Published: 30th January 2019
From Edison's Phonograph to the oldest telephones in the world, why you need to check out this exhibition at VITM
VITM in Bengaluru will be holding an exhibition to display some of the oldest devices that were invented by scientists and used by people. We talk to the director to find out more
Have you wondered how people recorded sounds or played music back in the day? Or what led to the invention of the tape recorder and the latest music players that you see around today? Come February 16, Visvesvaraya Technological and Industrial Museum (VITM) will be organising an exhibition called Talking Devices. Do note that this is the first time in the history of the museum that an exhibition of this kind will be held, which will go on till February 28. The highlight of the exhibition will be a phonograph, a device used for recording and reproduction of sound, that was conceptualised and manufactured during the 19th century by none other than famed American inventor Thomas Edison.
K Madan Gopal, Director of VITM, says, "In 1980, the Government of India decided that in the honour of Sir CV Raman, February 28 will be observed as National Science Day. Hence, every year on this day, we conduct different activities. This year, we want to educate people about how science and technology have evolved. Back in the 19th century, listening to something through media was a challenge and that's how Thomas Edison's phonograph came into the picture. We are fortunate to have a copy of the same phonograph produced by Edison's company. It is over 100 years old and this is the right time to showcase it. Along with this, three gramophones which look similar, but are technologically different, will also be on display. They are very huge and none of them are functional."
Device watch: Around 35 old devices will be on display during this exhibition
Throwing light on the antique phonograph, the director says, "The phonograph has been in the possession of this museum since the 1960s and we don't clearly know who donated it. But we haven’t showcased it in the gallery because it is our priceless possession. For the first time, it will be displayed, but for 13 days only. We have also tied up with India Foundation for Arts and their research fellows will be present to educate people about the devices."
They also have a mechanical and circular calculator which will be on display this month. A full-scale replica of the 1903 Wright Brothers' Aeroplane Wright Flyer-1 is also available for public view
Besides this, as a part of the exhibition, the museum authorities have decided to conduct workshops and lectures. They will even hold a specific workshop on telephones which have evolved to become the mobile phone we hold in our hand today. "We have some of the oldest telephones like wall-mounted telephone, field telephone, the bell on bell off telephone and candlestick telephone. All these devices will be made functional by using earphones or microphones. Hence, people can not only look, but also experience how these devices worked. For the workshops, anyone across the country can register for which, the registration form is available on our website. Those who register will be encouraged to give a demonstration of the old machines that were once used to communicate. Each demonstration will be given an hour," he explains.