The Šipad furniture factory was among the largest and most well-known in the former Yugoslavia. After the war, in 1948, the People’s Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina re-launched the pre-war company ŠIPAD, with its headquarters in Sarajevo. Šipad was primarily recognised for producing various high-quality furniture items, including beds, wardrobes, tables, armchairs, sofas, and famous bookcases. It consisted of 25 work organizations, 239 cooperatives, 29 work communities, the Šipad Bank, and approximately thirty representative offices in Europe and the Middle East. At the height of its production the company employed 84,500 individuals in BiH and other republics. Šipad’s products were popular and sold throughout Yugoslavia, with a significant portion made for export. Due to war-related devastation, post-war import competition, and privatization, Šipad found itself in financial difficulties. This industrial giant, which once dominated daily life in Yugoslavia, ceased its operations in the early 21st century. Nevertheless, some companies continue to use the illustrious term Šipad in their names.
Phone Iskra ETA 80
The “Iskra ETA 80” was a Yugoslav landline telephone model that went into production in 1978. “Iskra” was a giant of electrical engineering, fine mechanics, and design based in the Slovenian city of Kranj. A unique product of elegance and industrial design, it was trendy throughout Yugoslavia (with 5 million copies sold) and abroad, especially in the USA. Davorin Savnik, the designer of this “electric telephone apparatus” (ETA) received numerous awards and accolades both in Yugoslavia and worldwide for this design.
However, the design was not globally patented by Iskra, which resulted in numerous unauthorized reproductions. It is estimated that over 300 million phones with identical designs have been sold internationally. Today, “Iskra ETA 80” is on permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) and the Museum of Modern Art in Munich.
TV Set EI Niš
Electronic Industry (EI) was one of the major factories in Yugoslavia, manufacturing televisions, radios, and other electronic devices. The factory was founded in Niš in 1948. In 1951, it produced its first radio device. Over the years, EI manufactured six million televisions, twelve million radios, fifty million electronic tubes, and one hundred million semiconductor components. Popular and distributed throughout the country, EI Niš products were also exported abroad. EI Niš possessed 50 companies across Yugoslavia and employed 28,000 people.
Due to the wars and economic sanctions imposed on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, EI Niš experienced market loss and difficulties acquiring parts and materials. After 2000, EI Niš underwent several reorganizations and privatizations, resulting in its closure in 2016.
Typewriter UNIS TBM
UNIS Tvornica biro mašina (UNIS TBM – bureau machine factory) was founded in 1971 in Bugojno (BiH) to manufacture portable typewriters and electronic cash registers, and copiers for the Yugoslav and international market. In cooperation with the German Olympia and the Italian Olivetti, TBM sold over 6 million copies of its machines in 120 countries and in over 100 languages. In the 1980s, the company employed 2,700 people, including approximately 60 engineers, and produced about 500,000 office equipment items per year. Unfortunately, this once-thriving business was wiped out during the Bosnian conflict resulting in the destruction of this successful company.
RIZ Tape Recorder
Radio Industry Zagreb (RIZ) was established in 1948 by the government of the People’s Republic of Croatia to manufacture radio transmitters. Over time, RIZ expanded its production to include radio and television receivers, turntables, loudspeakers, amplifiers, transistors, electronic tubes, tape recorders, military VHF equipment, calculators, and computers. In the 1960s, RIZ entered the international market with much demanded high-power transmitters, exporting them to 25 countries.
In 1956, RIZ manufactured the first TV set in Yugoslavia (Model 101) under license from the Dutch company Philips. In the same year, Television Zagreb began broadcasting as the first Yugoslav television station. Already in 1959, RIZ designed its own TV set. At the height of its production, it employed 4,000 workers.
The enterprise ceased operations in 1991. Today, only the joint-stock company “RIZ transmitters” remains, which today produces transmitters and electricity meters.
From the mid-1980s to the end of the 1990s, video recorders, and cassettes became an indispensable part of Yugoslav households. The VHS, or Video Home System, created by the Victor Corporation of Japan (JVC) in the mid-1970s, eventually replaced Sony’s Betamax cassettes in the 1980s. As video clubs began to emerge in Yugoslavia in the late 1980s, the import of well-known brands of video recorders and VHS cassettes increased. Video recorders enabled the viewing, sharing, and copying of films, series, TV programs, and pornography, as well as documentaries, political events, but also war atrocities. With the introduction of DVD recorders, discs, and online content in the early 2000s, video recorders progressively fell out of use.