Visiting museums makes people take a pride in their own country. To feel the might of the mother tongue you should visit the museum of literature, to see ethnical uniqueness it is better to go to the museum of cultural heritage, and to learn about technical potential of the country, visiting the State Polytechnic Museum of Kyiv Polytechnic University is a must.

Having visited the hall dedicated to the development of information science (see Part 1), ForUm went to see around the main exposition.

The sphere of tool engineering started its rapid development in 30s of XX century. As ForUm learned from the head of the museum department Hryhoriy Luparenko, when being a part of the Russian Empire, Ukraine used to purchase tools and equipment abroad, and they cost pretty money. But in Soviet times Ukraine started manufacturing similar equipment in the country. Thus, the museum displays an ultrasonic therapy device "Barvynok", developed by the Kyiv plant "Quant", an electron microscope "Salmy" of the Sumy electron microscope plant. According to senior research assistant Olha Shulga, in its time the device was the most powerful microscope in Europe.  

"Its magnifying capacity is 6000 times, but to make it work scientists needed a whole room of additional equipment. They had to create absolute vacuum to examine metal matrixes or cell structure."   

A radio receiving set of 1917, constructed by staff captain Mikhail Bonch-Bruevich, is considered the true honor to the museum. The inventor was born in Russia, but received basic education in Kyiv. In 1914 Bonch-Bruevich was sent to Tver as an assistant chief of the radio-receiving station. Tver radio station provided line communications between Russia and its allies - England and France. Moreover, these countries used to supply the Red Army with valve radio sets and expensive radio valves, working for five hours maximum. The Army depended on such supplies and was often left without any communication means. Understanding the importance of the problem Bonch-Bruevich continued research in radio, with an emphasis on vacuum tube (valve) development. As a part of this, he set up one of the first radio tube manufacturing facilities in Russia, becoming the operations director in 1917. There are only two hand-made radio sets of Bonch-Bruevich left  - #1 in Kyiv and #7 in St. Petersburg.

This is a switchboard of the first Kyiv city telephone station of 1886 with the telephone book of subscribers, numbering only 100 people.

A working place of a switchboard operator and a part of the collection of military communications devices.

One of the display halls is dedicated to small arms and numbers 66 showpieces, including rifles, submachine-guns,  automatic weapon, machine-guns, grenade launchers, pistols and sporting guns. According to Hryhoriy Luparenko, these are just models, not true weapon, thus visitors can touch, disassemble and assemble the showpieces.

Other showpieces of the hall include the remains of WWII weapons.

The most large-scale part of the collection is displayed in the unit of former workshops of the Polytechnic Institute. Students used to do practical training here, but after the revolution the building was rented to an industrial enterprise, developed into Lepse's plant.

The collection displays military communications devices, including telephone and telegraph units, radio stations, army phones. The gems of the collection include a telegraph set Bodo and radio station "Sever" of 1942, developed specially for guerillas of the Second World War. By the way, for Germans not to learn the origin of the radio station, all inscriptions were made in English.

This device was used to jam radio transmissions of "Voice of America" on the USSR territory.

The department of industrial technologies displays models of various plants, as well as cultured ginseng root. Sugar production used to be a leading industry in Ukraine, and our sugar tycoons financed the construction of Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. In the times of the Russia Empire there used to be 206 sugar plants, under USSR - 178. As of today, less than 20 sugar plants have left.

The department of machine engineering also offers a wide collection of devices, used by KPI students at the beginning of the century and still functioning.

This is a Brinell machine to test hardness of metals.

The collection also includes old-times devices, like this lathe machine of XIX century, running on spirit...

Or this horse iron plow of XIX century, perfect for cultivating Ukrainian chernozem.  

Typewriters have not been overlooked as well.

This is a linotype machine, predecessor of phototypesetting and desktop publishing.

The museum regularly holds external displays, and now there is a display of hand-built cars.

Another exposition is dedicated to the 80th anniversary of "Ukrkinochronika" (Ukrainian cinema chronicles) and displays an editing block, film processing device, motion-picture camera, cinematograph for film projection, sound control unit. All devices are functioning.

A separate room presents the collection of photo and video equipment, including domestic picture cameras "FED" (Kharkiv plant) and "Kyiv" (Arsenal plant) and foreign camera "Leica", one of the first roll film cameras.

The collection of video cameras displays both professional sets for shooting movies and scientific researches and amateur cameras, manufactured by Petrovski automatics plant in Kyiv.

The collection also includes film projection units, similar to modern home cinemas. One of the showpieces was produced in Ukraine, while another one was manufactured by "Sony" and cost more than a car in Soviet times.

The museum also has something to say about Ukrainian television. In 1928 Boris Grabovski, son of a prominent poet Pavlo Hrabovski, invented the cathode commutator to transmit images over a distance. In other words, he invented electronic television. The collection of Ukrainian TV displays the first Soviet TV of mass production "KVN-49" with magnifying lens.

This is a functioning TV studio. There were only a few of them in Ukrainian Republic.

A museum collection, dedicated to transport, starts with ship building. Hryhoriy Luparenko says that ship models used to be open for public, but after several cases of stealing the showpieces have been covered with glass.

The collection also includes a marine compass, demineralized water generator and full-size command bridge with primary control gears.

This is a model of a monorail with linear motor, built in Kyiv in 60s. Unfortunately, the project ended in the showpiece.

Petrovki's cycle plant of Kharkiv has been manufacturing bicycles since 1923.

Here there are "Moskvitch" automobile, donated to the museum in operating condition, and "Zaporozhets" car, partially assembled by KPI graduates.

According to Hryhoriy Luparenko, the museum often appeals to owner of rare car models with a request to donate them to the museum, but nobody has come forward yet. 

This is an electromobile, created by students of Kharkiv electric road institute following the design of an automobile with jet plane engine. In 1986 they set a speed record of 265 km/h.

Among other true honors to the museum there is Paton's Institute of electric welding.

In 1941 the Institute worked out a technology of automatic welding ,which enabled to carry out fast automatic welding of T-34 tank armor. One of these tanks, by the way, is displayed on the territory of the museum.

The Institute also developed an automatic device for construction of oil and gas pipelines in hard-to-reach places, as well various methods to weld steel and aluminum-base alloys, including high temperature welding, freezing and blasting. In 1993 the Institute patented a method to weld human cells during operations. As Hryhoriy Luparenko noted, thanks to the Institute of welding, almost everything can be welded in Ukraine now.

In the department dedicated to energy engineering visitors can learn that Zaporizhya nuclear power plant is the biggest in Europe, and that Tripolski thermal power plant producers energy by means of burning mineral fuel. Moreover, there are five wind power plants in Ukraine - four in Crimea and one on the Azov Sea coast. However, our wind power engineering has not realized its full potential yet, and specialists insist on installation of more similar plants all over Ukraine. There is only one problem - low-frequency vibrations of wind turbines may cause health problems, thus wind power plants should be installed far from inhabited areas.

Special attention is paid to mineral resources of Ukraine, numbering 120 types. The museum displays the most interesting samples, including uranium, iron and gold ores and various geodesy tools. Moreover, as Hryhoriy Luparenko told us, some gold fields of Ukraine are richer than deposits of Africa, and rock salt is one of Ukraine's mineral wealth. The biggest field of rock salt is located in Artyomovsk (almost 16 billion tons), and the oldest in Europe salt plant is in Drogobych (working since 1254).

Models of Tripolye ceramics are displayed to demonstrate the role of mineral resources in man's life. Thanks to burnt clay the human kind tasted for the first time boiled food and increased lifespan.

Oil and gas on Ukrainian soil were first discovered and extracted in Western Ukraine. Peasants of Galychyna used to manually dig out wells of raw oil, and knowing its burning capacity used to sell it in place of firewood. In 1853 two chemists of Lviv worked out a distillation technique and managed to produce kerosene from oil. In the same year Lviv tinsmith Adam Bratkovski designed the first petrol lamp, and the first oil refinery was opened in the city. The first gas pipelines, by the way, were built from west to east.

Finishing the tour, we enter a hall dedicated to the history of Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, one of the biggest educational establishments in Europe. For 115 years of its existence, the Institute has survived two evacuations, received four state decorations and graduated many prominent scientists, including Borys Paton, Ihor Sikorski and Serhiy Korolyov. The display presents various documents and photos, as well personal belongings of prominent professors and students. Moreover, every hall of the museum has showpieces, developed or discovered by employees of the Polytechnic Institute.
And the most interesting fact is that this museum has been created from scratch.

To be continued...

Anastasia Pika, photos by Maxim Trebukhov


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