Factory Pond. Satkinskii State Plant


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. Seen here is a view of the pond at the Satka Iron Factory (in present-day Satka, Chelyabinsk Oblast). Founded in circa 1756 on the Large Satka River, the factory was an early acquisition of Count Aleksandr Stroganov. Plagued by management problems and unrest among the serf workers (including the Pugachev Rebellion in 1774), the factory was seized by the state in 1811. The location of the factory in an iron-rich area sustained high-quality pig iron and related products, such as artillery shells. In this image, the track shoots ahead to a high signals post, before turning along the pond shore. Telegraph poles extend along the bank to the left of the track, leading to rows of large wooden houses at the factory settlement. The rail station buildings, with red iron roofs, are to the right. 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

Заводский пруд. Саткинский казенный завод

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