In the annals of Indian inventors, there lies a hidden gem whose remarkable contributions to engineering and invention deserve more recognition: Gopalswamy Doraiswamy Naidu, or G. D. Naidu. Born in Coimbatore, G. D. Naidu was influenced by the Stanes Group of Institutions, among other mentors and visionaries, who guided him throughout his career. In this blog, we take a closer look at the life, achievements, and people who shaped G. D. Naidu’s illustrious journey, from his humble beginnings as a server in a hotel to becoming a successful inventor and entrepreneur.
Early Life and Background
G. D. Naidu was born in Coimbatore on March 23, 1893, and displayed an extraordinary aptitude for machines and mechanics from an early age. Although he faced numerous challenges, including financial constraints and limited access to formal education, his passion for learning and inventing remained undeterred.
Driven by his love for machines, Naidu obtained work as a server in a hotel in Coimbatore to save money to buy a motorcycle. After purchasing the vehicle, he spent time dismantling and reassembling it, eventually becoming a mechanic. This hands-on experience with machinery laid the foundation for his future career.
The motorcycle G. D. Naidu bought from a British Revenue officer to understand how it worked
In 1920, Naidu began his transport business by purchasing an automobile coach, driving it between Pollachi and Palani. His venture, Universal Motor Service (UMS), quickly grew and, in a few years, owned the country’s most efficient fleet of public transport vehicles.
Influence of Stanes and Other Visionaries
The Stanes Group of Institutions, founded by Sir Robert Stanes in 1862, played a significant role in shaping Coimbatore’s growth as an industrial hub. These institutions provided hands-on training and education in various technical fields, and the Stanes Motor School, in particular, captivated young Naidu.
Apart from the Stanes Group, several visionaries and mentors influenced G. D. Naidu’s journey. One such influential figure was Diwan Bahadur R. K. Shanmugam Chettiar, a successful businessman and philanthropist who recognized Naidu’s potential and provided financial assistance to pursue his passion.
Later, Naidu traveled to Germany, where he met German inventor and industrialist Richard Küchen. Küchen’s work on safety razors and other cutting tools inspired Naidu to develop his own Rasant Razor, which would gain international attention.
Inventions and Innovations
G. D. Naidu’s inventive spirit led him to create over 100 patents in various fields. Some of his most notable inventions include:
- The Rasant Razor (1930): The safety razor with replaceable blades, which garnered international acclaim and helped Naidu establish a long-lasting business relationship with Richard Küchen.
- India’s First Electric Motor (1937): This indigenous electric motor was used in domestic appliances, fans, and other machines, paving the way for Indian self-reliance in electrical engineering.
- The Universal Grinding Machine (1954): Naidu’s versatile grinding machine could grind complex shapes and profiles with precision, making it a valuable asset in the manufacturing sector.
- Contributions to the Indian Film Industry: Naidu’s passion for cinematography led him to design a portable film projector called the “Filmadora” and a movie camera named “Naiduscope.” His work in this field was instrumental in shaping India’s burgeoning film industry.
- Naidu’s Self-starting Two-stroke Engine: This innovative engine provided a cost-effective and fuel-efficient solution for two-wheelers and three-wheelers, revolutionizing the Indian automobile industry.
Philanthropy and Legacy
G. D. Naidu was not only an inventor but also a dedicated philanthropist. In 1945, he established the G. D. Naidu Charities to support educational and healthcare initiatives in Coimbatore. The G. D. Naidu Industrial Exhibition, held annually, showcases the inventions and innovations of young engineers and entrepreneurs.
The story of G. D. Naidu’s life and achievements is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and the impact of influential mentors.