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
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 creativity.
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
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.