Soviet Copy-Paste of Gadgets

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Let’s see what gadgets were popular in the USSR and where the idea of their manufacturing came from.

In 1980 almost every Soviet family had an electronic device that had actually been a good copy of gadgets produced by Nintendo company.

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Soviet specialists were very good at copying foreign gadgets and loved to do that without paying any attention to copyright compliance policy. The idea of the gadget construction was born in Japan. Once a game developer who worked for Nintendo company noticed how another employee was playing with the keys of a calculator and decided to create a small electronic gadget that could be used both as a watch and as a game.

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The idea was appreciated by the management of Nintendo company. Game & Watch was manufactured in 1980. After coming across the novelty, the Soviet government commanded to respond with a similar game. They bought several Japanese gadgets and sent them to a factory for close examination. That is how the Soviet version of the game arose.

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Apple II computer manufactured in 1977 turned its founders into millionaires. Around 6 million similar computers were produced in total. And again the Soviet government decided that a computer is a good invention. Soviet scientists developed Agate PC considering the architecture and software of Apple II.

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It should be mentioned that a Soviet PC was not an exact copy of Apple II as domestic element base was used. It had a design of its own and another software. The PC was produced till 1993. Agate PC was used for studying and was supplied with two switchboards. By the way, one such model was presented at CeBIT exhibition in spite of the copyright abuse.

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In 1980 family PCs were very popular throughout the world. ZX Spectrum manufactured by Sinclair company was the most popular model.

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The Soviet computer Bite produced in 1980 had the KP1858BM1 processor that was a complete analog of ZiLOG Z80 installed in original ZX Spectrum. However, Bite was also different from the original. It was much larger than ZX Spectrum, had a four-position joystick, etc. The PC was very popular in the USSR. Over 65 000 computers were produced till 1996.

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Salute camera was created considering the Hasselblad 1600F model produced since 1948.

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The two cameras look alike but differ at the same time. The Soviet model used a bayonet of its own and was known as a gadget of a very high quality. Salute in various modifications was manufactured till 1980 whereas the last 1600F model was manufactured in 1953.

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It should be mentioned that many items were not stolen and were invented in the USSR. Thus, air conditioners BK were produced in Baku in 1970. The factory in Baku manufactured up to 500 000 air conditioners a year. 12 000 items were exported both to socialistic and capitalistic countries.

via omgadget

15 thoughts on “Soviet Copy-Paste of Gadgets”

  1. The Salute cameras, and other Soviet Hasselblad copies are known as “Hasselnyets” in North America. There was also a few differant Soviet copies of the Pentax K-1000, all the soviet copies of the mentioned cameras were known for being inexpensive and incredibly rugged cameras.

  2. i hope you are not suggesting the common window air conditioner was invented in ussr? available in us from late 50’s? what was truly invented in ussr? i really want to know.

  3. Hmm.. I think the space ball called “Sputnik” was invented in ussr. All other was just copy-s.
    Cars, scooters, all.. There was some good scientist in ussr, but in general russians was making copies instead of inventing something. and the copies was also not very good quality becouse they always added some changes to them.
    But fact is that in that time ordinary soviet people thought that it is all invented in big ussr. Becouse they lived in world of illusion greated by government. And there was no SAT-TV to know what is going on in other countries and border was also closed.
    Been there, seen that..
    I also had this Nu Pogody game, it actually cost too much but was fun at that time 🙂

  4. Sputnik was designed in the USSR, and the first successful satellite to orbit the earth. But there’s a difference between being first to release a working model and actually inventing a something new. And frankly Americans were more impressed with, and shocked by, the rocket that put it into space rather then Sputnik itself.

  5. Being first to invent something isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anyway. Being first to successfully capitalize on it is what really matters. Apple didn’t invent the MP3 player, Smartphone, or Tablet computers… they just did it better. I could say they didn’t invent the personal computer either, but they didn’t do it better imo either. Can’t win them all.

  6. BK air conditioners were not invented in the USSR …The manufacturing plant was built in Baku
    by Japan and the first group of local engineers and technicians were trained in Japan too. I would say those air cond. units were among few consumer products the Soviets obtained legally thru manifacturing patents along with LADA cars (FIAT).

  7. copying is not a problem. it usually improves on the original model. things get prototyped and re-packaged all the time. the AK47 was based on a German army model. Obviously when they were defeated they stopped making it and everything fell under the “USSR” brand. Like I said copying isn’t a problem. Only Westerners cry and say “but it’s just not fair….”. China is wiping it’s backside with patent protection documents and laughing at the same time. Western countries have no idea what’s going on in manufacturing because all they want to do is buy off-the-shelf.


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