Welcome comrade, to a special edition of Soviet “Show & Tell”, where we take a look back at the wackiest inventions and products that came out of the USSR. From the things they made to the things they never quite got around to doing, you can’t deny the Soviets certainly had ambition…
This Epic Snow Mobile
Known as the Sever-2 Aerosan, built for the Soviet military in the 1950s.
Lots of Robots
The Soviet Union, unsurprisingly, was really good at building robots. Above we have Stainless Administrator, the mechanical robot designed and built by a ingenious Soviet acrobat, athlete and illusionist Anatoly Sokol, pictured with his creation in the USSR 1966.
More photos of Russian robots here.
They were pretty good at playing human Jenga as demonstrated at this rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the 1980 Olympics, held in Moscow.
Porcelain Space Dogs
A popular novelty item sold in the USSR after Laika the dog became the first living Earth-born creature (other than microbes) in orbit, aboard Sputnik 2 on November 3rd, 1957. The collector’s items fetch a pretty penny on eBay.
The First Mobile Phone
The “Altai“, a phone the size of today’s smartphones, which allowed user to call other “Altai”, phone booths or conventional telephone landlines. It went on sale in the Soviet Union in 1963, ten years before the introduction of the “first mobile phone” from Motorola.
This Dreamy Art Deco Multiline Rotary Telephone
A friendly reminder that Tetris was made in the Soviet Union in 1989.
An Apple Computer Replica
The Agat 4, an Apple II clone, that was the most popular PC produced in the Soviet Union.
Soviet Smart Home Concept, Sphinx
“A Super Functional Integrated Communicative System” that looks like it’s straight out of a 1970s Hollywood sci-fi flick.
This Giant Listening Device in Cherynobyl
A former top secret military object used by the Soviet Union, speculation suggested the giant antenna was used as a form of Soviet mind control. Still to this day, the full extent of the nature of its use during the Cold War, remains unanswered. More about that here.
Above: SARB Start, USSR, 1960’s. Gotta love a van with fins
Pictured above, The Katomobil, an Amphibious car built by the Demidov brothers (1966)/
Above: The Auto-aeromobil, USSR 1966. “The engine did not power the wheels, but the propeller. On the road the vehicle reached a speed of 120 km/h. In the snow on skis a speed of 80 km/h was achieved. On water as an amphibious car, a speed of 50 km/h could be obtained.”
The GAZ-16 Soviet hover car, 1962.
Galactic Bumper Cars?
I wonder if the prototype exists…
The Couples’ Funicular
As seen in Crimea. Yalta, 1968. Soviet Ukraine.
Rounded Household Appliances
More fabrics we probably shouldn’t be lusting after.
The Epic Jet Train
Now abandoned somewhere in Siberia.
Big Plans for Buildings that were never Built
The Palace of the Soviets, a monument to the glories of the USSR – complete with a giant statue of Lenin at the tippity-top. They blew up the Cathedral of Christ the Savior to make room for the palace in the center of Moscow. (The 1860 Cathedral had been the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world.) World War II started and the steel and concrete that would have gone into the monument was re-purposed for bridges and infrastructure instead. They flooded the circular foundation built for a tower with water and turned it into a giant swimming pool.
The Aeroflot building, planned to be sited at Belorussky Station, was designed by architect D. Chechulin as a monument to the heroism of Soviet aviation. The project was not realized.
Another building designed by Dmitry Chechulin in the 30s, never built…
During the cold war period and into the 1980s, this rusting behemoth was once part of a fleet of vessels which rose out of the water at high speed and were considered the heroes of the Russian riverways.
Most of them are now rusting away in a Russian forest.
And that concludes our Show & Tell of “Things Soviets Made”!