The life and work of Pavel Nikolaevich Yablochkov fell on a very significant period from the point of view of scientific and technological progress in the domestic and world stories. It was the second half of the XIX century that became the period when technical progress gained unprecedented momentum and, most importantly, began to be felt in everyday life, in the everyday life of people. In particular, for the first time cities began to be covered by electricity, and the hero of our article played one of very important roles in this matter.
But first, tell us a little about the life path of the inventor. Pavel Nikolaevich Yablochkov lived a short life - only 46 years. But he managed for her very much. Yablochkov was born 2 (14) September 1847, in the village Yablochkovo (Zhadovka) Serdobsky district, Saratov province. His father, Nikolai Pavlovich Yablochkov, an impoverished small landowner, studied in the Marine Cadet Corps in his youth, but due to health reasons he was dismissed from service and received the civilian rank of provincial secretary - one of the youngest in the Table of Ranks. The mother of the future scientist, Elizaveta Petrovna, was engaged in housekeeping.
Yablochkovy were educated people and sought to give a good education and son. In the 1858 year, 11-year-old Paul took his father to Saratov, to a gymnasium. A well-developed boy was enrolled immediately to the second grade of the gymnasium, but already in 1865, Nikolai Yablochkov took his fifth-grader son from the gymnasium. This decision was connected with the difficult financial situation of the family - with all the desire, Nikolai Pavlovich could not provide his son with a further gymnasium education.
Therefore, it was decided to identify Pavel at the Nikolaev Engineering School, but this required preliminary preparation - and Pavel received it at the private preparatory boarding house of Caesar Antonovich Kühn. It was this person who played the most important role in the professional choice of Pavel Yablochkov, in fact becoming his first mentor in engineering and technical disciplines. Pavel Nikolaevich Yablochkov, until the end of his days, kept a reverent attitude to the first teacher and continued to communicate with him throughout his life.
September 30 1863 of the year 16-year-old Pavel was enrolled in the Nikolaev School of Engineering. He began his studies in junior conductor class. Began harsh everyday life and no less difficult to study. In August, 1866, Pavel Yablochkov graduated from the Nikolaev Engineering School for the first category and received the rank of second engineer. Thus began the short military career of Pavel Yablochkov. He was assigned as a junior officer in the 5 th battalion, stationed in the Kiev fortress. For his father, Nikolai Yablochkov, his son’s military career was very desirable. He wanted to see Paul as an officer who realized his own failed dreams of military service.
But the very Pavel Yablochkov, who sought to research and inventive activity, the army service. There are innate military, there are those who are drawn in and serve in good faith, but Yablochkov did not belong to them. He served in the sapper battalion for a little over a year and decided to leave the army. Referring to health problems, Pavel Yablochkov resigned from military service in the rank of lieutenant.
However, after succumbing to the insistence of his parents, Pavel returned to military service in January 1869. This time, the command took into account the inclinations and wishes of the young officer. Pavel Yablochkov was assigned to the Technical Galvanic Institution in Kronstadt - the only one in the Russian Empire where military electrical engineering specialists were trained. In Kronstadt Yablochkov plunged into the study of electric current, the characteristics of its use for military needs, primarily in the mine business.
After listening to the eight-month course of the galvanic institution, Pavel Yablochkov was appointed head of the galvanic team to the same 5 th engineer battalion, where he began his service. But even with the new specialty, an army career still did not seduce a young man. Therefore, as soon as the three-year term expired, 1 September 1872, Pavel Yablochkov resigned from the service - this time forever.
Apparently, Pavel Yablochkov was well aware that military service required total immersion, would impede his prospecting activities, while “in the civilian world” he expected to combine work and invention. Having retired from the army, Pavel Yablochkov got a job as head of the telegraph service of the Moscow-Kursk railway and almost immediately made his first invention - a black-and-white telegraph apparatus, about which, unfortunately, almost nothing is known.
In parallel with the service on the railway, Yablochkov actively participated in the activities of the circle of electricians and inventors at the Moscow Polytechnic Museum. Here, for the first time, he thought about the rich possibilities that electricity provides for lighting streets and premises. Having studied the experiments of Alexander Nikolaevich Lodygin in the field of electric lighting, Yablochkov began to work on the improvement of arc lamps.
The first thing Yablochkov turned to the improvement of the Foucault regulator - a complex mechanism that operated using three springs. Pavel Yablochkov stood on the front of the engine, changed coals, twisted the regulator, and then dragged the equipment to another engine. The experience turned out to be successful, but Yablochkov understood that such a method is too laborious, complex and therefore will never be widely used.
In 1874, Pavel Yablochkov resigned from his service at the telegraph and began to invent his life, opening a workshop of physical devices in Moscow. In the workshop, experiments were carried out to illuminate a large area with the help of a searchlight, to improve the dynamo. It was at this time that Yablochkov created an electromagnet by placing a copper tape winding on an edge with respect to the core. But most of all Yablochkov was interested in the improvement of arc lamps.
Electrical engineer NG became the closest associate of Pavel Nikolaevich. Glukhov, with whom Yablochkov was engaged in experiments on the electrolysis of salt solutions. In the 1875 year, conducting experiments on electrolysis, Yablochkov saw that parallel-lying coals, immersed in an electrolytic bath, accidentally touched each other and an electric arc flashed between them, which immediately illuminated the laboratory. This accident was the impulse that pushed Pavel Yablochkov to the idea of creating a more advanced arc lamp, in which there would be no regulator of interelectronic distance.
In the 1875 year, having sent his wife and children to his parents, Yablochkov went abroad. He planned to show his invention in the United States, but due to certain circumstances he ended up in France, in Paris, where he met with Academician Louis Breguet, who offered him a place in his company. It was in Paris that Yablochkov completed work on his invention. So there was the famous "Yablochkov candle", thanks to which the name of the inventor and entered the history of world electrical engineering.
The device "candles" consists of two coal blocks 6 × 12 mm in cross section, which are separated by gypsum or kaolin. At the top end there is a jumper of thin wire or coal paste. The structure is mounted vertically on an insulated base. When the candle was connected to the current source, the wire burned, setting fire to the arc. The flame of the arc, gradually burning the coals and evaporating the insulating material, brightly illuminated the room or area. The device received alternating current from the Gram generator.
If the candle was disconnected from the current source, it went out and it could no longer be restarted. Therefore, Yablochkov continued to work on its improvement. He began to mix powders of various metals to the insulating material, so when the current was turned off and the candle went out, a metal strip formed on the end of the insulating mass and when the electricity was re-supplied, the candle was lit again. Electrodes enough for half an hour. Yablochkov's invention had undoubted advantages over the A.N. coal lamp. Lodygin.
15 April 1876, the London exhibition of physical devices. The French company Breguet was also represented there, from which Pavel Yablochkov came to the exhibition. At the same time, Yablochkov was also a separate participant of the exhibition, presenting his invention on it - a candle. On metal pedestals he installed four candles wrapped in asbestos. A current from the dynamo was connected to the luminaires. Yablochkov turned the handle, turning on the current, and the spacious exhibition hall was illuminated with a very bright electric light. All those present were amazed.
The effect of the candle demonstration exceeded all expectations of Yablochkov himself. The western press has broken out with numerous articles telling of unprecedented success in the business of electric lighting. Light comes to us from the North - from Russia ”- similar headlines in those days were filled with newspapers from England, France, and Germany. It would seem that such a large-scale recognition of Yablochkov’s merits should not have been left indifferent by the Russian state, but at home, Yablochkov’s invention at first was ignored.
As a result, having received a patent for an invention, Yablochkov ceded it to a French company, in which he continued to work as head of the technical department. Candles Yablochkov were launched into mass production, which reached an incredible scale. For example, the Breguet company produced 8 thousands of candles per day. One of the first candles was bought by the fashionable shops of the Louvre, and in May 1877 was lit with candles by Avenue de l'Opera in Paris.
Following France, Yablochkov's candles became widespread in the UK. 17 June 1877, they began to cover the West Indies docks in London, then - the Thames embankment, other streets and objects. Following the UK, Yablochkov's candles lit up in Germany and Italy, Sweden and Spain, even in Portugal, Greece, Mexico, Brazil, British India. Candles came to Russia later - in October 1878, they lit the barracks of the Kronstadt training crew.
The candle was not the only invention of Pavel Nikolaevich, which made life easier for mankind. So, Yablochkov created an alternator and an alternating current transformer, was the first to apply alternating current for industrial purposes, using an electromagnet with a flat winding. For the first time in the world, Yablochkov developed a system for crushing electric light, which allowed a large number of candles to be powered by a single current generator.
In 1878, Yablochkov, realizing that his work was finally recognized in Russia, decided to return to his homeland. The St. Petersburg Association of Electric Lighting and the Manufacture of Electric Machines and Apparatuses P. N. Yablochkov-inventor and Co. was founded in St. Petersburg. She took up the organization of electric lighting in the cities of Russia - St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Helsingfors, Arkhangelsk, and so on.
But all the same, electric lighting due to financial difficulties of Russia did not receive then in our country such distribution as in Europe. And in 1880, Yablochkov returned to Paris. For participation in the International Congress of Electricians in 1881, he was awarded the Order of the Legion of Honor.
Pavel Nikolayevich did not stop chemical experiments. Unfortunately, they cost him his life. During the experiment with Chlorine, Apple burned the lining of the lungs. His condition worsened - his legs swelled up, he often began to choke, cough. In 1892, the scientist returned to Russia, giving up all of his fortune to redeem his patents in the West. By this time, he already felt very bad himself - he suffered two strokes, he had dropsy, his legs refused.
19 (31) March 1894 of the year at 6 hours of the morning Pavel Nikolaevich Yablochkov died. The inventor of the famous candle literally burned down, giving his whole life to inventions and leaving this world only in 46 years. Interestingly, the present perpetuation of the memory of Pavel Nikolaevich took place already in Soviet times: it was in the USSR that educational institutions and streets were named after a scientist, and in 1947, the Yablochkov Prize for achievements in electrical engineering was established.