Документы жизни и деятельности семьи Нобель том 5 - Мелуа А.И
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Members of the Nobel Family and engineers of their enterprises were not employed as state officials in any bodies of authority. However, exerting influence on public organizations and using the privileges granted to large companies, the Nobels directly affected the development of Russian economy.
The Russian Technical Society, created in 1866 (in addition to the Free Economic Society created in 1765), played an important role in public life and development of Russia. L.E. Nobel and D.I. Mendeleev
* Arkady I. Melua, professor, the General Director and Editor-In-Chief of the Scientific Publishing House «Humanistica».
managed the Commission of the Transcaucasian Oil Pipeline in these Societies. In 1884 L.E. Nobel was elected honorary member of the Standing Commission on Technical Education of the Russian Technical Society. Regular meetings and congresses of the Society were held in St. Petersburg and discussed important issues in Russian economy. Offices of the Society in other cities cooperated with the offices of the Nobel Brothers’ Partnership in those cities.
During the first several years of their active work (1850s - 1860s) the Nobels focused on developing a single plant, which established productive partnerships with suppliers of materials and small parts. This was how they founded their first plant in St. Petersburg, and this was how they managed their new plant in the beginning of their operations.
Ludwig Nobel Plant was created on October 1, 1862 - 150 years later. The book, published by the Nobels in 1912 about this plant, is represented in this volume. It is not only the anniversary, however, that attracted our attention to this book that has not been republished after its initial publication (see Syasko’s article in this volume). It was in that single publication during the Nobels’ lifetime that the directions and results of the family’s activities in Russia were most scrupulously documented (as compared to other publications by the Nobels). This book was written at the time when on the one hand the works of the Nobels had proven the effectiveness of their policy to the public, and on the other hand it was already the second decade of the Nobel Foundation activities in the country.
In the introduction the authors describe in detail not only the circumstances of how the plant was created but the biographies of the Nobel Family as well. Although the title mentions the St. Petersburg Plant, the book also covers the activities of the Nobels in other European countries, and on other enterprises, including the work on explosive substances. The book names several Russian experts who cooperated with the Nobels on these projects; however, according to archives, by 1912 the Nobels cooperated closely with hundreds of leading Russian scholars and engineers. Most of them represented chemical and oil industries, mining, shipbuilding, the military sector, the transport sector and banking.
The book gives no information on the Nobels’ work with explosives. Some indirect data show that the dynamite made by Alfred Nobel was used in mining activities on the Caucasus. However, as much as Russian archives tell us, Russia had never used the dynamite produced by the Nobels. Most likely this can be explained by the fact that all explosives is Russia were manufactured in accordance with a national program with good results, and the Russian government immediately classified the information.
The first Nobel Plant in Russia, founded by the father of the family Emanuil Emanuilovich Nobel, was opened immediately after the Nobels moved to St. Petersburg in 1838. It mostly catered to government orders. From the early years on, main St. Petersburg plants had cooperated with the Nobel Plant. Putilov Plant, for instance, worked with the Nobel Plant on manufacturing screw starters. Mines and cannon armaments were manufactured on the first Nobel plant. The equipment of the plant, its machinery, and the expertise of its foremen were all geared toward serving the orders of the Sea Department. E.E. Nobel’s mines were complemented by analogous products developed since the late 19th century by Russian experts (including Boris Semenovich Yakobi).
In 1859 Emanuil Nobel and his three sons (Robert, Alfred and Emil) returned to Stockholm; Ludwig remained in St. Petersburg. All later activities of the Nobels outside Russia were centered around inventing and manufacturing explosives; their achievements in this area spread across many countries. Even in the present-day Czech Republic this year we found the old constructions in the mountainous area of the country where Alfred Nobel had experimented with dynamite.
Meanwhile in Russia Ludwig continued his father’s business, working to gradually turn the Nobel Family business in Russia into a state-wide program of significance not only for Russia but for a number of European countries as well. Reports by Nobel companies contain information on purchases of shares of foreign enterprises, with which the Nobels had had common production plans.