Steam Engine "Kompaund" with a Schmidt Super-Heater


From 1909 to 1912, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) made several trips to the territory around the Ural Mountains, where he photographed railroad installations, factories, and urban scenes. Shown here is a Kompaund (Compound) steam locomotive of the Ab type, with a Schmidt superheater. The number between the coupler indicates Ab 132, produced at the Briansk locomotive factory in 1909—shortly before Prokudin-Gorskii took this photograph. These locomotives were among the most powerful produced in Russia in the early 20th century, with a top speed of 115 kilometers per hour. The driver stands at the entrance to the engine cab. The site of the photograph appears to be on the Urals Railway line between Perm and Yekaterinburg, although the precise location is not known. It is likely that the yellow rail car in the background was the one used by the photographer for his mobile darkroom. Prokudin-Gorskii used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of his photographs date from about 1905, but the bulk of his work is from between 1909 and 1915, when, with the support of Tsar Nicholas II and the Ministry of Transportation, he undertook extended trips through many different parts of the empire.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Паровоз "Компаунд"с пароперегревателем Шмидта

Type of Item

Physical Description

Glass negative (presented as a digital color composite)


  • Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographic work survives primarily in two forms: 1,901 black-and-white triple-frame glass plate negatives, made with color separation filters, which Prokudin-Gorskii used to make color prints and lantern slides; and 12 albums of sepia-tone prints, made from the glass negatives, which Prokudin-Gorskii compiled as a record of his travels and studies. The Library of Congress purchased the glass plate negatives and the albums from the Prokudin-Gorskii family in 1948. In 2004, the Library of Congress had digital color composites made from all the surviving glass negatives using a software algorithm to automatically align the color components. As with most historical photographs, title and subject identifications are corrected and enhanced through new research. Current information on the collection is at

Last updated: September 28, 2016