One of the earliest entrants in the industrialization in India was a Mumbai (then Bombay) based conglomerate Godrej Group. Since its establishment in 1897, Godrej group has spread its wings in many directions. The products and achievements of this organisation as diverse as the nation they are incorporated in. They are an active entity in electronic appliances, real estate, furniture, Information Technology and many other industries. Godrej was the first to make a lock with lever and also the first safe in India was manufactured by them. And undoubtedly, one of its major achievements being the first typewriter manufactured in India was made by Godrej.
After their political independence in the year 1947, India had to work for independence in terms of economics, manufacturing, technology, etc. Godrej was one of the few major industrial powers since before Indian independence. The need of manufacturing its needs within the country was seen as an essential economic step by the government of India. Naval Godrej when in a discussion about manufacturing of first typewriter with his father Pirojsha Godrej was informed that it would not only be the first in India but in the whole of Asia.
Godrej typewriter project got sponsorship from the Government of India to undertake the manufacturing in India. Though it should be noted that the typewriter was first manufactured by Godrej in 1955, the process began much before. At that point of time, American typewriter manufacturers were the go to guys for the product. Companies like Remington had branch in India and most of the needs here were fulfilled through imports. This first Indian typewriter was based perhaps on a model called Woodstock.
The manufacturing of such complex machine was an arduous task to say the least. With requirements of skilled labour and advanced machinery along with the complex assembly procedure of various different parts, this was a path less treaded for lack of these. In this out of almost 1800 parts, only a few part like key tops, rubber plates, etc. were actually imported. It was christened Godrej Prima by the company later.
The first Godrej typewriter was presented to first Prime Minister of India Mr Jawaharlal Nehru. He encouraged the rise of technology and innovation in the nation.
This though a small wonder in itself, Godrej typewriter was a great achievement in the field of technological advancement at that point of time. This made the nation believe in its manufacturing power which years later turned in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India campaign.
But the problems did not end with manufacturing, the demand in the nation at that point of time was not significant. With slightly over ten thousand units sold in last ten years, ramping up demand was another challenge.
Not only were Godrej typewriters the first in Asia, but also they claim to be the last in the world to stop production of typewriter. They shut down the production in the year 2011 when they finally shut down production in their Satara (Maharashtra) plant. Though Godrej had a few hundred of the produced typewriters were left, probably saved for auction at a later stage.
Visit Naval Godrej’s Official site to know more about his achievements http://www.naval100.com/