision blades/knives too (he learnt the technology during one of his visits to Germany) but the Government gave the license for manufacturing it to someone else! It seems multiple such rejections made him destroy some of his inventions in frustration and perhaps even discouraged the great innovator who could have done much more. It seems, he had the hands of a wizard and what ever he touched became Gold! He even grew some plants in his garden which were unusual (Like cotton plants that grew to ten feet, coconut trees that were 3 feet, etc using perfect organic methods). But sadly, we do not have any documentation of all those methods and perhaps we don’t deserve them as well!
It seems in-spite of such things, he was warm, always smiling, helping others and kept a positive outlook towards life. He founded a school and a college and his company – Universal Motor Service provided a lot of jobs to engineering people back then in Coimbatore. Below are some of the awards received by him, his company and the museum.
G.D.Naidu was an avid photographer and photography was his hobby and passion. If you visit his museum, you can see the photos of a number of dignitaries who have visited the museum (A.B.Vajpayee, Indira Gandhi, etc). In fact, he was personally invited to the funeral procession of King George V at London and he filmed it too…
In 1940, a Phonograph was assembled and made by G.D.Naidu himself with some help from an American firm and his own UMS. By the way, a phonograph is a device that can record and playback sound, originally invented by Edison. Perhaps that’s why he was called as the Edison of India!
This museum is open from morning 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM (Except on Sundays) and is a must visit for all science history enthusiasts.