is a purely Russian invention. It is used for making tea. In the 17th
century tea was delivered to Russia from the territory of West Mongolia
and it was used as medicine among the nobility. Tea was a competitor
of 'sbiten', the most favourite drink in Russia back then. Its components
were: hot water, medicinal herbs and honey.
the 18th century in the Urals and Tula samovar-kitchens were invented.
They were divided into three parts - two of them devoted to meals
cooking, and the third one wholly devoted to tea-making. Sbitennik
and samovar-kitchen were samovar prototypes.
were different ways of manufacturing the first samovars. Samovars
were produced in the Urals, Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Tula; and later
in Vladimirskaya, Yaroslavskaya and Vyatskaya provinces. The first
samovar factory was founded in Tula by Nasar Usitsin in 1778. This
town of gunsmiths became famous throughout the world as the center
of samovar manufacture. Tula had everything that was needed for such
industry: rich ore mines, highly qualified masters skilled in working
metals and location (Tula is situated only 200 kilometres south of
manufacture soon became to be very profitable. Handicraftsmen were
quickly turning into manufacturers; workshops were transformed into
samovar manufactures. In 1826 there were only eight samovar factories,
whereas in 1896 there were already seventy.
Samovars were made out of cupronickel, red and green copper, pinchbeck,
and in special cases - out of silver. Some samovars were plated with
gold or silver, but brass was always the basic metal. In the course
of the centuries samovar shapes changed. By the end of the 19th century
the number of samovar types reached 165. Yet, it was almost impossible
to fully mechanize the samovars manufacture. Tools used for samovar
making were not changing and by hand assembly allowed for only five-six
samovars to be produced per day.
highest peak of samovar manufacture in Tula was reached in the 80s
of the 19th century.
Samovar was not only a feature of home comfort, the symbol of Russian
hospitality, but also a kind of a mascot. Among articles of folk domestic
art samovars occupy a special place. They are often viewed not only
as domestic utensils, but also as real works of applied arts. Each
true samovar master always wanted to astonish his customers by his
design and durability in combination with decorative qualities draw
interest to samovars of the people all over the world. Tula samovars
were represented at many exhibitions in Russia and abroad. Manufacturers
taking part at the exhibitions were constantly awarded with medals,
the reprints of which often appeared on their samovars after that.
samovars were spread all over Russia. At the fairs one could find
samovars of very different shapes: vase-shaped, pear-shaped, wine-glass-shaped,
etc. Prices reduction in the process of manufacture caused standardization
of samovar shapes. The so-called cylindrical samovars became widely
Tula produced coal samovars (the water in them was heated up by charcoal),
kerosene samovars and combined variants, the water in which could
be heated up by any kind of fuel. Prices were set in direct dependence
with shape, material and dimension of a samovar. Simple samovars were
sold in bulk. Articles of complicated shapes (presents, samovars made
to order) were sold by the piece.
the whole of the 19th century portable samovars were produced in Tula.
As a rule, they were multi-sided, cubic and right-angled.
the two hundred years, production technology improved considerably.
Now presses and conveyor lines are widely employed. Casting under
pressure is also widespread. At "Shtamp" plant nickel-plating
automatic line was introduced. Samovars here are decorated by art
rolling. The plant produces samovars of different types: coal (of
six versions) and - from 1956 - electrical (volume 2-3 litres; for
buffets), combined and painted.
traditions keep on existing and developing. Gorgeous samovars - authentic
works of art - are still produced in Russia. Samovars are still awarded
with prizes and medals at national and international exhibitions.