Any items that could be taken to be 'western' were instant status symbols.
People would keep empty cans like these to decorate their bathrooms to seem western. Such deodorants and soaps were commonly give as presents.
I'm not sure how many non-Hungarians would work out what this is.
This 'meal carrier' was (and still is) used to collect weekday lunches from communal kitchens, often for the whole family.
The bottom level was for the soup, the middle for the main course and the third for the dessert.
This was a very popular item in 80s' kitchens: a toaster, imported from the German Democratic Republic.
Every supermarket had two such grinders near the exit - one for grinding coffee, the other for poppy seed.
Many people bought coffee beans and would grind their coffee freshly before leaving the shop.
This children's programme became an institution: the teddy watching a short TV film before going to bed. Although a newer post-communist version was made, it doesn't compare.
It was sometimes difficult to guess what the package contained - in this case, it was mustard!
Salt. All basics - flour, sugar, rice - were packaged in paper bags (originally plain brown).
The price printed on the packaging was set by the state and all food cost the same all over the country.
To you: jeans;
to Hungarians: Farmer.
To you: Levis; in Magyar: Layviss.
(And Range-ler - Wrangler!)
An absolute status symbol - particularly if you were able to procure from the west.
TV was not available on Mondays (officially, so you would spend your time more profitably; probably, to save money).
The Evening Exercises were on every night - and lots of people did them at home with the presenter! (Just a short excerpt, but un-missable!)
Probably the most used washing powder for those lucky owners of the Hajdú washing machine.
Left: intro. to the programme
Above: the end of the programme
These plastic objects were for making pasta - I'm still not sure how...
This was the 80s' state-of-the-art washing machine - a Hajdú automatic. On the spin cycle they bounced around the bathroom - banging into the walls, breaking floor tiles, and all your neighbours knew who was doing their washing.
A public telephone. Red for international calls; yellow for domestic ones.
Either way, they seldom worked - usually eating your money in the process. But you could easily wait 15 years to get a phone in your flat. Only about 1 in 7 Budapest flats was lucky enough to have a phone in the 80s.
I am sure many people still use one of these - it is a gadget for removing lids from jars. Very simple and very effective.
Photo copiers were complete
ly illegal as they could be used for disseminating anti-state propaganda.
When we arrived in Hungary we had to give a sample of the type-face from our typewriter to the police, in case we used it for such illicit purposes.
This plastic container was for medicated talcum powder. Packaging was the least important aspect of goods during the communist years.
Another product from Germany that people were happy to have in their bathrooms, both for its quality and its 'westerness'.