The Aleksandrovsk Works; A Russian Armaments Factory

(From Sytin's Voennaya Entsiklopediya, 1911)

ALEKSANDROVSK WORKS [Aleksandrovskii zavod]. Formerly producing cannon, now (1911) manufacturing shells, in the town of Petrozavodsk (Olonets Province); erected in 1774 over the ruins of the Petrovsk works founded by Peter the Great in 1703 on the Lososinka River, about 1/2 mile from where it flows into Lake Onega. These earlier works eventually gave their name to the workers' settlement which grew up there--Petrozavodsk, which became a provincial capital and the main center of the rather widespread mining region of northern Russia. The Petrovsk works mainly produced bronze and iron cannons, cannonballs, firearms, edged weapons, anchors, chains, and other such items. However, the many metalworks founded by Peter the Great, which flourished under him, fell into decline after his death. The mining industry stagnated in spite of the significant mineral wealth of this region, and in 1732 the Petrovsk works were shut down completely, with only the armaments section along with its workers being transfered to Sestroretsk, where it continues to the present day. Only in 1774, with the construction of the government's Aleksandrovsk iron foundry, did the metalworking industry revive, especially under the management of the Scotsman Gascoigne (1786-1807). In the one hundred years of its activity (up to the Russo-Turkish War of 1877), the Aleksandrovsk works cast about 40,000 piece of artillery of various calibers, which together with ammunition came to over 18,000 tons worth about 14,000,000 roubles. A significant surge in activity for the Aleksandrovsk works came during the Crimean War. In addition to artillery materiel, the Aleksandrovsk works produced iron parts for several St.-Petersburg bridges, lattices, railings, and so on. With the change to steel artillery (after the the 1877-78 war), the Aleksandrovsk works ceased making guns and supplied the artillery only with shells, which it still produces. The Aleksandrovsk works belongs to the Mines Department, and it currently employees about 800 workers, with an annual budget of about 700,000 roubles.


Translated by Mark Conrad, 1999.