During the fag end of my stint at the technical school I spent about a month or so purposefully as an un-paid trainee inside the Indian Telephone Industries which needs elaboration. On being given a pass I could move in and out of the factory at will and also had the opportunity of using the canteen.
On the first day I was led to the training department. I remember the names of few fellow trainees from the REC Kurukshetra by name Sunil Kharit a resident of Dandeli and from the colony of its paper works and another by name Gopalakrishnan. I found that ITI had a well stocked library with many books relating to Technology and was well designed and maintained. I couldnt help feel a sense of sentiment that my father worked in this set up for nearly forty years largely doing a very good job at manufacturing a skill he had in abundance.
ITI to my understanding made three things. Exchanges, Telephones and Relays. Strowger exchanges gave way to Crossbar and finally to Electronic exchanges and I happenned to see all these varieties. Crossbar had a very short lifespan being replaced by the electronic genre almost instantly. ITI from a scientific stand-point was a factory largely involved with electromagnetism that finds application in telephony. This meant winding and winding machines were a key component of what ITI did. The founders of ITI and what it stood for needs appreciation for one reason that had it not been for ITI India would not have had a basis for the Telecommunication revolution we see today..because ITI largely personified both advantages , problems and pitfalls of telephony as it stood during these times. ITI acted as an R and D base for telecommunication in India which grew at a slow pace and then grew in leap and bounds somewhere making its basic crucible and master called ITI redundant in the process.
It was nice to see a strowger exchange work with various kinds of electromagnetic selectors working in rotational and vertical axes. It was a crude technology but acted as a basis for exchanges which more or less work on similar principles today called Switching..though we use Computer based systems or IC technology. I could see some elderly people work fanatically at winding the selectors and the like. But much of the work was done manually. Today exchanges are a different cup of tea quickly assembled using electronic components on fast robot like pre-programmed machines.
ITI made Telephones first of the rotating type followed by push-button at assembly lines in F-51 a code name given to Factory - 51. What I saw inside ITI was an effective and hard-working Industrial enterprise run on modern lines of these times contrary to what is generally spoken of a public-sector. I saw enthusiasm a the work place and a dynamic Industrial organization. ITI gave me a good foundation on telephony and I cherish my stint at this place and was an educational experience par-excellence.
Two R and D departments adorned this place a Transmission R and D near the main-gate and a Switching R and D near the Hospital gate with many engineering graduates manning things. The lawns of ITI in front of the administrative office also added charm. The corporate office of ITI was for many years in the Bangalore city atleast shifting locations once.
ITI has slowly become the grand-father of Indian Telephony ..its son being the fast Electronic Exchanges and its grand-son being Mobile telephony but this Grand-father is eternal and needs to be taken care of in some form and all its resources oiled and re-furbished come what may from time to time and ITI must continue to do without deviation Telecom activities of various kinds related to modern times and in the process retain all its resources and composure. Government must think on an incessent and on going way to re-invent ITI from time to time.