Radio Shack Catalog, Soviet Style
By James Grahame
We've written about the alternate universe of Soviet electronics before, but Paul Colella recently sent in a link to a catalog of electronic goodies from the USSR that makes my teeth tingle. The Katalog Tovarov Narodnogo Potrebleniya 1981 paraded the latest and greatest technology. Being able to afford it was another matter.
He says, "Our friends over at English-Russia have posted some 1980's Soviet goods p0rn. Most of the stuff looks like American goods from the 1970s but of particular coolness are the electronics. I'd love to get my hands on the portable organ/synth and what I think is some type of mixer."
The cameras look a bit too industrial (in fact, I have a Krasnogorsk 16mm movie camera with the same lens as the bottom device), but the stereo looks like it escaped from a Radio Shack catalog. Hmm. That might not be such a good thing...
Apparently, being on time was as big a deal behind the Iron Curtain as it was in the west.
Even the toys looked similar. Well, except for the fact that the designers had obviously never seen a Formula 1 car. The electronic kit on the right has a certain no-nonsense look to it as well -- I can easily imagine rows of them in schools, training future cell phone engineers.