Sunday, December 24, 2017

The monument created by electrotyping tech in Poltava

Electrotyping is a chemical method for forming metal parts that exactly reproduce a model. The method was invented by Moritz von Jacobi in Russia in 1838, and was immediately adopted for applications in printing and several other fields. Electrotyping produces "an exact facsimile of any object having an irregular surface, whether it be an engraved steel- or copper-plate, a wood-cut, or a form of set-up type, to be used for printing; or a medal, medallion, statue, bust, or even a natural object, for art purposes." In art, several important "bronze" sculptures created in the 19th century are actually electrotyped copper, and not bronze at all; sculptures were executed using electrotyping at least into the 1930s.

As with metal casting and stereotyping, a mold is first formed from the model. Since electrotyping involves wet chemical processes and is done near room temperature, the molding material can be soft. Materials such as wax, natural latex, and ultimately ozokerite were used. The mold's surface is made electrically conducting by coating it very thinly with fine graphite powder or paint. A wire is attached to the conducting surface, and the mold is suspended in an electrolyte solution. When the copper layer on the mold grows to the desired thickness, the electric current is stopped. The mold and its attached electrotype are removed from the solution, and the electrotype and the mold are separated.

First electrotypes of some famous ancient statues were installed in the Catherine Park under Emperor Alexander II. In 1859, twenty six copper electrotypes by Johann Hamburger were brought by the architect Ippolito Monighetti to Tsarkskoye Selo for placement at the Cameron Gallery. They finally found their places around the park instead.

There is one monument in Poltava that also was created by using electrotyping. The monument on the place where Peter I had a rest after the battle of Poltava was created by Johann  Hamburger, one of the best masters of electrotyping in Russian Empire, by drawings made by Professor Charles Bruleau.  The monument was unveiled on June 27th 1849 in Poltava. In the end of 1930s the monument was almost completely disassembled. Bun in 1939 unexpectedly Josef Stalin decided to organize a huge celebration of the 230th anniversary of the Battle of Poltava. As a result, early 1939 the monument was reconstructed in hurry in its original shape. During the German occupation of Poltava (1941- 1943), all bronze decorations of the monument were taken to Germany for remelting. Only in the early 1950s was this monument reconstructed close to its original form.