Transistor Radios Around the World

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1959 Eltra MOT-59

Coat pocket portable, thermoplastic cabinet
6 1/4 x 3 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches / 159 x 89 x 38 mm
2-band LW/MW, five transistors (Philips, OC44, 2x OC45, OC71, OC72, + one diode)
Superheterodyne circuit
Four 1.5-volt cells
Manufactured by Eltra / Zaklady Radiowe; Bydgoszcz, Poland

Poland's first transistor radio, a coat pocket radio. The white "Eltra" logo on the cabinet face is raised-lettering plastic, a separate element from the cabinet. The green dial center is plastic, not metal. The tuning dial numbers are printed in a drop-shadow graphic font. The back half of the cabinet is white, or "ivory". (And note the bright blue color of the cabinet's inside face, visible in one of the chassis photos below — this was the cabinet plastic's true color, and I suspect that the cabinet's much more appealing blue-green color came about simply from UV exposure over the years.)

This Eltra gets my vote for the most "retro"-looking transistor radio to have come out of all of Europe in the 1950s, both East and West. Even though this example of the MOT-59 was produced in 1960, it's a somewhat rare radio and one of my most treasured.

This is a 2-band, LW/MW radio, yet it has only MW frequency numbers on its dial: collector Joseph Arszennik has noted on his Radiomuseum page that the LW "band" in fact was fixed to one station only: "Warsaw 1" (227 kHz) — thus, no need for LW tuning on the dial! Actually, this wasn't any sort of conspiracy by the Communist overlords — a number of western European transistor radio models employed this same cost-cutting technique (Great Britain's 1962 Dansette RT66 and Perdio PR33 models are two examples, their LW "bands" set to 200 kHz, BBC's “Light Programme” station). The Eltra's LW/MW band switch is located on the top side of the radio, over the tuning dial, the bands designated by "SR" (MW) and "DL" (LW) (see photo below).

Joseph Arszennik has also pointed out on his Radiomuseum page that the first Eltra MOT-59 model employed Telefunken transistors and later models used Philips transistors. Poland's own TEWA manufacturing plant didn't begin producing transistors until 1960, and then only AF transistors for the first year or two — while some units of the 1960/61 Koliber MOT-601 may have incorporated several TEWA transistors (and maybe the 1961 Czar portable radio did as well), it's fairly likely that the 1963 Koliber 2 was the first Polish transistor radio to routinely employ Polish-made transistors.

1959 Eltra MOT-59

chassis — click on the photo for a larger image

chassis — click on the photo for a larger image

the dial on the right-hand side is the band switch
knob, with designations of "SR" (MW) and "DL" (LW)

inside back face schematic (from a different example of the MOT-59)

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