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British Industrial History

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Andrey Nartov

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Andrey (Andrei) Konstantinovich Nartov (Russian: Андрей Константинович Нартов) (1683—1756) was a Russian scientist, military engineer, inventor and sculptor. He was a personal craftsman of Peter I of Russia, and later a member of the Russian Academy of Science.

From 1705 Nartov worked in the lathe workshop at the Moscow School of Mathematics and Navigation. During 1712-1725 Nartov worked in Saint Petersburg at the palace workshop of the Tsar Peter the Great. There he constructed many lathes of different types and made a number of innovations. Of special value was his copying lathe for ornamental turning.

In 1718 Nartov invented what might have been the first lathe with a cutting tool-supporting/guiding carriage (a slide rest) and a set of gears.

In 1718-1719 Nartov travelled to England and France and demonstrated his lathes. In his letters to Peter I, Nartov wrote that nowhere in Europe could he find lathe masters comparable to Russian ones. On his way back to Russia, he taught lathe-working to the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm I.

After the death of Peter I in 1725 Nartov went to work at the Moscow Mint, where he supervised modernisation of the machinery.

In 1735 Nartov was elected a member of the Russian Academy of Science. From 1736 to the end of his life he was head of the Academy's lathe workshop.

Among other inventions of Nartov are such things as a rapid firing 44-barrel gun on a rotating disc, a screw mechanism for changing a gun's fire angle, a boring lathe for cannon-making, and an early telescopic sight. He also supervised the building of a device intended to lift the gigantic Tsar Bell onto a bell-tower.

The above information is condensed from the Wikipedia entry.

Nartov is said to have developed the world's first screw-cutting slide lathe with interchangeable gears in 1717. He completed "Teatrum Makhinarum" (Театрум Махинарум) was completed shortly before his death. His son collected all the pages of the manuscript and prepared it for presentation to Catherine II. The manuscript was transferred to the court library and there lay in obscurity for almost two hundred years. [1]

Machine tools from the court turning workshop of Peter I are on display in the Hermitage at St. Petersburg, namely: three machines for copying designs at various reductions on the periphery of cylinders, two medallion copying machines, and a machine for cutting gear wheels, constructed between 1712 and 1729 by Franz Singer, A. K. Nartov and other masters of "Tokarni".

Illustrations of a number of Nartov's ornamental turning lathes are available online in Russian sources, here for example[2]

A medallion copying machine made by Nartov in 1717 is on display in the Musee des Arts et Metiers in Paris.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Google translation of Russian Wikipedia entry for Nartov
  2. [2] LiveJournal - Rudolf_KHB - Walking around St. Petersburg. Hermitage