Military Review

Russian light Pavel Nikolaevich Yablochkov

The great Russian electrical engineer was born 26 September 1847 of the year in the Saratov province. He was the first child in the family, and subsequently Yablochkovs had four more children - one boy and three girls. The father of the future inventor, Nikolai Pavlovich, was a landowner nobleman; after the reform of 1861, he worked as a peace mediator, and later as a world judge in Serdobsky district. Mother, Elizaveta Petrovna, was engaged in the management of a rather big family and, according to contemporaries, was distinguished by an imperious character.

Primary education Pavel Nikolaevich received in the parental home, he was trained in reading and writing, counting, writing and French. Tendency to technical work and design appeared in his early years. Oral legends report that in adolescence Yablochkov independently built a surveyor, who was actively used by peasants during land redistribution. At the same time, Paul invented a device attached to the wheel of the crew, allowing you to count the distance traveled. Unfortunately, none of these devices has reached our days.

In 1859, Pavel Nikolaevich was sent to a civil educational institution - Saratov gymnasium. This, by the way, was in sharp disagreement with the traditions of the Yablochkov family, all men in which were military men. Obviously, the reason was the physical condition of the boy, by the age of twelve he was very thin and tall with weak lungs. In the Saratov male gymnasium, only children of noblemen, clergy, merchants and officials were trained. Access was denied to lower students. In the gymnasium, corporal punishment and abuse were widespread, and the educational process instilled in teenagers only a persistent aversion to the sciences. As a result, performance was low, students preferred to skip classes. Chernyshevsky, who worked in this institution from 1851 to 1853, gave a colorful description of the gymnasium teachers: “There are quite developed pupils. Teachers - laughter and grief. They did not hear about anything except the Code of Laws, the Filaret Catechism and the Moscow Gazette - autocracy, Orthodoxy, nationality ... ”.

Under the circumstances, some parents preferred to take their children back, in November 1862 went home and Yablochkov. For some time he lived in the village of Petropavlovka in the parental home, and when there was a question about continuing his education, he went to a military school — the Nikolaev Engineering School. Those who wanted to get into this institution had to pass a special exam, which included chemistry, physics, drawing and a foreign language. In just six months, Pavel Nikolaevich managed to fill all the gaps in knowledge and successfully passed the entrance tests.

The engineering school at that time was an excellent educational institution, which received quite a lot of attention. Domestic military engineering art developed independently of any foreign views and was rich in advanced technical ideas. Only eminent scientists were involved in teaching at the school. Yablochkov did not find an outstanding mathematician M.V. among the teachers. Ostrogradsky, however, his influence on the teaching of exact sciences was still felt to the full. The teachers of Pavel Nikolaevich were: the professor of structural mechanics G.Е. Pauker, professor of fortification F.F. Laskovsky, professor of mechanics I.A. Vyshnegradsky and other scientific luminaries. At the Engineering School, Yunko Yablochkov received initial information on magnetism and electricity, and also studied fortification, attack and defense of fortresses, mine art, military communications, artillery, topography, tactics, construction art, mathematics, physics, chemistry, drawing, Russian and foreign. languages.

In the summer of 1866, he graduated from college in the first category, was promoted to the rank of engineer-lieutenant and assigned to Kiev as the fifth sapper battalion.
Life in the sapper battalion was completely unbearable for Yablochkov. Already by that time he had a lot of technical ideas, but there was not a single opportunity to turn to their developments, since military service interfered with this. It should be noted that at the same time (1867 year) the first practically usable generator with self-excitation was created, which gave rise to a real explosion of research in the field of electrical engineering. Various works in this field were carried out by technicians, scientists and just amateurs in all the major world powers. Pavel Nikolaevich, who had only basic information about electromagnetism, limited to the practice of blowing up mines, among others, turned his full attention to the practical use of electricity.

At the end of 1867, Yablochkov filed a report with the command to release him from military service due to illness. For him, it was the only way to leave the military service and do research. For thirteen months, Pavel Nikolaevich was engaged in work in the field of electrical engineering. Accurate information about this segment of his life was not preserved, however, obviously, he strongly lacked knowledge. In December, 1869, he was still in military service in the previous rank of second lieutenant, and taking advantage of the rights granted by the military rank, he entered a special educational institution for officers - St. Petersburg Electroplating classes (by the way, the only place in which military electricians were specially trained).

Here Pavel Nikolaevich got acquainted with the advanced achievements in the field of the use of electric current, and also seriously supplemented his own training. By the 60 years of the nineteenth century, Russia was already the birthplace of deep theoretical studies of the laws and properties of electricity, the birthplace of the most important and major inventions in this field. The course lasted eight months, the main lectures, accompanied by experiments and exercises, were given by professor FF Petrushevsky, and in the summer period, the students of the institution practiced the explosions of mines with the help of a galvanic current. At the end of the training, the officers underwent a "maritime" practice in Kronstadt, where they mastered the techniques of equipment, installation, testing and monitoring of the serviceability of mobile and stationary electroplating mines.

Each officer, who was disaccustomed in the electroplating classes, was obliged to serve one year in the engineering forces without the right to leave or premature dismissal. In this regard, Yablochkov returned to Kiev in the fifth sapper battalion. Here he headed the galvanic team in the garrison, he was entrusted with the duties of a battalion adjutant and head weapons. All this further limited his ability to work on the problems of electrical engineering. After serving a mandatory term, in 1871, Pavel Nikolaevich resigned. After that, he had never returned to military service, meaning in documents with the rank of "retired lieutenant."

Yevlochkov’s Kyiv segment of life also includes his acquaintance with a teacher at one of the local schools, Lyubov Ilinichna Nikitina, his first wife, whom he married in 1871 year. Unfortunately, Lyubov Nikitichna was seriously ill with tuberculosis and died at the age of 38. Three of the four children of Pavel Nikolaevich from this marriage took over the illness of the mother and died at a young age.

At the end of 1871, the future inventor began a new stage of life: he moved from Kiev to Moscow. Where could get a young engineer who wants to devote himself to work in the field of electrical engineering? In Russia at that time, neither the electrical industry per se, nor the electrotechnical laboratories existed yet. Yablochkov was offered the position of chief of the telegraph, the Moscow-Kursk railway being built. This telegraph had a good workshop, created for the purpose of repairing equipment and apparatus. The inventor happily agreed to this position, which enabled him to carry out the experiments he had conceived and test his ideas.

The following years, Pavel Nikolaevich talked a lot with metropolitan electricians, assimilated and adopted their experience and knowledge. It can be said that Moscow turned out to be a huge school for Yablochkov, in which his exceptional technical mastery finally crystallized. A huge influence on the professional growth of Pavel Nikolaevich was made by his acquaintance with the brilliant Russian electrician Vladimir Chikolev, who had a remarkable inventive talent, supported by deep scientific training.

However, Yablochkov not only attended meetings of scientists and technicians. During his time on the railroad, he managed to repair the damaged Truve electric motor, develop a project to modify the Gram machine and present two unique inventions - a burner for detonating gas entering the combustion site through a layer of sand, and a device for capturing air temperature changes in railway passenger cars. By the way, in the scheme of this device two Geisler tubes were laid, which at that time were used exclusively as demonstration devices and had no practical applications. Working in fragments, since telegraph work took a lot of time, the young inventor investigated various types of existing arc lamps, tried to improve regulators for them, made galvanic elements and compared their action, conducted experiments with the newly invented incandescent lamp of the system A.N. Lodygin. And in the spring of 1874, Yablochkov managed to successfully complete the world's first installation of electric floodlight on a steam train.

The experiments on incandescent bulbs conducted by Lodygin in 1873, coupled with the solution proposed by Chikolev about creating an arc lamp, aroused in society a great interest in new methods of lighting. Restaurants, big stores, theaters began to strive to install electrical lighting installations unprecedented until that time. Yablochkov, interested in the rising demand for electrical equipment, at the end of 1874, decided to organize his own laboratory-workshop of physical devices, capable of conducting experimental work and at the same time accepting orders from customers.

From the very beginning, things went without much success, on the contrary, the electrical workshop constantly demanded the investment of Pavel Nikolaevich’s personal funds. Nevertheless, the inventor was able to implement the planned design. Since the work in the workshop took virtually all the time of the experimenter, at the beginning of 1875, Yablochkov had to leave the service on the railway. His co-owner in the workshop of physical devices was a good friend, an enthusiast of electrical engineering, Nikolai Glukhov - retired artillery captain. Like Yablochkov, Glukhov invested all his funds in this institution, worked in it on issues of electrolysis and building a dynamo. Pavel Nikolaevich was making new regulators for arc lamps, he improved batteries Plante. Yablochkov and Glukhov conducted experiments on the illumination of the area with a large searchlight installed on the roof of the house. And although the searchlight had to be removed at the request of the police, they became pioneers of a separate field of lighting engineering, which later received tremendous practical significance (lighting construction work, open workings, airfields). Yablochkov's workshop was the focus of witty and bold electrical engineering projects, distinguished by originality and novelty. Many Moscow scientists and inventors liked to gather in it, unique experiments were made here and new devices were developed. In this workshop, Pavel Nikolaevich built an electromagnet of a unique design.

Russian light Pavel Nikolaevich Yablochkov

The principle of operation of an electric candle or arc light source without a regulator was coined by Yablochkov in October 1875 of the year. However, it took him a long time to bring the lamp to a suitable form for practical use. Unfortunately, the position of the physical equipment workshop by this time was very difficult. Yablochkov and Glukhov had many overdue orders; equipment and materials suppliers were not paid. The workshop provided an opportunity for inventors to do a lot in terms of their designs, but as a commercial enterprise it went bankrupt. Personal debts of Pavel Nikolaevich increased every day. Relatives denied him material support, and the customers and creditors, having lost hope of getting what was due to them, filed a lawsuit in a commercial court. In connection with the threat to be in the debt prison, Yablochkov made a very difficult decision for himself. In October 1875, the inventor hid from creditors abroad. This act further blurred his commercial reputation, but the invention was saved. After a rather short time, Pavel Nikolaevich paid off all the debts in full.

The scientist chose his residence abroad as Paris, which in the 70s of the nineteenth century was the focus of scientific and technical forces in the field of electrical engineering. France together with England and Russia occupied a leading position in this area, significantly ahead of the United States and Germany. The names of Gramme, du Montsel, Leblanc, Neode, and other French electricians were known to the entire scientific world. Arriving in Paris, Yablochkov first of all met with an outstanding telegraphist, a member of the Paris Academy, Louis Breg, who was, among other things, also the owner of a factory that produced various electrical appliances, chronometers and telegraphs. Pavel Nikolaevich took with him abroad only one of his structurally complete products - an electromagnet. The Russian inventor showed it to Breguet, and also spoke about some other technical designs. Breguet immediately realized that he faced a talented inventor with great abilities, curious ideas and excellent knowledge of magnetism and electricity. Without hesitation, he offered him a job, and Yablochkov, who was only twenty-eight years old, immediately set to work. Pavel Nikolaevich worked mainly at the factory, however, he often experimented at home, in a modest little room in the university part of Paris. Within a short time, he finished work on a whole series of devices he had invented earlier and patented them.

23 March 1876, Yablochkov received a French patent for his most outstanding invention - the electric candle. Russian scientist managed to create the first economical, convenient and simple mass light source. News About the candle in the shortest possible time spread through the whole of Europe, marking the beginning of a new era in electrical engineering. The lightning-fast success of the electric candle (or as it was said at the time - “Russian light”) was simply explained - electric lighting, which had previously been presented only as a luxury item, became available to everyone overnight. Yablochkov, who set off at the end of spring 1876, as an ordinary representative of the Breguet company at the London exhibition of physical devices, was leaving England already as a recognized and authoritative inventor. Scientists from Russia, former teacher Yablochkov, professor Petrushevsky and Moscow professor Vladimirsky, who were present at the exhibition, also learned about the electric candle from Russian scientific circles.

In Paris, representatives of various business circles were already waiting for the inventor. Entrepreneurial businessmen immediately realized what high profits could be drawn from the invention of an unknown Russian genius, who also did not differ in entrepreneurial abilities. Louis Breguet, refusing to produce and sell Yablochkov's electric candles, introduced Pavel Nikolayevich to a certain Deneyruz, who had taken over the issues of its further progress.

Deneyruz was a native of the Paris Polytechnic School, served on navy, was engaged in inventive activity. In particular, he was one of the developers of the Deneiroz-Rukeyrol’s apparatus, the predecessor of Scuba’s scuba gear. Deneiruz without any problems organized a joint-stock company for the study of electric lighting according to the methods of Yablochkov with a capital of seven million francs. Pavel Nikolaevich in this organization was engaged in scientific and technical management, supervised the production of his candles and carried out their further improvements. Deneiroz and other shareholders remained financially-commercial and organizational side. The company immediately secured monopoly rights for the production and sale of electric candles and other Yablochkov inventions around the world. Pavel Nikolayevich himself had no right to apply his invention even in Russia.

The length of time 1876-1878 was very tense and extremely productive in Yablochkov’s life. He wrote: “The first work was the installation of lighting on Opera Street, as well as in the Louvre stores, in the Châtelet Grand Theater and in some other places in Paris. In addition, the bridge over the Thames, the port of Le Havre and the London Theater, in the St. Petersburg Bolshoi Theater, was covered .... It was from Paris that electricity spread to all countries of the world - to the king of Cambodia and the palaces of the Shah of Persia, and did not appear at all in Paris from America, as now they have the nerve to say. ” Russian electrical engineer worked with enthusiasm, every day seeing the development of the started affairs, attention to his work from scientific organizations. He spoke at the Society of Physicists and at the Paris Academy. Outstanding French physicists Saint-Clair Deville and Becquerel specially acquainted with his work. Yablochkov modified the design of the electric candle to the possibility of using it in large lighting devices, received five additions to the main patent. In addition, during his work abroad, Pavel Nikolaevich made a number of important discoveries - he invented induction coils for the separation of electric current (later this device was named a transformer), developed methods for separating the current using leyden jars (capacitors), and made a kaolin lamp. In addition, Yablochkov patented several magnetic-dynamo-electric machines of his own design.

Paris 1878 exhibition of the year was the triumph of electricity in general and the triumph of Yablochkov in particular. The pavilion with its exhibits was completely independent, it was built in the park that surrounded the main building of the exhibition - the Palace of the Field of Mars. The pavilion was constantly filled with visitors, who in order to popularize electrical engineering without interruption showed various experiences. The exhibition was also visited by many domestic scientists.

Pavel Nikolaevich always said that his departure from Russia was temporary and forced. He dreamed of returning home and continuing his work in his homeland. All his debts in the old workshop had already been paid by that time, and his commercial reputation was restored. The only serious obstacle to moving to Russia was Yablochkov's contract with the company, under which he could not implement his inventions anywhere else. In addition, he had a lot of unfinished work, which he worked at the plant of the company and which he attached quite a lot of importance. In the end, Yablochkov decided to buy a license for the right to create electric lighting in our country according to his system. The possibilities of its distribution in Russia seemed to him very large. The administration of the company also took this into account and broke a huge amount - a million francs, almost the entire stake owned by Yablochkov. Pavel Nikolaevich agreed, giving up his shares, he received complete freedom of action at home.

At the end of 1878, the famous experimenter returned to Petersburg. Different layers of Russian society perceived his arrival in different ways. The scientific and technical circles, seeing Yablochkov as the founder of a new era in electrical engineering, welcomed the return of the most talented inventor and expressed respect for his merits. The government of Alexander II, who had secret reports from foreign agents about material support for Yablochkov’s needy political emigrants, gave him a number of verbal reprimands. Most of all, domestic entrepreneurs, who were quite indifferent to his arrival, were surprised by Pavel Nikolaevich. Of all the ministries, by that time, only the Sea, which carried out experiments with Yablochkov’s electric candle, and the Ministry of the Imperial Court, which organized electric lighting for palaces and subordinate theaters, dealt with the use of electricity.

Soon Yablochkov managed to organize a partnership in the faith, engaged in the manufacture of electrical machines and electric lighting. Pavel Nikolaevich attracted experienced and well-known people in the domestic electrical engineering, including Chikolev and Lodygin, to work in partnership. In St. Petersburg, a series of demonstration installations for lighting was successfully completed. Candles Yablochkova began to spread throughout the country. Chikolev describes this time in his memoirs: “Pavel Nikolaevich arrived in St. Petersburg with a reputation for world renown and a millionaire. Who only did not happen to him - excellencies, lordship, excellency without a number. Yablochkov was snapped up everywhere, portraits were sold everywhere, and enthusiastic articles were devoted in magazines and newspapers. ”

Yablochkov's partnership provided coverage of the square in front of the Alexandria Theater, Palace Bridge, Gostiny Dvor and smaller objects - restaurants, workshops, mansions. In addition to working in the new organization, the scientist led a huge social activity, contributing to the increase in the popularity of electrical engineering in Russia. In the spring of 1880, the first specialized exhibition on electrical engineering in the world was held in St. Petersburg. Domestic scientists and designers, not involving any foreigner to participate, independently filled it with works of their creative work and technical thought. The exhibition featured all areas of electrical engineering, and a temporary power station was built to display the exhibits. The exhibition opened in the Salt Town, worked for twenty days, during which over six thousand people visited it - an impressive figure for that time. With such successes, the exhibition was greatly obliged to Yablochkov's personal participation. The material income received was used as a foundation for the creation of the first national electrical magazine, Electricity, which began to be published on July 1 of the year 1880.

Meanwhile, Yablochkov’s hopes for a demand for electric lighting in Russia did not materialize. In the two years of partnership work (from 1879 to 1880), the case was limited to only a relatively small number of installations, among which there was not a single large permanent-type electric lighting installation. The financial side of the partnership suffered great losses, aggravating even more because of the unsuccessful conduct of business by the persons at the head of the commercial part of the enterprise.

At the beginning of 1881, Yablochkov again went to Paris, where, together with other renowned electrical engineers, he actively participated in the preparation of the International Electrotechnical Exhibition and the first International Congress of Electricians. For his hard work in preparing the 1881 exhibition of the year and in the work of the congress, Pavel Nikolaevich was awarded the Order of the Legion of Honor. However, it was after this exhibition that most scientists and technicians, including Yablochkov, became clear that the “Russian light”, which was recently considered advanced and progressive, is beginning to lose its position as the best electric light source for the mass consumer. The leading position was gradually occupied by new electric lighting with the help of incandescent lamps, in the invention of which a significant role belonged to the Russian scientist Alexander Lodygin. It was his first-ever incandescent lamp models that were brought to the United States and presented to Edison by domestic electrician Khotynsky in 1876 year during a trip to accept ships built for the Russian fleet.

Pavel Nikolaevich absolutely soberly perceived reality. It was clear to him that the electric candle received a fatal blow and in a few years his invention would not be used anywhere else. An electrician has never been involved in the design of incandescent bulbs, considering this direction of electric lighting to be less important compared to arc sources. Pavel Nikolaevich did not work on further improvement of the “Russian light”, regarding the fact that there are many other issues in life that need to be resolved. Never again did he return to the design of light sources. Quite rightly believing that success in obtaining simple and cheap electric energy would entail a further increase in the use of electricity, Pavel Nikolaevich directed all his creative energy to the creation of induction generators and electrochemical current generators.

The period from 1881 to 1893 years Yablochkov worked in Paris, regularly making trips to Russia. It was a very difficult time for him. In Russia, in the eyes of the ruling and financial circles, he was in the position of a debunked hero. Abroad, he was a stranger, having lost shares, he no longer had weight in the company. His health was undermined by the overwork of past years, the inventor could not work as much and as hard as before. For almost the entire 1883 of the year, he was sick, suspending all his research. In 1884, he resumed work on generators and electric motors. At the same time, the scientist took up the problems of AC transmission. The study of the processes occurring in fuel cells turned out to be associated with the proximity of sodium vapors and a number of other substances harmful to respiration. Yablochkov's private apartment was completely unsuitable for work of this kind. However, the ingenious inventor did not have the means to create the appropriate conditions and continued to work, undermining his already weakened organism. In his autobiographical notes, Pavel Nikolaevich wrote: “All my life I worked on industrial inventions that many people profited from. I did not strive for wealth, but I hoped to have, at least, what to arrange for a laboratory in which I could work on purely scientific questions that interest me .... However, my insecure state makes this idea leave ... ". During one experiment, the released gases exploded, almost killing Pavel Nikolaevich. In another experiment with chlorine, he burned the mucous membrane of his lungs and has since suffered from shortness of breath.

In the nineteenth century 90, Yablochkov received several new patents, but none of them brought material benefits. The inventor lived very poorly, but at the same time the French company that exploits his inventions turned into a powerful international corporation, quickly reorganized into other types of electrical work.

In the 1889 year, while preparing for the next International Exhibition, Yablochkov, setting aside all his scientific research, he set about organizing the Russian department. Yablochkov's lanterns in the number of hundred pieces shone at this exhibition for the last time. It is difficult to assess the colossal efforts that Pavel Nikolaevich put in order to give our department a rich content and decent form. In addition, he provided all possible assistance to the arriving Russian engineers, ensuring the greatest efficiency of their stay in France. The hard work at the exhibition did not pass for him without consequences - Yablochkov had two seizures, accompanied by partial paralysis.

At the end of 1892, Yablochkov finally returned to his homeland. Petersburg met the scientist coldly; his friend and colleague Chikolev wrote: “He stayed in a simple room of an inexpensive hotel, only friends and acquaintances visited him — the people are invisible and not rich. And those who fawned upon him at one time turned away from him. Even those who were put on their feet and ate bread at the expense of the partnership, kicked his hoof. ” In Petersburg, the ingenious inventor fell ill. Together with his second wife Maria Nikolaevna and their only son Platon, Yablochkov moved to Saratov. His health was deteriorating with each passing day, the heart disease that Pavel Nikolaevich suffered from led to dropsy. The scientist's legs were swollen, and he barely moved. At his request, a table was pushed to the sofa, at which Yablochkov worked until the last day of his life. 31 March, 1894, its gone. An outstanding figure in world science who, through his work, composed an entire era in stories electrical engineering, was just 46 years old.

Based on a biographical sketch of LD. Belkind "Pavel Nikolaevich Yablochkov".
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  1. il2.chewie
    il2.chewie 28 March 2014 08: 40
    Unfortunately shkolota is sweeter than the bargainer Steve Jops and the release of a new version of some useless electronic trash is more important than what is happening in the world
  2. Leopold
    Leopold 28 March 2014 08: 54
    Classical, one might say, biography of a talented Russian. Outback-University-Fame-Poverty-Oblivion.
    How lacking in Russia is the human educational system that allows anyone to find a niche in any life situation.
    1. Isum
      Isum 28 March 2014 09: 42
      Such people have material interest last! Over time, many of them become poor, but in return they acquire immortality, which cannot be bought for any money! While we remember THEY ARE ALIVE .....
  3. parusnik
    parusnik 28 March 2014 09: 16
    Russia did not support its genius ...
  4. Name
    Name 28 March 2014 09: 26
    Quote: parusnik
    Russia did not support its genius ...

    But I didn’t forget (even so) ...
    1. parusnik
      parusnik 28 March 2014 15: 02
      I learned about the tragic fate of Yablochkov in 1977 ... in the third grade I studied ... in the library I got a book about Russian inventors and about those inventions that were not introduced in Russia ... and later came from the West ... honestly, I almost cried. .
  5. Law
    Law 28 March 2014 14: 20
    Here, the most important thing to remember who invented the world's first incandescent lamp is Lodygin, and not Edison whose mattresses print in all books, let them tell their tales to their natives, and we will remember and be proud!