Planing Machine. Imperial Lapidary Works, Ekaterinburg


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, urban settings, and natural scenes. In 1909 and 1910 he photographed extensively in the Urals region, including the city of Ekaterinburg (named Sverdlovsk 1924–91). Founded in 1751, the Ekaterinburg Lapidary Factory was the first of its kind in Russia. Located in the center of town at City Pond, it had a dedicated water mill to facilitate the laborious functions of cutting, grinding, and polishing. The factory drew on the rich mineral resources of the Ural Mountains (for example, jasper, marble, malachite, and granite), and by the 1780s, it was producing large vases and other ornamental furnishings, some of which were displayed in the Winter Palace. In 1800, the factory came under the supervision of the Imperial Academy of Arts, whose president was Count Aleksandr Stroganov (1733–1811). In 1806, it was transferred to the Department of Mines and in 1811, to the Imperial Chancellery. This 1909 photograph shows a large sanding (buffing) machine that was used to work with the stones. 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

Строгательная машина. [Императорской Гранильной фабрики. Екатеринбург]

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