Nostalgia is typed in bold letters here

P. Venkitarama Iyer at his AVP Museum of Typewriters at Kidagamparambu, Alappuzha.

P. Venkitarama Iyer at his AVP Museum of Typewriters at Kidagamparambu, Alappuzha.

Click-clack, click-clack, ding! For older generations, the sounds of typewriters are now memories of a past era, while many in the younger generations have never heard the noise. With the advent of computers and other typing gadgets, the once ubiquitous typewriters are a rare sight these days.

That said, a narrow lane at Kidagamparambu in Alappuzha leads to AVP Museum of Typewriters — home to a small but diverse and exceptional collection of writing machines, some almost a century old. The museum, which displays 25 portable, electric-electronic typewriters that date back to different periods in the 20th century with English, Malayalam and Hindi characters, cyclo styling machines and old computers, is claimed to be the first-of-its-kind in the State.

Why the museum

P. Venkitarama Iyer has established the typewriter museum as tribute to his father V. Parameswara Iyer, who had set up AVP institute, a typewriting training centre, in 1946, and to keep the rich legacy of the typewriter. “The typewriter has revolutionised writing. But its legacy is in danger of disappearing. Many youngsters are unaware of the antiquated device. The museum offers an insight into the history of the typewriter. My plan is to increase the number of writing machines on display in the museum to 100 by 2027,” he says.

Among the typewriters at the museum is a Remington-16 model with a right-hand line-space lever used by Parameswara Iyer who died in 2001. According to Venkitarama Iyer, his father bought the second-hand machine in 1946 when he started the institute. It is still working. “Right-hand levers were used in older machines. The Remington-16 was manufactured in 1934. Almost all the typewriters in the museum, despite their old age, are in working condition,” says Venkitarama Iyer. Entry to the museum is free for the public.

Its heydey

The AVP Institute was relaunched as AVP Institute of Commerce in 1949 and there was a time when 420 students attended typing classes in batches from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. on 42 machines. The institute still offers typing lessons. But the number of students has declined from hundreds to fewer than 10.

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Printable version | May 27, 2022 10:16:49 pm |