Question: During the British rule in India, British officers found the Indian summer quite unbearable. In order to beat the heat indoors they used a large fan (punkhah) made from a thick cloth attached to a wooden frame. A servant called ‘punkhah-coolie’ pulled the punkhah with a rope sitting outside the room. (Photo, above). Considering the weight of punkhah, the task of pulling it for hours was tiring. A gear system was already patented and could have been used to reduce the labour. But somehow geared punkhahs were not successful. Still the invention of geared punkhah created a record of a sort. Do you know which record?
Answer: George Alfred Deepening, a British civil engineer, had applied for a patent for a geared punkhah as ‘An efficient Punkhah Pulling Machine’ on March 3, 1856 which was duly granted. It was the first ever patent in the history of India. The law for granting patents for new inventions in India was in effect from February 28 1856. Realising that the inventors not aware of the modus operandi and legal formalities faced a lot of problems in obtaining patents Deepening later on established a consultancy agency, Deepening & Deepening to assist such inventors.