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The history of the Indian postal service: from the Mauryans to post-independence

By Aniket Gupta | 02 Apr 2024

Remember the good old days when the postman, clad in his iconic khaki uniform, traversed neighborhoods, diligently delivering letters? In today’s fast-paced world dominated by WhatsApp, e-mail, and SMS, most people have forgotten the experience of receiving a personalized handwritten letter from relatives and friends.

Industry history – canning

By Kiron Kasbekar | 29 Mar 2024

Since ancient times people found different ways in which to preserve food. They salted food, dried it, smoked it, pickled it, stored it in a sugary mix, and froze it. Freezing, of course, could only be done in cold climates, and sun-drying was common in hot and dry climates.

HMT watches: No longer the timekeeper to the nation

By Aniket Gupta | 14 Mar 2024

Sadly, there has been one watch brand in India with a rich history, which has been forgotten over time. That brand was not known for its flashy name or design but rather for the simplicity it represented, and to many Indians, the pride of nationalism attached to it. That brand is HMT.

Company story – Quaker Oats

By Kiron Kasbekar | 08 Mar 2024

Quaker Oats is a company whose products I remember from my childhood days. Years before a foreign exchange crisis caused the Indian government to impose curbs on consumer product imports, we used to see a host of foreign brands in the Indian market. Including Quaker Oats, which I remember eating when I was a child, and which has been available for the past two decades or more.

Kodak: A journey from creating memories to bankruptcy

By Aniket Gupta | 06 Mar 2024

Have you ever seen a Kodak camera, or heard the name of this company, the Eastman Kodak Company? If not, ask someone in your family who is over half a century old. The name Kodak doesn’t suggest much today, but there was a time not so long ago when Kodak had a near monopoly in the photography business. Both cameras and film.

Building through the ages: Kongō Gumi’s 1446-year journey

By Aniket Gupta | 01 Mar 2024

In such a world of harsh competition and obsolescence, there is a company that stands out as a beacon of longevity. A company whose inception was closer to the fall of the Roman Empire than we are to the end of World War I. The company I am talking about is a modest family-run Japanese construction company called Kongō Gumi.

Economic history – the Roaring Twenties – Part 3

By Kiron Kasbekar | 01 Mar 2024

This part, the third and last part, will look briefly at the new cultural styles that flourished, including jazz and swing in America, and the rebellious art scene in Europe. The world had recovered not only from the First World War, in which an estimated 20 million people were killed, but also from the Spanish Flu, which killed between 25 and 50 million people worldwide.

Economic history – the Roaring Twenties – Part 2

By Kiron Kasbekar | 29 Feb 2024

In the first part of this story, ‘The Roaring Twenties- Part 1’ we saw how the American and Western European economies bounced back from the devastation of the First World War, created revolutionary new products, such as remarkable new automobiles and aeroplanes, and how road networks were expanded. Now there were new experiences for people to enjoy in their homes.

Economic history – the Roaring Twenties – Part 1

By Kiron Kasbekar | 28 Feb 2024

We know about the two World Wars; and we know that between those two wars, there was a Great Depression when the economies of most countries simply collapsed, causing untold misery to hundreds of millions of people. But there was another very important period between those two World Wars and before the Great Depression that is often not talked about. It was called the Roaring Twenties.

The road to automobile innovation: Ford’s quest from 1970 onwards

By Aniket Gupta | 26 Feb 2024

The previous two articles in this 3-part series focused on the establishment of Ford Motor Company and some of the groundbreaking cars it had manufactured in the first 60 years since its inception. But the automobile industry is a tough industry. Like any other carmaker, Ford Motor Company, with all its glorious history, has also had to struggle to survive the challenges it encountered along its way.

The road to automobile innovation: Ford beyond the 1940s

By Aniket Gupta | 23 Feb 2024

In the previous article of this series, we explored the birth and childhood of Henry Ford, the creator of the Ford Motor Company. We also saw how, after several attempts, Henry Ford was finally able to establish the company in 1903. This part will explore Ford’s rise from the 1940s to the 1960s. We will also explore some famous creations by Ford during this era.

ISRO: Making giant strides in the 21st century

By Aniket Gupta | 08 Feb 2024

In the previous article in the series on the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), we saw how the space organization began and how some of the founding members of the organization and leaders of the country helped shape ISRO into what it is today. In this article, we will see a more in-depth focus on the missions conducted by ISRO in the 21st century.

Nuclear power – to build or not to build?

By Kiron Kasbekar | 03 Feb 2024

The story of nuclear energy began as a wartime secret, soon became a means to rain death and destruction on two cities in Japan. Nuclear energy has great potential to bring humanity back from the brink of an unprecedented energy crisis and environmental disaster. But can we depend on it?

The birth and rise of ISRO

By Aniket Gupta | 30 Jan 2024

Since 1969 India has been reaching for the skies. Literally. And the agency that is helping it do that is the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), an organization made up of scientific brilliance and grit. From its humble beginnings in 1969, it is now reaching out to the Moon, Mars, and the Sun. And it has even more ambitious plans for the future. But its beginnings were as ambitious as they are today, and it is those ambitions that have sustained this space agency.

Starbucks: Caffeinating the world since 1971 (Part-2)

By Aniket Gupta | 24 Jan 2024

In the first part, we explored how Starbucks started and how Howard Schultz took over Starbucks and expanded it rapidly. We also explored how Starbucks launched its IPO and expanded it even further. This article will continue the story of Starbucks and see how the 21st century has treated this chain of coffeehouses.

Starbucks: Caffeinating the world since 1971 (Part-1)

By Aniket Gupta | 19 Jan 2024

You may have observed that this website has featured profiles of companies, many of which were once major players in their industries but eventually faded away. This article is not about such a company. It delves into the story of a company that started its journey around half a century ago and has evolved into a cultural icon. The focal point of this two-part Company Profile is Starbucks.

Industry study - The browser wars

By Kiron Kasbekar | 17 Jan 2024

Do you remember what the Internet was like, before the 1990s? Lines and lines of monochrome text, wading through which was a chore because it also loaded very slowly. The systems ran on the DOS system and you had to remember cryptic commands like DIR, DISKCOPY, FDISK, PROMPT.

Company story – Cunard Line

By Kiron Kasbekar | 12 Jan 2024

The Cunard Line started its life in Glasgow in 1839 as the British and North American Royal Mail Steam-Packet Company when Samuel Cunard was awarded the first British transatlantic steamship mail contract.

A brief history of ship propulsion

By Kiron Kasbekar | 09 Jan 2024

The evolution of ship propulsion systems from oars to nuclear power Ships have played a crucial role in the development of human civilization, enabling exploration, trade, warfare, and the transportation of goods and people across the world's oceans, rivers, and seas and, sadly, warfare too.

The magic of aerogels

By Kiron Kasbekar | 05 Jan 2024

Aerogels, first developed during the 1930s, are some of the lightest known solid materials ever created. They were commercialized during the 1940s. That was a long time ago, but they are still not a widely known substance.

Aerogels – amazing new materials

By Kiron Kasbekar | 05 Jan 2024

One day I was trying to get background on one of the topics I cover for my articles and YouTube videos, and I went off at a tangent, as I sometimes do, and began looking at some entirely different subject. It was a subject I had never read or heard about. It’s a material called aerogel.

Underwood Typewriter Company – an icon of the past

By Kiron Kasbekar | 21 Dec 2023

You’ve probably never heard of Underwood typewriters. For the company folded up in 1963 – 60 years ago. You may not even have seen and handled a typewriter, unless someone in your family owned one.

The rise and fall of Chrysler

By Kiron Kasbekar | 16 Dec 2023

A century ago, the American automobile industry was more crowded than a vegetable market on a Sunday morning, with such a wide variety of stuff on sale that buyers were spoilt for choice. Buyers could pick and choose, bargain, pay up and drive out with the newly purchased vehicle.

Blockbuster Video: How not to run your business

By Aniket Gupta | 14 Dec 2023

If you were born after the year 2000, then maybe you wouldn’t even know about, or remember, this iconic business that used to stand tall, renting out movies to people and making their lives happier. The business I am talking about is Blockbuster Video.

TRW – the tide turned

By Kiron Kasbekar | 13 Dec 2023

There used to be an American company called Thompson Ramo Wooldridge Inc. This company, which was a global supplier of automotive systems, modules, and components to car and truck manufacturers, started small, as most companies do. Then, as the automotive industry grew bigger, so did TRW.

The rise and fall of Nokia

By Aniket Gupta | 07 Dec 2023

My interest is stories about dominant companies that failed all of a sudden. These companies were once etched into people’s minds but have since become a symbol of nostalgia. One such company, which was the biggest in its industry before it failed catastrophically, is Nokia.

Yahoo!: The first king of the internet

By Aniket Gupta | 01 Dec 2023

The year is 1994. You go to the internet to search for a particular website, but there is no Google that could be used to search your desired website. What do you do? The answer is that you use Yahoo.

The Bata vision

By Kiron Kasbekar | 22 Nov 2023

I find it strange that some big companies keep themselves shut off from public view. Not their products, of course, for the products are on sale worldwide. But their financial data.

The Sahara scam

By Aniket Gupta | 21 Nov 2023

Yes, that Sahara group, once branded as one of the biggest conglomerates in India, has since fallen into a web of controversies and legal battles with the Indian government.

The birth of Ashok Leyland

By Kiron Kasbekar | 20 Nov 2023

The company was first called Ashok Motors. The name came from the founder Raghunandan Saran’s son Ashok.

Segway: A transportation revolution that lost its way

By Aniket Gupta | 09 Nov 2023

The Segway is a motorized personal vehicle featuring a pair of wheels arranged in parallel on either side of a very short platform on which the rider stands, gripping handlebars for control.

Charm of the trams: Mumbai's historic transport revisited

By Kiron Kasbekar | 27 Oct 2023

On 9 May 1874, Bombay (as Mumbai was called then) witnessed a groundbreaking moment in its transportation history - the inauguration of the first horse tram.

History of recycling

By Aniket Gupta | 01 Oct 2023

To say that our world has problems would be an understatement. We seem to have no end of problems, some of them leading to crises of sorts.

Kingfisher Airlines Part 2 - the flight of fancy

By Aniket Gupta | 18 Sep 2023

Kingfisher Airlines was launched with a great deal of enthusiasm and fanfare. Founded in 2003 by the Bengaluru-based United Breweries Group

A ballpoint for outer space

By Kiron Kasbekar | 18 Sep 2023

The alarm went off, shattering the peace inside the spaceship. Everyone dropped their electric blankets and rose up, wondering what had happened. Had a meteor hit the spaceship?

Kingfisher Airlines Part 1 - the backdrop

By Aniket Gupta | 15 Sep 2023

Formerly one of the most prominent airlines, of the initial airline liberalization days, Kingfisher Airlines has plunged into a bottomless abyss.

Tinplate vs. plastic containers: which is more environmentally friendly? - Part 3

By Aniket Gupta | 14 Aug 2023

The environmental impact of tinplate and plastic containers extends beyond their production and disposal phases.

Tinplate vs. plastic containers: which is more environmentally friendly? - Part 2

By Aniket Gupta | 14 Aug 2023

The history of plastic containers is a journey of innovation, versatility, and widespread adoption that has shaped the modern packaging landscape.

Tinplate vs. plastic containers: which is more environmentally friendly? - Part 1

By Aniket Gupta | 14 Aug 2023

As people become increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of our consumption habits, we are pushed to make choices between what we are habituated to doing and what we should be doing.

Bengaluru suffers staggering Rs.20,000 crore annual loss due to traffic congestion

By Aniket Gupta | 08 Aug 2023

Traffic congestion in Bengaluru has resulted in an enormous economic loss of nearly Rs 20,000 crore for the city.

$40-50 billion target for Indian technical textiles

By Cygnus | 28 Jul 2023

The technical textile segment in India has experienced robust growth, in domestic sales and in exports, and the government is predicting a doubling of the market in the next five years.

You don’t have to be James Bond to travel on a flying boat!

By A Correspondent | 19 Jul 2023

Flying boats are a reality. And they’ve been so for decades. Hovercraft, which are flying boats that literally float in the air have been in use since the late 1950s.

The light bulb scam

23 Jan 2023

A conspiracy was hatched in Geneva in Switzerland on 23 December 1924. The conspirators were top executives of the biggest light bulb manufacturing companies in the world.

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