Metal cabinet, painted in a red and
black snake skin motive, with gold coloured and white plastic
ornaments and a mirror scale in three colours. Two 1.5 W
loudspeakers, type 3GD-2, are placed on the left and
right hand side of the scale. The big glass scale, as
well as the red star above the scale are illuminated by
two scale lamps (6 volts, 0.28 Amps). The wave length
switch is situated below the scale. The tuning knob is
mounted on the axle of the wave length switch. Antenna,
earth as well as a connection for a gramophone and an
extra loudspeaker are situated at the rear of the radio.
After the death of Stalin, on March 5th,
1953, the Soviet Union wanted to show that the
repressive period was over. A cautious start was made
with the production of better household goods. During
after the war, the production of military goods was
considered more important. The radio is a copy of the
French Excelsior 52 radio.
In 1952 a group of Soviet diplomats was in Paris to
negotiate the future status of Austria, then still
occupied by the Soviet Union. An Excelsior 52 was given
to this delegation as a present.
There were many design problems. The
metal cabinet caused resonance in the audible range (between 1000
and 3000 Hz), that is why the inside of the cabinet is
covered with felt. This again led to higher internal
temperatures. New loudspeakers had to be designed for
the receiver as the quality of Russian loudspeakers was
not very high. The production of miniature tubes had
just started. These tubes were scarce and not all types
were available. That is why an older tube like the 6A7
was used. Also its too "Western" and at the
same time somewhat "vulgar" design, led to some
resistance in the political leadership.
But because of its "bourgeois-capitalist"
appearance the radio was very well received by consumers
in the Soviet Union. Other radios of that period had
rather drab designs. The radio is still eagerly
collected. The "second class radio, Zwezda 54" (Star 54)
was produced from the middle of the year 1954 until 1960
by two factories:
in Moscow and Коммунар (Kommunar)
in Charkow. The logo "ИШ"
on the back panel
is a sort of trade mark for consumer goods.
The first models (made in Charkow) had a vertical chassis;
later models had a horizontal chassis. The cabinet was
made in the colours
red, brown and green.
The knobs from left to right: tone
control in six steps (three for gramophone and three for
the radio itself), wave length switch, on/off/volume