Sunday, November 23, 2014

The millionth Soviet radiola!

Nikolai Mikhailov.  Discovering the Soviet Union.  Moscow:  Progress Publishers, 1965.

An inspector checks the millionth radiola produced by the VEF Electrical Engineering Plant in Riga.
"Comrades!  We must ensure that it cannot pick up the degenerate American rock-and-roll!"

The VEF  firm (Latvian for Valsts elektrotehniskā fabrika or State Electrotechnical Factory) was one of the largest in the former Soviet Union.  Beginning in 1919, it went on to produce, among other things, the famous subminiature Minox spy camera, computers, one of the world's first monoplanes and even a motorcycle, the Pandera, whose 1937 design included an electric starter.  The company failed following the collapse of the Soviet Union.  It's beautiful factory in Riga is now an arts centre.

For more information, visit VEF:  The Rise and Fall of a Latvian Industrial Legend.

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