He started out with locomotive depots. Then he switched to projects involving Russia's soil deposits, including storage reservoirs and the first Russian tankers. To him belongs the honor of the discovery of the principle of cracking of petroleum. In later years he designed a number of railway bridges and exceptionally light arches for big urban structures. To him belongs the honor of designing the unique tower for Moscow's first broadcasting station. And he managed to complete all of these projects in a span of 63 years of active life. This is Prof. Vladimir Shukhov - a genius of engineering and inventions, an Honorary Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences.
By Vladimir GOLDMAN, journalist
The boy Volodya was born on August 28, 1853 in the small town of Graivoron in the western part of the Belgorod Gubernia. His father held the post of director of the local branch of the St. Petersburg Federal Bank. Having finished school in St. Petersburg, he continued his education at the Moscow Imperial Technical College (now-the Moscow State Technical University named after N. Baumann) from which he graduated with honors and an engineering diploma in 1876. And it should be stressed at this point that the young graduate was offered a prestigious post of assistant of the prominent Russian mathematician, Academician Pafnutiy Chebyshev. But the graduate turned down the offer, being gripped with the zeal for practical work. He started out with a business trip to the United States - a country of rapidly progressing mechanical engineering and railway transport. And it was not accidental that upon his return to St. Petersburg he embarked on designing locomotive depots for a new railway between Warsaw (Poland then belonged to the Russian Empire) and the Austrian capital Vienna.
In 1878 Shukhov moved to Azerbaijan where new oil deposits were being developed at a rapid pace. This gave him plenty of room for work. One of his unprecedented projects was a 10 km oil pipeline, u ... Read more