The industrialist Akinfiy Nikitich Demidov (1678-1745) was the son of Nikita Demidov, the founder of the largest dynasty of entrepreneurs of the Russian Empire. He developed the business of his father and opened many factories that have become an important part of the domestic economy.
Akinfiy Nikitich was born in Tula in 1678 (the exact date of his birth is unknown). Homeland Demidov has long been famous for its artisans and blacksmiths. In Tula, Akinfia's family owned a plant for smelting pig iron, as well as a factory for the production of firearms. At the turn of the XVII and XVIII centuries. The affairs of Demidov went uphill. Nikita met Peter I and became his main supplier of weapons during the Northern War.
In 1702, the Demidovs received the first plots of land in the Urals, where they became pioneers of domestic industry. Akinfiy moved closer to the "Stone Belt" after his father. Heir industrialist personally participated in the construction and arrangement of new plants. From his father, he inherited not only entrepreneurial spirit, but also the ability to defend his interests before high-ranking state nobles. For example, Deminov Akinfiy Nikitich received the rank of a valid state councilor and had a patron in the person of the favorite of the Empress Anna Biron.
In dialogue with the authorities, Akinfiy relied on the support of other important officials. Among his friends was the president of the Commerce Board Peter Shafirov, as well as Ivan Cherkasov - the cabinet secretary of Queen Elizabeth Petrovna. These people contributed to the fact that Akinfiy Nikitich Demidov calmly felt like a master of business connected with his business for twenty years.
At the head of the family business
Nikita Demidov died in 1725. The eldest son immediately began to manage his father's empire. He developed the factory infrastructure, paved roads, built new enterprises. For twenty years, the assets that Akinfiy Demidov possessed increased three-fold. With him in the Urals, there were the first plants for the extraction and processing of asbestos, malachite and other valuable rocks and minerals.
In total, Akinfiy Demidov built 17 enterprises for melting iron and copper. The main project of his life was the Nizhny Tagil Plant. By its qualities, this object was in no way inferior to Western European competitors. The enterprise received the latest equipment for that time. It is symbolic that it continues to work today. At the Nizhny Tagil plant was opened blast furnace, which became the largest in the world. Step by step Demidov Akinfiy Nikitich increased the output of cast iron five times. By the end of his life he was the owner of 25 factories, where 23 thousand people worked.
After the Nizhnetagilsky plant, which began work in 1725, Shaytansky was launched (in 1727, in Shaytank - the tributary of Chusovoy), Chernoistochinsk (in 1728 on the river Cherniy Istok - the tributary of Tagil) and Utkinsky (in 1729 on the river Utka - Tributary of Chusovoy).
Nikita Demidov also received the right to develop a convenient place on the river Revda near the Volchy mountain. The founder of the dynasty did not manage to carry out the project. Akinfiy was engaged in construction. First, auxiliary Nizhniechugunsky, Verkhnechugunsky and Korelsky plants were built (they were commissioned in 1730). And only after this began the construction of the main enterprise. Revdinsky plant for the processing of cast iron was built in 1734.
Nikita and Akinfiy Demidov never forgot about their old assets. The son completely updated the Vyisky plant that had appeared at his father's. The number of stoves on it increased to ten. In 1729, a fire broke out at the plant, because of which he was idle for a while. There was another problem. His ore contained too much iron and was of low quality. In this regard, Akinfiy reorganized the enterprise. At first the plant began to process the copper semi-finished product, obtained at other mines. Then blast furnaces appeared on it.
In 1729, according to the decree of the Berg College, another plant was built - Akinfiy Demidov - copper smelting Suksunsky. It is located 45 versts from the city of Kungur. The place for the plant was chosen on the bank of the Sukusun River - a small tributary of Sylva. Its stone dam had a length of 120 sazhens. It was a capital building. The ore was delivered to the plant from the Bull River basin. The investment was not the most successful. Since the ores were nesting, no one could accurately assess the scale of the stocks of raw materials. It turned out that he had had only a few years of work. Since the middle of 1730. The Suksun plant started cleaning the copper semi-finished product.
Under the pressure of the investigation
The most difficult period of Akinfiy Nikitich's life was 1733-1735. For several years, the Demidovs were involved in a high-profile case initiated by the "investigation of particular factories." In 1733, the Empress Anna Ioannovna commissioned to complete the audit of the financial statements of all the metalworkers of the country. The process was conducted by the Commerce Board. Auditors came to the Demidov factories . For several months they collected documents and interviewed employees.
After checking, more than 500 reporting notebooks were brought to St. Petersburg. The facts of tax evasion and abuse were revealed. Many of the information was false. Demidov was envious, and Akinfiy, as the head of the family, became the object of denunciations. Several ships have passed. Akinfiyu had to pay huge fines and arrears. For a while he was even banned from leaving the capital, where the official proceedings were held. In the end, Demidov managed to fight back. The main point of pain was the Altaic factories. However, they retained their Akinfiy.
In the Altai
The industrialist Akinfiy Demidov, whose biography speaks of him as a man of the most serious ambitions, was the first of his dynasty to expand into Western Siberia. From his youth he was interested in the riches of the Altai Territory, where he occasionally sent expeditions to search for ore. First, copper was found there.
However, most of all Akinfiy wanted to find silver. To start extraction of this precious metal Peter I was promised by Nikita Demidov. The great autocrat waited glad tidings from Altai, but he did not wait. The first samples of silver Akinfiy received in 1726. However, analysis conducted by specialists showed that the ore is too poor for industrial production. But after this Demidov did not give up.
Trying to solve the resulting dilemma, Akinfiy Nikitich turned to the services of foreign specialists. The first of these was Philippe Treiger. This Saxon already had experience working with silver. In 1733, he was engaged in reconnaissance on the Bear Island in the White Sea. This time the German did not succeed.
The failure only provoked the industrialist. Akinfiy Demidov, whose biography shows the strength of this man's character, has long been accustomed to trials and risks. After the expiration of the contract, he hired other foreign specialists: Johann Younggans and Johann Christian. Europeans received insanely large salaries of 600 and 400 rubles each. Demidov was not stingy, demanding only a result, and finally got it.
Audience at the Empress
In 1744 Akinfiy received the Altai silver. He immediately went to Moscow, where at that time was temporarily the courtyard of Elizabeth Petrovna. At the audience, the industrialist presented the Empress with an ingot of Altai silver. The gift was on time. The treasury was short of precious metal. Demonstrating his happy discovery, the entrepreneur immediately got the right to build factories in the Altai. In addition, he persuaded the Empress to subordinate his enterprises directly to the Imperial Cabinet (that is, the head of state), and not to numerous colleges and officials.
The fate of the Tula plant
Toward the end of his life, Akinfiy Nikitich, with the help of the Altai and Uralsk Mines, provided his family with a carefree future. However, there was a spoon of tar in this barrel of honey. Gradually agonized Tula factory - the very first enterprise Demidov. His slow death was due to a shortage of coal, which made it useless to use the domain. In addition, in Tula, the industrialist had serious competition in the form of state-owned arms production.
For twenty years of independent management of the family business, Akinfiy did not build a single plant in Central Russia. He was increasingly drawn to the east - the Urals and Altai. In these circumstances, it was pointless to support unprofitable Tula production. In 1744, Demidov stopped the only blast furnace there, erected by his father.
Construction of churches
It is known that Father Akinfia knew Scripture by heart. The son was also a pious man. In his native Tula, he built two churches at his own expense. Nikolo-Zaretskaya was two-story and brick. It houses the tomb of Demidovs and the grave of Akinfiy Demidov. The temple was consecrated in 1735, the name of its architect was not preserved by history. Another church (also in the name of Nicholas the Wonderworker) was built by Akinfiy in the Chulkovo Sloboda, in the vicinity of Tula. Here was buried the first wife of the industrialist Evdokia Tarasovna.
Akinfius and the schismatics
In the 1730's. The authorities of the Russian Empire launched another campaign against the Old Believers. The Urals was a region where their number was particularly large. Old Believers fled there in the XVII century after the split in the Russian Orthodox Church, caused by the reforms of Patriarch Nikon. Nikita Demidov actively involved Kerzhaks to work in their factories. The same thing did Akinfiy.
In regard to the Demidovs to the schismatics there was a sober calculation. The additional cheap labor resource made it possible to obtain greater profits and reduce costs. The state aspired to reveal dissenters in order to add them to special lists and in accordance with the legislation, impose an additional tax. Demidov covered the Old Believers. The question of whether he himself was a schismatic remains controversial. The fact is that for Tula's family of industrialists, back in the 17th century, it was considered to be the center of attraction for people who had escaped the repression of the church. However, there is no exact evidence that Akinfiy Demidov, whose personal life remained a secret, was an Old Believer, historians have not been found.
A large part of Akinfiy Nikitich's life was spent traveling. As a rule, he was in the Urals, in Tula or in Petersburg. The last time the head of the family visited his homeland in 1745. From there he went to the Urals. On the way, Akinfiy stopped in the Nizhny Novgorod fiefdom. Further his way ran through the Kama basin. Here Akinfiy Nikitich felt ill. He died on August 5, 1745, without ever reaching his factories.
Biographers consider the village of Yatskoe Ustye to be the place of death of the industrialist. The head of the dynasty was buried in Tula. Akinfii was seventy years old. He was a strong, strong-willed and enterprising man, who produced as many legends and mysteries as his famous father.
The industrialist played the wedding twice (for the first time on Evdokia Korobkova, the second time in 1723 - on Yefimya Paltseva). Akinfiya Demidov's wives gave him two children. From the marriage with Evdokia, the sons of Procopius and Gregory remained, from the marriage with Efimia - the son of Nikita and the daughter of Euphemia.
Like his father, Akinfiy Demidov was the sole owner of the family business. In an effort to keep the assets intact, shortly before his death he made a will, according to which almost all the property was to go to his youngest son, Nikita. Two other heirs - Prokofy and Grigory - got modest possessions and mines in the European provinces. This will was compiled by Akinfiy under the influence of his second wife Efimia.
Prokofy and Gregory, displeased with their own share, after the death of their father filed a petition in the name of Elizaveta Petrovna. The Empress satisfied a just complaint. The authorities reassessed the property and divided it into three equal parts. Prokofy received Nevyansk and Nizhny Novgorod plants, Grigory - enterprises of Tula and the Urals, Nikita - Nizhny Tagil industry.
So the children of Akinfiy Demidov shared a single complex that belonged to their grandfather and father. In addition, part of the property was transferred to the state. The state mines became Altaian mines. Nevertheless, the successors of Akinfius preserved and multiplied what remained in their hands. Demidov dynasty remained one of the richest in Russia for many years.