This remarkable piece of equipment is called the Kuba Komet. It was manufactured by the KUBA Corporation in Wolfenbüttel, West Germany, from 1957 to 1962. The recommended retail price for the Komet was 2,798 Deutschmarks, or roughly $1250, which correlates to about $10,500 in today’s dollars. (According to this Census Bureau report of 1960, the average income for a family in 1958 was $5,100.) It was a hefty item, weighing 289 pounds and is a little more than seven feet wide. It featured a television, a record player, a radio, eight speakers and a “TV tuner” in the bottom cabinet—if you were willing to pay a little extra you could get a “magneto-phone wire recorder” (a forerunner to the reel-to-reel and cassette audio recorders) as well as a remote control.
One of the Komet’s best features was that the big “sail” section of the unit could swivel. The blonde-colored wood is solid maple; the darker wood is wenge, a rare form of timber found only in sub-Saharan Africa.
Here’s a picture of the Kuba Komet with its bottom drawer open:
There are only about ten of them in existence, about half of them in North America. The Early Television Museum in Hilliard, Ohio, has one on display—since I live in Ohio, I should probably make a pilgrimage to check it out.
On this videokarma.org forum, the users complain about the unnecessary internal complexity of German electronics products from that era, as in, “Why use one part when we can use 15?” In 2011 a nonfunctioning Kuba Komet unit was auctioned for $3250, which isn’t such a bad price for the most awesome fixer-upper in the world. Although according to this thread, they’ve also been auctioned for about $8,000.