On March 21 (April 3 in the modern calendar), 1801, the St Petersburg Iron Foundry was founded. At that time, the enterprise fulfilled orders for artillery ammunition. The first director of the plant was Charles Gascoigne, a leading British engineer and industrialist, who was well known in Russia at the time.
From 1812 onwards, the plant began to manufacture steam engines and move into machine building. Around this time, the plant’s specialists mastered ironwork and began to create sculptures and architectural ensembles for St Petersburg and its suburbs: casting details for the Narva Triumphal Arch, sculptures and casting for the Lion and Bank bridges, and more. The fruits of that labor adorn the city to this day.
In 1824, the plant was almost completely destroyed after a massive flood. Pushkin describes the event in his poem The Bronze Horseman. The next 40 years were a period of struggle for the plant’s survival.
Artillery ammunition. On March 21 (April 3), 1801, the first cannonball was cast. This is the day on which the plant’s anniversary is celebrated
Charles Gascoigne (1737–1806)
A Scottish and Russian metallurgist, mechanic, gunsmith, and inventor, awarded the rank of “active state councilor.” Managed the St Petersburg Iron Foundry until 1806
The first statues: the lions guarding the Yelagin Palace were products of the St. Petersburg State Foundry
In 1868, the plant was acquired by the renowned Russian engineer and entrepreneur Nikolai Ivanovich Putilov. Over the next 12 years, he significantly increased the plant’s output and expanded its product range. The enterprise was known as the “Putilov Plant” from 1868 to 1922.
The plant became the main supplier of rails for Russia’s railroads, high-quality steel, and ammunition and cars. Many types of product were manufactured using bespoke technology.
Under Putilov, the foundations were laid for diversified production and professional excellence. A school, library, hospital, pharmacy, and canteen were opened, a park created, and a theater constructed.
The rails manufactured by Nikolai Putilov used an innovative design: a strong steel cap piece was welded onto old rails, which were then put back into operation. This innovation was put through its paces in February 1868. A 500-kilo cast-iron weight was dropped on Putilov’s rail. The rail came out unscathed. “Now let's try the English one,” ordered Putilov. The English rail cracked at once. This victory over England was celebrated right there on the factory floor.
Booklet: Iron Rolling and the Mechanical Plant of N. I. Putilov
Nikolai Ivanovich Putilov (1820–1880)
A Russian metallurgist, engineer, and entrepreneur,
and founder of the Society of Putilov Plants in St Petersburg. Awarded the rank of “active
The Novik destroyer, produced at the Putilov Plant, was considered
the best ship in its class
An advertisement for the Putilov Plant in St Petersburg
A vehicle-mounted artillery gun, the Russian army’s first anti-aircraft
A Putilov tram on the streets of Nizhny Novgorod
By 1914, the plant had become a major center of mechanical engineering and a Russian and European leader in locomotive building, artillery production, and shipbuilding.
Employees at the Putilov Plant were active in the workers’ movement at the beginning of the twentieth century, and played an important role in the revolutionary struggle and events of 1905–1907 and 1917. More than 10,000 of them fought on the fronts of the Civil War in 25 military units: detachments, regiments, battalions, and divisions.
Artillery pieces manufactured by the Putilov Plant
View of the Putilov Plant
May 12, 1917. Speech by V. I. Lenin at a meeting of workers at the Putilov Plant in May 1917
by Isaak Brodsky
Putilov Plant workers at a meeting concerning elections to the Petrograd Soviet
At that time, the plant produced:
Plant trademark, 1922
The first Fordson-Putilovets Russian tractor, a copy of the American
The Red Putilovite Plant
The renaming followed the murder of Sergei Mironovich Kirov. On December 17, 1934, just 16 days after the death of the first secretary of the Leningrad Regional Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks, the enterprise was renamed the Kirov Plant at the request of the plant’s workers.
Plant trademark, 1934
The Universal tractor and cultivator, a second-generation tractor. Produced at the Kirov Plant from 1934 to 1940
The enterprise is named the Kirov Plant
The Kirov Plant testing laboratory
In the autumn of 1941, most of the plant’s equipment and about 15,000 of its employees were evacuated to the Urals with their families. Here, at the Chelyabinsk Kirov Plant (the famous “Tankograd”), they produced “victory tanks”: KV and IS heavy tanks, as well as the self-propelled artillery guns mounted on them. Between late 1939 and May 1945, the plant produced more than 18,000 heavy tanks and self-propelled guns for the front (about 20% of the total).
Meanwhile, in the besieged Leningrad, the remaining plant employees were also working tirelessly for the front, continuing to repair tanks and armored vehicles and produce ammunition. During the blockade, 2,500 factory workers died of starvation and around 150 perished in bombing raids.
Production of self-propelled artillery units at the Chelyabinsk Kirov Plant
Checkpoint at the Kirov Plant during the Second World War
Production of ammunition at the Kirov Plant in Leningrad
Over the course of the war, the Kirov Plant produced 18,000 tanks and self-propelled
In the postwar years, the Kirov Plant went back to producing agricultural machinery. It has been producing Kirovets tractors since 1962. The K-700 has become the plant’s hallmark. Since the plant was first established, about 600,000 tractors have left the shop floor, 12,000 of which were exported to 14 countries around the world.
The Kirov Plant also moved into nuclear engineering, producing turbo-gear power units for 80% of nuclear submarines of all generations, as well as nuclear reactors for Russian Navy ships, a tanker fleet, and nuclear icebreakers.
The first Kirovets tractor leaves the gates of the Kirov Plant
A Kirovets K-700
View of the Kirov Plant
The Kirov Plant was one of the first state-owned enterprises to receive the status of joint stock company. When the plant was restructured during perestroika, its defense division was transformed. Initially, Kirovsky Zavod JSC included more than 20 subsidiaries. These changes helped the plant quickly switch to producing equipment in demand on the market.
A line of specialized machines for road construction and the oil and gas industries was created on the basis of the K-702 and K-703 industrial tractors. Onega and Ladoga armored vehicles, Maral forage harvesters, Tundra high-speed trenchers, half-tracks, self-propelled crawler cranes, and other equipment were also produced.
Turbine assembly on a test bench
Kirovets tractors at the plant
General Director of Kirovsky Zavod JSC Petr Semenenko next to a promising model of a Kirovets tractor
Kirovsky Zavod continues to produce agricultural machinery to this day. Kirovets tractors have seen success in foreign markets and are used for up to 40% of agricultural work in Russia.
Since 2013, Kirovsky Zavod has been designing, manufacturing, and testing steam turbine units and other key equipment for the latest Russian nuclear icebreakers for Project 22220. The only universal test bench in Russia for ships and ship turbines was modernized to fulfill this order.
Another new line of business is the production of drilling rigs for industries such as engineering geology, hydrogeology, and seismic exploration.
The construction of a high-tech production facility for special steels and alloys for the automotive and oil industries, power engineering, engine building, and aerospace is in the pipeline.
The Kirovsky Zavod group is actively investing in digital agriculture, the industrial Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, big data and robotics.
Energy-efficient subway cars manufactured by Vagonmash (a joint
venture by Kirovsky Zavod and Škoda Transportation)
The only universal test bench for steam turbines in Russia
The primary assembly line for new Kirovets tractors
The labor and military achievements of the Kirov plant have been commended by the state. The enterprise’s banner features seven medals:
of the Red Banner of Labor
Order of Lenin
of the Red Bannerr
Order of Lenin
of the October
of Friendship of Peoples
of the Patriotic War,
First Class (1985)
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