Katav-Ivanovskii Plant. A Factory Pond and a Dam


In 1909 and 1910, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled extensively in the territory around the Ural Mountains, where he photographed railroad installations, factories, urban settings, and natural landscapes. In the summer of 1910 he traveled along the Samara-Zlatoust Railroad (built in 1885–90; now the Ufa-Chelyabinsk line), subsequently a link in the Trans-Siberian Railway through the southern Urals. In 1905 a spur line was built from Viazovaia Station to Katav-Ivanovsk, located 37 kilometers to the southwest. The line passed by the Iuriuzan Iron Factory (in present-day Chelyabinsk Oblast). The Iuriuzan-Ivanovskii factory, as it was originally called, was founded in 1758 by Siberian entrepreneurs Ivan Tverdyshev and Ivan Miasnikov. This photograph shows the factory pond formed by a dam on the Iurezan’ River (now spelled Iuriuzan), a tributary of the Kama-Volga River basin. Before the railroad arrived, this river network enabled the delivery of iron products to central Russia. Across the pond are wooden houses with enclosed yards that contain vegetable gardens. On the hills beyond, swaths of conifer forest have been cut to provide wood for the factory and settlement. The distant hills show massive outcroppings of sedimentary rock. 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

Катав-Ивановский завод. Заводский пруд и плотина

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 http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/.

Last updated: September 28, 2016