Konstantin Fedorovich Butenev and Nikolai Thedorovich Butenev:
Russian Mining Engineers

(From Russkii Biograficheskii Slovar’, c. 1910)

BUTENEV, Konstantin Fedorovich. Lieutenant general, mining engineer, member of the Expert Committee for Mines, and of the Mines and Manufacturing Councils. Born 1805 in Petrozavodsk, died 9 December, 1869, in St. Petersburg. Butenev was educated in the Mines Cadet Corps, from which graduated in the summer of 1826 as a certified practitioner with a lesser-grade gold medal and the right to the rank of Berggeschworen 12th Class [Mining Expert]. Butenev soon entered service at the Zlatoust works and was made the manager of the gold mines of the Miass works. In that same year he was detached for an expedition to investigate the Voitsk mine. In 1829, Butenev was sent out of the country to learn more of the mining sciences and observe mines and works (this as at the direction of Ye. V. Karneev, director of the Mines Department). Outside Russia, Butenev attended a course at the Freiburg Academy of Mines and visited almost all the mines and works of Germany, Hungary, and Transylvania, returning to St. Petersburg in 1832. Here Butenev was assigned to the Mines Institute to teach mining, excavating, and mining statistics. In this assignment, he was distinguished by his conscientious and concern towards his responsibilities. In 1838, Butenev left teaching at the institute and was named editor of the weekly gazette Manufacturing and Mining Works News. This journal had been recently founded by Finance Minister Ye. F. Kankrin, who had long been acquainted with Butenev and greatly valued him. In 1841, Butenev was sent on a special assignment to Bukhara, where he stayed for about a year. From 1843 to 1852, he served in the St.-Petersburg Mint, managing rework operations, and later he was the chief of mechanized production. In 1852, Butenev was named director of the St-Petersburg Technological Institute. In this capacity, he contributed significantly to building a chemistry laboratory for the institute and expanding its museum. He also took and active part in preparing information for drawing up a new administrative regulation for the institute. In April of 1857, Butenev was named a member of the Manufacturing Council. From 1858 to 1863 he held the position of chief of the St.-Petersburg Mint, where his energetic activities were again very beneficial. In his papers were found, among much else, much work relating to a thorough improvement of the mint. In 1861, Butenev was named chairman of one of the committees for setting up a manufacturing exhibition in St. Petersburg. However, even in 1860 his health was definitely failing. Lengthy cures outside the country and in St. Petersburg did not help, but in spite of his serious illness, Butenev did not lose his cheefulness and clearness of mind almost up to the moment he died. Obliged to devote almost all of his time to work, he did not write scientific literature to any great degree. His activity in this area was expressed in a series of articles (mostly on mining) in the Journal of Mining, Manufacturing and Mining Works News, and some other periodicals. Besides this, he participated in producing Plushar’s encyclopedic dictionary.

Sources: P. Alekseev’s obituary in the Journal of Mining, 1864, part I, No. 2, pgs. 331-40, appendix (here, inter alia, are also extracts from Butenev’s service record); S.A. Vengerov, Istochniki slovarya russkikh pisatelei, T. I, St. Petersburg, 1900. V. G.


BUTENEV, Nikolai Thedorovich. Mining engineer, lieutenant general. From 1859, Butenev was a member of the council of the Expert Committee of Mining Engineers, and from 1867—the chief of the Olonets ironworks. In the 1860s he reported to the Geographical Society on Stone Age artifacts that he found in Olonets Province. N. F. Butenev left behind him a collection of mystical manuscripts which were obtained from his heirs by the Imperial Public Library. Butenev wrote: 1) New Rules for Excavating Accumulated and Deposited Veins of Useful Minerals, St. Petersburg, 1835, and 2) Some New Reflections on the First Inhabitants of Northern Russia, Based on the Discovered Traces of their Lives, (In response to Academician Ber’s article in Notes of the Western Geographical Society, 1863, Book 1).

Sources: P.P. Semenov, Istroiya poluvekovoi deyatel’nosti Imperatorskago Russkago Geograficheskago Obshchestva 1845-1895, St. Petersburg, 1896; Kaulbars, Apercu des travaux geographiques; S.A. Vengerov, Istochniki slovarya russkikh pisatelei, T. I, St. Petersburg, 1900; ibid., Russkiya Knigi, T. 3, St. Petersburg, 1898; Otchet Imperatorskoi Publichnoi Biblioteki za 1872, St. Petersburg, 1873, pgs. 8-16.


Translated by Mark Conrad, 1999.