In early 20th century Kolchugin Partnership of copper-rolling factories was one of the leading enterprises in Russian metallurgy industry. Pots, kettles, samovars bearing trade-mark of Kolchugin factories Partnership are still preserved in the village houses and in the Russian antiquity lovers’ collections.
The purpose of this article is to study the history of the Kolchugin factory foundation and development from 1871 (the construction start) till V.I. Shtutser, managing director, resignation in 1907.
Firstly, it is necessary to study the biography of the founder of the factory A.G. Kolchugin. He was born on the 15th of July, 1839 in Moscow in a big merchant family. almost nothing is known of his childhood and young years. But we know quite a lot about his ancestors. The dynasty founder was A.G. Kolchugin’s great-grandfather Nikita Nikiforovitch Kolchugin. He owned copper-forging factory in the village of Raysemyonovskoe, Serpukhov district, Moscow gubernia. The factory had outdated hydraulic mechanisms, a water hammer and furnace. After his father’s death Alexander Kolchugin inherited this factory.
In the mid-19th century there worked a small metal factory in Vasilevskoe village, Yuriev district of Vladimir Gubernia. Its owner was Nikolay Mitkov, a brother of a Decembrists Mikhail Mitkov. After his death in 1865 merchant A. Solovyov bought the factory and tried to expand the production manufacturing paper instead. Solovyov was unable to reequip the production on an industrial scale and had to sell his factory to Kolchugin.
In the spring of 1871 began the construction of the three workshops. In May 1871, there were built houses for workers, an office building, three dining rooms, public baths, and medical aid post. at the end of May 1871 the first Kolchugin factory produce was represented at the Yuriev-Polsky fair. In May 1872 the factory manager N.I. Kozlov got a license from the Vladimir administrative departments. Further production development required funds. The German company "Vogau and Company" gave Kolchugin a credit of 100 thousand rubles. Vogau Company monopolized the production of copper.
First the factory suffered heavy losses. This was due to the fact that small power equipment entailed a great waste of finished products. Kolchugin cooperation with the German company allowed to employ foreign masters. A rolling master A.F. Buhstein became a plant manager. In 1881 the partnership had to buy some new equipment abroad. Due to the production expansion and the modern technology introduction a mechanical engineer position was introduced. The workers’ living conditions significantly improved. At the beginning of the 1880s 297 people worked at the factory. By the end of 1886 the factory profit increased up to 1.5 million rubles.
In 1887, the Partnership board nominated V.I. Shtutser for the position of manager. Vladimir Shtutser was born in 1860 in Medyn, Kaluga gubernia. He graduated from Moscow Higher Technical School, worked in Philadelphia (USA), where for two years he was able to become a foundry master. In 1884 V.I. Shtutser was appointed to a mechanical engineer position. Three years later he became a manager and served in that position until 1907.
The work of V.I. Shtutser as the factory manager could be divided into three areas: factory equipment modernization, personnel policy and the socio-cultural transformation of workers’ village, which appeared in 1886.
In 1895 seven brick premises were built for shaped castings, rolling, wire and tableware manufacturing. In 1899 construction of a large shop for brass manufacturing began, it was launched in 1901. In 1901, the factory capacity was 4523 tons. During these years, it produced about 3000 samovars annually. Kolchugin factory samovars were in great demand among. V.I. Shtutser was able to expand production significantly and introduced modern technology. He used the experience of German engineers, such as technician A. Ross, chemist F. Magnau, builder W. Piotrowsky. In 1896 a wooden hotel was built for accommodation of the specialists from other places.
In 1901 dining room for workers accommodating 500 people was built. In 1899 public baths were built for the workers. In 1902 the People's House was built, it became the center of cultural life. On weekends workers participated in performances staged at the People's House. Much attention was paid to the development of sports. In 1903 Metallist sports society was organized in the village, there took place the trainings in football, weight-lifting. So V.I. Shtutser put the beginning to the social and cultural life formation of workers’ village.
in such a way the Kolchugin factory at the first stage of its development took a rightful place in Russia’s metallurgical industry development. This factory not only became one of the leading enterprises of its brunch, but also put the beginning for the workers’ village formation, which later on become a town of Kolchugino, a metallurgical centre in the Vladimir Region.
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