Coal-Burning Furnace near the Satkinskii 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. A spur line was built between Berdiaush Station (on the main line) and the Bakal iron mines, located around 80 kilometers to the southwest. Approximately midway on this rail line was the settlement attached to the Satkinskii Factory. The original image caption places this view of a charcoal kiln at Satkinskii Factory, but evidence suggests that the kiln is at the Bakal mines, where birch logs were cut and stripped for conversion to the charcoal used in smelting iron ore. The kiln, built of brick and clay, was designed for partial burning of the logs. During the process, the kiln was closed to prevent further intake of oxygen, and the logs were slowly reduced to charcoal. The four posts at the corners of the kiln roof contain ventilation shafts. The log sheds in the background hold the finished charcoal. 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

Углеобжигательная печь у Саткинскаго завода

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