Документы жизни и деятельности семьи Нобель том 5 - Мелуа А.И
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Oil business was quite new for Russia. The engineering intuition told the Nobels that oil and oil processing products had great future. The Nobels were quick to seize on this opportunity, using their experience in machine-building. The oil business prompted the Nobels to improve their approach to enterprise management. The fourth stage began with appearance of new Nobel factories and plants, which used oil to produce lubricants, kerosene, etc. Meanwhile, Ludwig Nobel Plant remained the top machine-building enterprise of the Nobel Family.
In addition to machinery, Nobel enterprises in Russia began producing very specific materials: refined oil products. These products were in demand all over the country by a large number of customers, representing enterprises of different scale. The Nobels had to solve the problem of delivering oil products to the end consumer. This started the fifth stage of improving the management process at Nobel enterprises. Ludwig, followed by his son Emanuil initiated and created a developed state-wide system of supplying oil products to Russia. This work included setting up the transportation infrastructure (oil pipelines, sea and river transportation routes, railroads and stations) and building numerous warehouses and terminals across Russia and in some other countries. New and effective solutions were found even for seemingly insignificant tasks and objectives. The entire transport part of the Nobel oil business was a thoroughly thought-through engineering project. The Nobels first made the convenient tare for retail sale of kerosene, designed typical barrel-making workshops, built tanker ships to transport oil (including sectional tankers that could pass through the Mariinsky Canal system), railroad cisterns, pumping equipment, specialized port equipment, devices for pumping oil products at sea, firefighting systems, and more.
At each stage of their activities the Nobels created unique engineering and organizational solutions for problems that they faced. One such example is the use of a new engine designed by Rudolf Diesel. In the late 19th century many countries conducted research on new engine types. Rudolf Diesel was one of the inventors working in this field. He offered a design that was met quite skeptically even in Germany. One of petroleum products was a substance now called diesel fuel. However, few had thought that diesel engines could be used in industry. It was perhaps E.L. Nobel’s experience with oil products that drove him to purchase from Rudolf Diesel the patent for diesel engines to be manufactured at the Ludwig Nobel Plant. As soon as they received
concept design drawings, the design department of the St. Petersburg plant started work on a series of diesel engines of various capacity. The new engines were immediately installed on military ships and civil vessels. The new experience was later adopted by other Russian enterprises.
The entrepreneurial activities of the Nobels grew and developed in the second half of the 19th century in cooperation and interaction with companies and experts from outside Russia. These contacts were facilitated by Alfred Nobel, people from other countries and expats working for Nobel companies, as well as experts from partner companies abroad. The so-called Viennese international relations (the System of the European concert) were being established in Europe at that time, and the notion of “great powers” was first established. Instead of waging wars, states gradually switched to negotiating peace treaties. Pacifists and opponents of war disseminated their ideas broadly; Alfred Nobel through his friendship with Bertha von Suttner became involved in one of the movements. Entrepreneurship became one of supporting pillars of this policy. Free international exchange of experts and ideas helped create unique conditions in Europe for development of the center of civilization in this region of the world. Important discoveries and remarkable technical inventions appeared at that time. International exhibitions in which the Nobels had participated, brought together hundreds of thousands of visitors. Most famous were the families of Nobel, Rothschild, Faberge, Tillander, Bolin, Krupp, Erickson, and others. The Nobels were not the only family with such engineering talents. However, the Nobel Family took a special place in modern history due to the phenomenal popularity of Alfred Nobel and the successful activities of the Nobel Foundation in the 20th century. There were only several dozens of such families in Russia, but their activities formed the foundation for welfare and progress of the civilization. They were the first to proclaim the ideas that 150 years later were called “European integration”. Their ideas formed a part of European policy, which defines our lives today. With global processes of the early 21st century this policy is starting to change.
One of the articles in this collection (by V. Ryaboy) discusses the work of the Nobel Family on creating submarines. The article describes tough competition in this sector. One of the main partners of the Nobel Family was the Baltiyskiy Plant. This plant continues building military ships to this day. Some of the buildings of the plant where the Nobels built their diesel-powered submarines have survived to this day. Photos from the present-day plant are presented.