Forgotten inventions of Russian scientists that are used by the whole world

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Forgotten inventions of Russian scientists that are used by the whole world
Forgotten inventions of Russian scientists that are used by the whole world

The contribution of Russian scientists and engineers to global progress can hardly be overestimated. True, in the Soviet Union, the prevailing opinion was that only after the revolution did scientific thought really develop. However, this is not quite true. Engineers and inventors of the Russian Empire left such a "legacy" that half of the world still uses it.

Claiming the primacy of Popov over Marconi or the Cherepanovs over Stephenson, the Soviet government chose to forget other geniuses. For example, the inventor of helicopters, Sikorsky, or the creator of television, Zvorykin. In these cases, there was at least an explanation - they did not want to live in the USSR. But why were those who simply did not live to see the revolution betrayed into oblivion?

Powdered milk

Today it is difficult to imagine the food industry without milk powder. However, it would be objective to say that dry milk in the eyes of people does not reach the prestige level of a full-fledged village milk. But its appearance was precisely caused by an attempt in the era of the absence of preservatives to preserve at least part of the taste of natural milk. After all, such a product is convenient to store, and when you add water, you get liquid milk of a certain fat content.

The first experiments with the transformation of milk were known back in the Middle Ages. The inhabitants of the Siberian and eastern provinces, as Ivan Yerich wrote about this in 1792 in the "Proceedings of the Free Economic Society", having received milk from the cows, carried the buckets with it out into the cold and left it. In the morning, these were parts of the "great stocks of milky blocks." However, although such a product was solid, it was only at sub-zero temperatures. And with refrigeration units in those days it was not rich. More precisely - nothing. Fortunately, in those latitudes, spring came quite late.

Therefore, the idea to evaporate water from milk was much more promising. For the first time it was successful in 1802 by the doctor of the Nerchinsk factories, Osip Krichevsky. While serving in the Trans-Baikal Territory, he saw how the cows were giving milk back in the fall, and already in the winter it was almost gone. And even more so in remote garrisons and villages. Therefore, he decided to evaporate water from milk so that the resulting powder, when added with water, again turns into a full-fledged product. And so it happened!

During the life of the physician, his invention did not receive proper appreciation. Only in 1832 did the Russian chemist Mikhail Dirchov create the first industrial production of milk powder. And in 1885, the production process was patented in Europe, but the name of Krichevsky was absent there. At the end of the 19th century, dry milk was no longer surprising, and its production only increased its turnover every year.

Heating radiators

Until the 20th century, the usual way of heating living quarters was stove. The combustible fuel in the furnace heated the air, creating a comfortable temperature. However, already in the 19th century, attempts were made to use heated water for heating, which, when cooled, heated the air. And the best device for transferring water heat has become a radiator tubular battery.

Her invention is credited to the Russian industrialist and merchant of German origin Franz San Galli. Initially, his workshop in St. Petersburg made steel products - from bowls to safes. As production grew, the workshop turned into a factory producing equipment for water supply, building heating and sewerage. In 1855, San Galli figured out how to simplify steam heating devices using water pipes. For the production of tubular radiators, he built a plant, which quickly increased its turnover. Very quickly, his products became successful in Europe. By the way, it was Franz Karlovich who invented the term "battery".

Frame hives

It will be a revelation for many to find out that even in the 19th century, with all its achievements, the beekeeping industry did not differ much from its own kind a thousand years earlier. Sugar in those days was expensive, and honey was the main product that could sweeten the same tea.

At the same time, beekeepers used a hive design that imitated a natural bee nest. To get honey, the beekeeper simply fumigated the bees (often they died) and disassembled the hive. Then ruled hives were invented, where a row of wooden rulers was placed in parallel under a removable cover. The bees built separate combs under each line. By cutting them off from the sides and separating them from the walls, it was possible to partially extract the honeycomb with honey inside. But nevertheless, it was constructively difficult, and ruled hives did not become widespread.

Everything changed when in 1814 the Russian beekeeper Pyotr Prokopovich invented the “Petersburg” frame hive. Having devoted 16 years to beekeeping, he invented a frame system in which the bees formed their combs on retractable frames. They could be used many times without harming the bee colony. Prokopovich's invention allowed him to become a pioneer in this industry, and his apiary increased to 10 thousand bee colonies by 1830, becoming the largest in the world! True, the primacy of the Russian beekeeper is challenged by the Pole Jan Djerjon and the American Lorenzo Langstroth. But their innovations were invented much later: in 1838 and 1851, respectively.


Sergei Nezhdanovsky was not lucky with the era. At the end of the 19th century, his ideas in the field of aeronautics were ahead of their time, and after the October Revolution and the Civil War, he was ranked among the scientists of the past.

Nevertheless, Nezhdanovsky's projects are still surprising. In particular, in the 1890s, he came up with a number of innovative helicopter schemes. For example, a twin-rotor with overlapping rotors or a single-rotor, but with an aerodynamic rudder. And also - a rotor driven by jet burners installed at the ends of the blades. Not being able to realize his ideas, Nezhdanovsky "went down to earth." You can say literally. And in 1903 he came up with a snowmobile, or snowmobile. He attached an engine and propeller of his own design to the ski sled. The "snow sled with an air propeller" did not get stuck in the snow and could move at a decent speed.

And in 1916, the inventor modernized the snowmobile by installing an original "ski-chain propulsion device" on it. Instead of a caterpillar, he used light openwork chains, the links of which were in the form of rectangular frames, and over the lower branch of the caterpillar were located support skis. Since the snowmobile was supported by skis mounted inside two tracks, the pressure on the snow was minimal and allowed to ride the sled at high speed.


Even in the old days in northern countries, sailors used an original way to break through the ice. A heavy load was placed at the stern of a flat-bottomed boat and dragged with the help of horses. First, a light bow of the boat appeared on the ice, and then a heavy stern, and the ice broke under its weight. However, this method was not suitable for the passage of large vessels carrying cargo. But only a way, not an idea.

It was her that Russian entrepreneur Mikhail Britnev used to create the first icebreaker. The owner of a shipping company, he transported goods from Kronstadt to Oranienbaum (Lomonosov). Every year in early spring and autumn, when the ice could not support the weight of the loaded sleigh, but prevented the ships from going the distance, Britnev suffered losses. Then, after consulting with the engineers of his shipyard, he figured out how to build a ship capable of breaking through thin ice. Its nose was designed to "crawl" onto the ice, and then the mass of the ship broke through it. The first icebreaker of Britnev was the tugboat "Pilot", in 1864 he led the first convoy of ships through the ice. Thanks to this, it was possible to transport goods two months a year more than before. Encouraged by the success, Britnev built the second Boi icebreaker. And in 1871 the authorities of Hamburg bought the patent of a Russian shipbuilder and built an icebreaker "Icebrecher-1" on it. Then the Danes, Dutch, Swedes and Americans did the same.