Behind the deceivingly ordinary blue shutters on the Old Taluk Cutchery Road lies a quiet treasure-trove of machinery and artefacts. Since 1872, the workplace of V B Soobbiah & Sons, Printers & Publishers, has been accumulating a wide assortment of rare and ancient machines, cars, tools, and other antiques.
The company was established in 1872 by V B Soobbiah and has since been passed down four generations to V B Viswanath and his son, Raghunath, who currently run the business. V B Soobbiah & Sons was the first press to be established in Bengaluru.
It was initially located near the Tipu Sultan Fort and has been shifted around a few times before finally settling down in its current location on OTC Road.
In the 146 years since these Printers & Publishers set up shop, printing technology has advanced immensely. Like all others in the business, Soobbiah and his sons have had to keep pace with the changes, which it has done, as it continues to screen and offset printing. It has, however, remained rooted in its origins.
As one enters the shop, two vintage cars catch the eye. The vehicles have been painstakingly well-maintained and make appearances in the occasional car shows and rallies.
Even after some of the older machinery have been rendered obsolete, they still remain in the press as silent survivors of ages long gone. A Golden Jobber, an embossing machine; a Super Egeria, and a Japanese printing and cutting machine from 1872 are among the old machines still in the shop.
Old photographs, clocks, furniture, and tools like hand-punching machines and jump clips also lie in the place. "It's a family passion to preserve everything. Nothing here ever gets lost or is discarded," says Raghunath.
Among the long list of customers are distinguished persons like politician Veerappa Moily, who used to get his poems published here.
There has been no lack of appreciation for the work done here. V B Sreekantaiah, who took over the business from his father Soobbiah, was once sent a gold medal by the Maharaja of Mysore for the service rendered by him.
However, Sreekantaiah refused the medal, saying he had just done his job and nothing more. Along with the business, every generation has passed down the family values and tradition, ensuring that the proud name lives on.