In 1873, the Bombay Tramway Company Limited was given the licence to operate trams in the city. The Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) was given the right to purchase the company after first twenty years or after every seven years thereafter. On 9 May 1874, the company started with horse-drawn tram of two kinds on road — those drawn by one horse and those drawn by two. In 1905, the Bombay Electric Supply & Tramways Company Limited (B.E.S. & T Co. Ltd.) bought the Bombay Tramway Company Limited. The first electrically operated tram-car appeared on Mumbai’s roads in 1907. Unlike the horse-drawn tram, the electric tram drew praise from public for its comfort and low fare. To handle rush-hour traffic double-decker trams were introduced on Mumbai’s roads in September 1920.
In 1913 there was debate in the Mumbai municipality whether to introduce motor buses to supplement the tramway service in the city. The main factor against its introduction was the high accident rate for a similar service in London. On 15 July 1926, 24 single-deck buses started operating on three routes. Despite stiff opposition and protests by taxi-drivers, the service ran without a hitch, transporting six lakh (600,000) passengers by the end of that year.
One of the terms of the agreement of 7 August 1905 between the Bombay Municipal Corporation and the Bombay Electric Supply & Tramways Company Limited (B.E.S.&T. Company) gave the Bombay Municipality the right to buy the company at the end of forty-two years. It was also laid down that if the right was exercised on 7 August 1947, the municipality would have to pay forty lakh rupees as goodwill, in addition to the agreed price of the company’s assets. On 7 August 1947, the Municipal Corporation took over the B.E.S.&T. Company Ltd and it was municipalised to form the Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking which was again renamed to Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (B.E.S.&T Undertaking) in 1995. BEST celebrates 7 August annually as “BEST Day”.
Before the discovery of insulin, diabetes was a feared disease that most certainly led to death. In 1920, Dr. Frederick Banting, an unknown surgeon with a bachelor’s degree in medicine took certain idea to Professor John Macleod at the University of Toronto, who was a leading figure in the study of diabetes in Canada. Though Macleod was not much convinced, he gave Banting a laboratory with a minimum of equipment and ten dogs. Banting also got an assistant, a medical student by the name of Charles Best. Banting and Best began their experiments by removing the pancreas from a dog. The dog developed diabetes. Experimenting on another dog, they removed the pancreas, sliced it up, and froze the pieces in a mixture of water and salts. When the pieces were half frozen, they were ground up and filtered. The isolated substance was named “isletin.” The extract was injected into the diabetic dog. Its blood glucose level dropped, and it seemed healthier and stronger. They started using pancreases from cattle. With this new source, they managed to produce enough extract to keep several diabetic dogs alive. They called cattle pancreas extract as “insulin.” In late 1921, biochemist Bertram Collip, joined the team, and was given the task of trying to purify the insulin so that it would be clean enough for testing on humans.
Banting and Best began by injecting themselves with the extract. They felt weak and dizzy, but they were not harmed. Collip continued his work to purify the insulin. He also experimented with trying to find the correct dosage. He learned how to diminish the effect of an insulin overdose with glucose in different forms. He discovered that the glucose should be as pure as possible. In Toronto, Canada, a 14-year-old boy, Leonard Thompson, was chosen as the first person with diabetes to receive insulin. The test was a success. Leonard, who before the insulin shots was near death, rapidly regained his strength and appetite. The team now expanded their testing to other volunteer diabetics, who reacted just as positively as Leonard to the insulin extract. In 1923 the Nobel Committee decided to award Banting and Macleod the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.