The samovar cannot be considered a purely Russian invention. Water heating devices have been used at all times and in various countries. Archaeologists have found such vessels in China, Japan, Iran. Some of the finds were over 3000 years old.
But in Russia the first samovars, or, as they were then called, tea machines, appeared during the reign of Peter the Great, at the end of the 17th century. The king brought them from Holland. It was in the 17th century that tea from Asia began to be imported to Russia. Gradually, this drink is replacing sbiten, the favorite drink of Russians. And the samovar becomes an indispensable attribute of every prosperous home. And some families had two samovars: one for everyday use and the other for festive.
Already in the 18th century, the production of samovars was established in Tula and the Urals. In 1728, the Senate issued a decree ordering to master the production of copper utensils at the Ural factories. At the beginning of the next century, about 60, 000 samovars were produced annually in Russia.
Samovars were produced in a variety of shapes and sizes. Small ones were intended for use in field conditions, and samovars of 12-15 liters were more suitable for family tea drinking. But the material from which the samovar was made spoke of the wealth of its owner. The most common samovars were made of copper and brass, while wealthy people could afford silver-plated ones.
The center of samovar production in Russia was the city of Tula. In the 19th century, there were 80 factories there. One of the most famous manufacturers of samovars was the Tula merchant Vasily Lomov. Due to the high quality of the products, Lomov was allowed to put the state emblem of the Russian Empire on his products.
But the gunsmith Ivan Grigorievich Batashev, whose factories produced not only weapons, but also samovars, received hereditary nobility in 1852.
The samovar making process was not easy. The craftsmen had a strict division of labor. The navigator bent the copper sheet, giving it the desired shape. The tinker was tinning the inside. The turner was polishing the workpiece on the lathe. The cleaner cleaned the samovar to a shine, and the wood turner made wooden parts such as handles.
The most expensive samovars in Russia were produced by the Fabergé jewelry company, which used gilding and silver. It is not surprising that only representatives of the elite could afford such a samovar. And in our time samovars produced by Faberge are sometimes put up for auctions. In 2004 the Leshy samovar was sold for £ 274, 400.
If exclusive samovars could cost fabulous money, then simple models were sold by weight - the product was weighed and the price was set, depending on how much material was spent on it.
In 1922, the chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin, received an unusual gift from the Tula masters - a samovar, which held 250 liters and weighed about 100 kg. Moreover, the water in it could be boiled in 40 minutes.
Already at the beginning of the twentieth century, the first electric samovars appeared in Russia. True, gourmets claim that they can only be called samovars conditionally: the taste of tea from an electric samovar cannot be compared with the traditional model.