5. Czechoslovakia after WWII

Marco Berti (Italy), Martin Hajek, and Antonin Svec (Czechia) provided me with some some historical information about the radio plants and the political and industrial situation in Czechoslavakia at the time of birth of some of my radios. Czechoslowakia had always been technically advanced, there were many radio factories and the population was among the most educated and culturally advanced of the world; only after the Second World War, under communism, there was a decline.

After the last Nazis escaped and the Russians entered Prague on May 8, 1945, the Czechs had free elections in early 1946, Benes was prime minister and the strongest party was the Communist. A couple of years of freedom followed, but in early 1948 Stalin decided to "normalize" Czechoslowakia, Benes mysteriously died and Klement Gottwald, a Stalin adept, took complete power. He was so bound to his big idol that he even died just one week after Stalin (in 1953).

Philips Elektra and Tesla

The process of abolition of private factories had begun well before Gottwald's coup: in 1947 most of the formerly private enterprises had been nationalized. The Philips manufacturing infrastructure became the Tesla radio plants and started (or continued) the production of small bakelite radios using a then innovative Philips circuit. During the first years of the Second World War, Philips developed a series of new tubes and a new circuit using them. The revolutionary circuit was adopted in many sets, starting with the Philetta 203U of 1941, produced in various countries including the then "Protectorate of Bohemia - Moravia". Also this Talisman 305U was designed, in the Tesla Hloubetin plant in Prague, on the basis of the UCH21, UCH21, UBL21, and UY1N tubes. However, what made this little radio so attractive and famous was not the circuitry inside, but its compact and elegant design; compare the radio to the Philips 208U (1944). Virtually the same design and the same chassis were used in four radio types (with different cabinets): the 305U, 306U, 307U, and 308U. Production of the 308U continued until 1958 and altogether over one million radios of this design were sold.

In the Western countries the circuit was abandoned since 1950. In Czechoslovakia, with no competition and no import-export with competitive countries, innovation was not a major issue, and besides, the radios were actually very good and well built. Tesla used the four-tube principle (with addition of a magic eye in some models) until the late nineteen fifties with only minor modifications. I was even reported implementation with the Noval tubes ECH81, ECH81, EL84, but have never seen such a radio.

Coming home...

I have visited the Czech and Slovak republics several times for my work and have brought home the following radios from there.
1939- Sigma Rekord
1948- Tesla Rytmus
1949- Tesla Talisman 305
1949- Tesla Romance
1949- Tesla Talisman 306
1952- Tesla Talisman 306U
1957- Tesla 521A
1957- Tesla 420U
1958- Tesla 315A
1959- Tesla Minor Duo 3002
1960- Tesla Tenor 426A
1960- Tesla T2800
1960- Orion Orionette 1004-1
1965- Ross RE-714
1972- Alpinist 405
1975- Signal 402, defective clock
1975- Signal 402, with working clock
1976- Sokol 308
1978- Rossia 303
1978- Rossia 303 (red)
1980- Neywa 402
1980- Olimpia 402
1980- Sokol 403
1981- Bakelite Multimeter
1982- Selga 405
1983- Signal 304
2010- Kipo 308
2012- UKC MD-1800

Other Eastern sets

On top of the sets I imported myself, I have (or have had) a few more radio's from Eastern Europe in my collection.
1959 - Orion R636F Velence (Four tube circuit)
1959 - Sonatina 6175
1965 - RFT Orienta 5860
1967 - RFT EO1/71a
1972 - Etude 603
1975 - VEF 202
1975 - VEF 206
1975 - Russian C1-5
1975 - VEF Vega 206
1980 - URT Iliria
1983 - VEF Spidola 232
1983 - Russian Tse4315
1983 - Russian Tse4341
1996 - Beetle Activity Monitor 17