Zlatoust Station

When you think about American history, most people tend to think about the time of our major industrial revolution in the 19th century. The driving factor behind such innovation and mass production was our building of the railroads. This was also a major stepping stone in Europe that drove their industrial revolution. The picture above was taken by
Prokudin-Gorskiń≠ in 1909 in the town of Zlatoust located in the Ural Mountains, northwest of present-day Chelyabinsk Oblast. The town and area sounding was known for their large production of steel. In 1890 this town connected with other cities, specifically Samara, to the east. This line eventually became apart of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Based on the picture I can see that this town is a major transportation hub for industrial items. Just in this picture alone there is almost 10 lines for trains to load and unload material. This picture having been taken in Imperial Russia shows how Russia was moving towards a more industrial type society having been a primarily agrarian based culture. After doing research on the city I found that Zlatoust was known as the “Home of Russian Steel” and heartland for weapons manufacturing. In the town they built a arms factory utilizing the excellent iron found in the hills of the Ural Mountains to forge swords. The Tsar Alexander I approved of the factory with the help of many European experts. By 1830 Zlatoust produced 78 percent of the Russian bladed weapons and by 1850 the entire Russian Army was armed with weapons from Zlatoust. The town continued to create weapons of war through both WWI and WWII.

As I learned in class, the criteria for industrialization requires, capital for investment, communication networks, markets, workforce, and a transportation system. This picture encapsulates just about all the criteria for an industrializing society. The capital is the steel and iron within the surrounding areas, the communication is the apparent telephone lines on the left side of the picture, markets would be the unloading of goods through box cars, the workforce is those that live within the town who work in the factories or on the railway, and the transportation system is obviously the railroad. The town is now a large city (*As seen below in a modern picture) showing how the railway had a considerable impact on the development of even the smallest town in rural imperial Russia.




This post was featured on the Comrade’s Corner!

7 thoughts on “Zlatoust Station

  1. I like the way you draw this analysis back to industrialization in the US in the 19thc! And showing us what Zlatoust looks like today was a great idea as well. It is interesting and kind of ironic that Zlatoust became a key hub for bladed weapons manufacture just as the means of warfare began to shift toward more automated and larger scale weaponry. Also, thanks so much for citing your sources!!! Please remind me that we need to talk about RT in class.


  2. I found your post interesting as my blog post and photo were of a Zlatoust factory that produced scabbards for swords. I was unaware that the town continued to create weapons through WWI and WWII, and that is a very interesting fact! I also agree with you that having a railway would contribute to positive change in any town, regardless of size or location.


  3. Really interesting post! I liked how you researched the image in the context of the 20th century but also in its modern state. It’s crazy to see how it has changed in the past 100 years from a rural town whose most significant feature was its railway to becoming a developed city, with barely any uncovered land.


  4. Austin, I love that you showed a past and present picture of the town that you focused on; I think that it perfectly helps show the progress of the region. I also liked how you demonstrated the importance of the railroad tracks and you even tied it back to the United States to show its importance. You did a great job of showing the change to this region in Russia.


  5. I like being able to see how this railway in Zlatoust contributed to its success as a weapon and metal producer. I wrote about the Zlatoust factory myself, but I didn’t know it kept going for as long as it did. But what is more striking is the way the city as a whole has turned out in modern times as a result of its industrialization and the railroads.


  6. The comparison to the U.S. industrial revolution was a nice reference point to introduce your concept. It presented direct context I could relate too. Furthermore, the mentioning of the reasoning this rail system was so important, and how it helped develop industrial facilities throughout the region brought the image full circle. The mention of the Zlatoust factory especially furthered this point. Overall, and excellent post. It really gives us some perspective on the importance of rail road development in industrializing Russia.


  7. Austin, it was an excellent idea to add the modern picture of Zlatoust. It really shows how industrialization breeds urbanization. I also like your comparison with the idea of the railroads and how important railroads were to developing America and Western Europe. It is impressive to me when you look at American or British railroads from the early 20th century and see how much smaller this Russian station was in contrast. But when you compare modern Zlatoust to London or Pittsburgh they look almost identically developed. This post creates a great comparative snapshot of different cultures during an important era of change as well as the modern world.


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