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87/646 Drawing, the Imperial Bank Mint at St Petersburg, section showing a Boulton and Watt steam engine and machinery for making silver coins, paper / ink, made by Alexey Nikolaevich Olenin and the architect Baboshin, St Petersburg, Russia, 1796-1798. Click to enlarge.

Architectural drawing, proposal for St Petersburg Mint

Made by Baboshin in St Petersburg, Russia, 1796-1798.

This excellent example of architectural and technical drawing has an interesting place in the history of technology. Although it represents a proposal for a mint in St Petersburg that did not eventuate, a crucial change in the brief that led to this situation also led to the gelling of an important idea in the mind of industrialist Matthew Boulton: the rational production line. Born in 1728, Boulton inherited a modest button-making business and built an empire that included Soho Manufactory, S...

Summary

Object No.

87/646

Object Statement

Drawing, the Imperial Bank Mint at St Petersburg, section showing a Boulton and Watt steam engine and machinery for making silver coins, paper / ink, made by Alexey Nikolaevich Olenin and the architect Baboshin, St Petersburg, Russia, 1796-1798

Physical Description

A pen and wash drawing of a Boulton and Watt steam engine and machinery for making silver coins. The drawing is an elevation showing cross sections of the building and of the boiler and engine within it. It also shows four men, one alone and the others in a group.

The boiler is of the haystack type, with a fire below and water inside. A water delivery pipe and valve are shown, as is a pipe for conveying steam to the engine.The piston is shown inside the engine's cylinder, and the separate condenser and air pump are also shown in section. The engine has a parallel motion mechanism connecting the piston rod and beam, a timber beam, timber connecting rod, and sun and planet gears. The drive wheel is shown in front of the flywheel, and a bevel gear engaging with the drive wheel sits in front of it, driving a machine that has a crank and flywheel. Also in front of the engine, and driven via a wheel that appears to sit behind the drive wheel, is a mill for rolling metal to the thickness required for coinage. Other machinery is visible behind the engine.

The title of the drawing is written in the top right corner. There is also Russian text at top left. This is probably the title repeated in Russian. Additional text can be seen in the bottom right and in Russian in the bottom left. At the bottom centre of the drawing is written 'two 10th of an inch per foot', which indicates that the scale is 1:60. All writing is in script.

The letter A in red appears at either side of the drawing. The same letters would also have appeared on a plan of the building, with a line between them to show where this section is located. The letters R and I also appear on the drawing. Indeed, a plan of the proposed mint labelled with these letters does exist, and it is reproduced on page 84 of Richard Doty's book, 'The Soho Mint and the Industrialization of Money' (Smithsonian Institution, 1998).

The paper is watermarked.

Marks

Handwritten in top right corner 'Section of the Steam Engine / for the Silver Coinage'. Russian script can be seen in the top left corner.
'No 2' can be seen in the top centre of the drawing and 'two 10ths of an inch per foot' is written in the bottom centre of the drawing.
Text at the bottom right reads 'Delineated by A Olenin Esq, Drawn by the arch. Baboshin'. The text at bottom left probably repeats this in Russian.
Watermark on paper reads 'Smyth 1796'.

Dimensions

Height

515 mm

Width

700 mm

Production

Notes

The drawing was 'delineated' by Alexey Nikolaevich Olenin, who was in charge of the St Petersburg Mint from 1797, and 'drawn' by the architect Baboshin in Russia between approximately 1796 and 1798.

This drawing was part of a proposal which required two steam engines, a smaller one for powering machines to make silver coins, and a larger one for making gold and copper coins. The drawing shows the smaller engine. This proposal for the St Petersburg Mint was cancelled by the Russian government, but Matthew Boulton later supplied engines and coining machinery for the mint that was built there.

History

Notes

The Museum purchased the drawing at auction in London in 1987. The Christie's auction catalogue stated that the provenance was 'by descent from Matthew Robinson Boulton and Matthew Piers Boulton to the late Major Eustace Robb.'

Source

Credit Line

Purchased with funds donated by the Patrons of the Powerhous, 1987

Acquisition Date

1 June 1987

Cite this Object

Harvard

Architectural drawing, proposal for St Petersburg Mint 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 January 2020, <https://ma.as/76923>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/76923 |title=Architectural drawing, proposal for St Petersburg Mint |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 January 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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