Rīta Panorāma

Vatikānu Venēcijas biennālē pārstāv darbi sieviešu cietumā

Rīta Panorāma

EP balsos par atbalsta mehānismu Ukrainai un Rietumbalkāniem

Kolekcionē rakstāmmašīnas un aicina uz izstādi

Typewriter gift leads to a 200-strong museum collection

Four years ago, Aleksandrs Smirnovs gave his girlfriend, Aleksandra, a typewriter. At that time, he had no idea that it would be the start of something bigger. Four years have passed and now they have 200 different typewriters in their collection, all of them fully restored and in working order.

Aleksandrs is now the founder of "The Typewriter Museum" in Rīga, and about the fateful gift to his girlfriend, he explained: "I wanted to give her a gift as a future writer, which is her hobby – to get a typewriter, and restore it so that she could write on it."

Aleksandra says that she has written several stories and almost a whole book on her original typewriter. The pair became more and more interested in the obsolete but often beautiful technology, and by the end of the year they owned five typewriters. Over four years, the collection has grown to 200 exhibits.

When asked where they buy these items, they explained that there are various different sources – on domestic and foreign classifieds websites, in flea markets, and by special order from abroad.

Aleksandrs learned how to restore them on the Internet, and with the help of an international community of typewriter collectors that very helpful and responsive.

Each typewriter in the collection is different. They are produced in different countries - there are Italian, German, Swedish, American, Japanese, and Soviet products.

"They were not produced in Latvia, but quite a few typewriters were exported from Germany to Latvia. We had several representative offices here that offered typewriters with Latvian characters through these companies," he explained.

At the moment the collection is housed in Riga's Čiekurkalns district, at the quality of life design institute "Viskaļi", where anyone interested has the opportunity to see an exhibition dedicated to typewriters made in Germany.

Aleksandrs showed Latvian Television some of the exhibits: "This typewriter is an Olympia SV2 typewriter. It was produced shortly after the Second World War, in 1950. This factory has a special history. It was popular before the war. After the Second World War, it was in the occupation zone of the USSR but the management left the occupied territory with all the documentation, and over time this company became one of the world's most high-quality and popular manufacturers of typewriters."

Over the years, typewriters improved, became lighter, easier to operate, and eventually incorporated electronics.

"In principle, the electronic typewriter is almost a printer together with a computer and a keyboard, which is simply placed in one case. Compared to other typewriters, you can change the fonts, you can move things much more easily. But, of course, the authenticity, the typical noise of typewriters disappears and the 'ding' which is heard at the end of each line," said the collector.

In total, 21 antique typewriters can be seen at the exhibition. Most of them are in working order, depicting the development of German design trends.

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