Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Swedish telephone of the Russian Tsar Nakolai II

Lars Magnus Ericsson opened a telephone plant in St Petersburg in 1900. The Russian factory became Lars Magnus Ericsson's baby. At one time, he even considered transferring core operations from Stockholm to St Petersburg. When Czar Nicolas II made an official visit to Moscow, Ericsson supplied a special switch to the Kremlin, to which a number of telephones in the palace were connected. The Czar himself used telephones in the shape of a dachshund with ornamentation in gold and ivory. Ericsson's Russian operations experienced strong growth and were normally profitable, particularly during World War I. During the October Revolution, however, all of Ericsson's Russian assets, which together with accounts receivable were estimated at SEK 20 million, were nationalized. The assets included not only the telephone plant in Petrograd (as St Petersburg was renamed), but also the newly established Telefonbyggnads AB in Moscow. Several attempts by Ericsson to negotiate with the Soviet authorities proved fruitless.
Written by Jan Kruse for http://www.ericssonhistory.com/
Photo 1. Telephone, the 1892 model, specially designed for the Russian Tsar. Here together with a Dialog with keypad. Archive: Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson
Photo 2. Ericsson’s plant in St. Petersburg. Early 1900s. Archive: Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson