RIA Voronezh continues the project dedicated to the 85th anniversary of the Voronezh Region. Journalists tell the history of the region and its inhabitants. The second article of the "The Voronezh Region is 85" project is dedicated to the most significant inventions that belong to the inhabitants of the region. Some of the discoveries have already become part of history and deserve a place in a museum, others continue to improve the quality of our everyday life.

Local historian Vladimir Yeletskikh helped the RIA Voronezh correspondent in compiling the material.

Oil extraction press

At the beginning of the XIX century, peasant Daniil Bokarev grew sunflowers in his garden in Alekseevskaya settlement of the Voronezh Province. He knew how to “beat butter” out of flax and hemp, and now he decided to extract it from seeds. Bokarev hewed out a narrow, tall vessel out of an oak stump, made an opening in it to drain the oil, and carved a wooden cylinder with which he began to squeeze the seeds with a hammer. In 1829, he first extracted several buckets of sunflower oil, sold it profitably and planted sunflowers in the spring – this time on an industrial scale. In 1834, Bokarev became the owner of his own plant, and the surroundings of Alekseyevka were completely planted with sunflower.


Former naval lieutenant Fyodor Kolyvanov (1764 - after 1832) presented an underwater vehicle with mechanical devices to Voronezh Governor Dmitry Begichev. With it, it was possible to raise trees from the bottom with up to one and a half poods of weight and clear out sand. The prototype of the modern bathyscaphe — an autonomous underwater vehicle for oceanographic and other types of research at great depths — was lowered into the water from two boats with the help of ropes.

Can opener

A can was invented half a century before the can opener, so people used to open them with whatever they had: ordinary kitchen knives, a hammer with a chisel, and in the trenches – with a bayonet. But in the second half of the XIX century, all sorts of devices for opening canned food began to appear in various countries. One of the first versions of a can opener was invented in the Voronezh Province by Karl Shubersky, a railway engineer who participated in the construction of the Voronezh-Rostov Railway.

A station and a village have been named after Shubersky. Subsequently, Karl Shubersky opened a shop in Paris where his inventions were sold including a mobile stove and a portable shower.

Incandescent lamp with metal thread

The lamp inventer Alexander Lodygin graduated from the Voronezh Cadet Corps, but the military career did not attract him. In 1870, 23-year-old Lodygin invented an aeronautic vehicle - the “electrolyte,” the prototype of a helicopter. But officials did not allow his designs to be implemented. However, his next invention - an electric lamp - was brought to life. The lamp looked like a glass sphere in which two copper rods were placed with a rod of retort coal attached to them. Electricity was passed by wire through the frame located above the opening of the device. The first lamps shone for only about 40 minutes, but after they learned how to pump out the air out of the sphere the lamps started functioning for up to a thousand hours. In 1873, the first street lighting appeared in St. Petersburg with Lodygin’s electric lamps.

Metal electric welding

A native of the Voronezh Province Nikolai Slavyanov began inventing an electric arc welding in the Urals in 1887. Before it, people used carbon electrode welding, but the metal compound turned out to be brittle and broke quickly. Slavyanov proposed to melt two metal parts with the help of a metal electrode. This way, the seam turned out to be smooth and durable, and the time and cost of work was reduced.

Mosin's rifle

Sergei Mosin, a graduate of the Voronezh Cadet Corps originally from Ramon, created a rifle model that won the international competition and had been adopted by the Russian army for many decades since 1891. The 3-line Mosin rifle became the main weapon in the First World War and then was used during the Great Patriotic War with minimal modifications.

Ylensky’s immobilizing splint

Surgeon Nikolai Yelansky, a native of Novokhopersky District of the Voronezh Region, participated in the First World War as a regimental doctor, then organized assistance to the wounded at Khalkhyn Gol, during the Soviet-Finnish War and the and Second World War. He improved the suturing technique, suggested perforated pins for fixing bone fragments. His invention, the Yelansky immobilizing splint, allows completely immobilizing the injured person’s body and taking him to the hospital by avoiding the development of a painful shock. The device is still used to transport patients with spinal injuries.

Pavlovsky’s mosquito head net

Zoologist and parasitologist Yevgeny Pavlovsky (1884-1965) born in the village of Biryuch of the Voronezh Province invented a means of protection against blood-sucking insects. The fine mesh net saturated with repellents, the smell of which repels mosquitoes, is mounted on the headdress and at the same time allows you to leave your face open.

Evgeny Pavlovsky graduated from high school in Borisoglebsk with a gold medal and worked as a professor at the Military Medical Academy. He headed a detachment of parasitologists who identified the causative agent of tick-borne encephalitis in the Far East in 1938-1940 and later developed a vaccine. It was in these expeditions that Pavlovsky’s head net was successfully tested.


Physicist Nikolai Basov together with his colleague Alexander Prokhorov and in parallel with American scientist Charles Townes created the first microwave generator, the maser, in 1954 at the Physics Institute in Moscow. It produced special emissions used in space communications. The discovery became a platform for the development of quantum electronics and served as the basis for the invention of the laser. In 1964, three scientists shared the Nobel Prize. The name of Nikolai Basov was used to name a Voronezh gymnasium.

Komarov’s bullet

In 1966, an employee of the Voronezh Biosphere Reserve Vladil Komarov for the first time used a small-caliber bullet to immobilize animals. Compared to a flying syringe, the bullet weighs less, flies farther and hits more accurately. The immobilizing drug was placed in the cavity of a lead bullet, and the hole was sealed with soluble paste. The bullet did not penetrate deep into the body but exploded from the hit, so the substance was sucked into the blood, and the animal fell asleep. Within 15 years, Komarov’s bullet helped 2.7 thousand deer were caught in the Voronezh Reserve, taken out and resettled.

Heated hair rollers

They were invented at the Voronezh Radio Component Plant. Engineer German Graber found the use for aluminum capacitor frames: they became an excellent substitute for ordinary plastic curlers.

Water was poured into the cylinder and sealed, and then the curlers were boiled in a saucepan, so they remained hot for a long time. This model was called "Tourist" and was very popular in the Soviet times.

Device for quick and safe removal of ticks

The device developed by the Voronezh biologist Mikhail Tsurikov is an elastic wire bent in the form of a clamp one end of which has a thin handle, and the other ends with a knot for fixing a tick. The knot consists of the free ends of the wire bent in the form of triangles, which are tightly pressed against each other by their bases. You can remove the clamped tick by rotating the device around its vertical axis. Tsurikov owns several more inventions including a device for extinguishing ground fires.

Gloves for the deaf and mute

Igor Semenikhin, a graduate of the Voronezh Technical University, has developed a "hardware and software system for recognizing gestures of deaf-mute and hearing-impaired people and further transforming these gestures into sounds." The device is a glove with sensors that recognize gestures, and a special program plays the corresponding sounds. The “gloves for the deaf and mute” allow rehabilitation of hearing impaired people.

"Electronic nose"

In 2008, employees of the Voronezh State Technological Academy (VGTA, currently called VSUET) presented an analyzer that instantly detected any extraneous inclusions in both drinking water and food. Later, Tatyana Kuchmenko, the Head of the Department of Physical and Analytical Chemistry of the Voronezh State Medical University, demonstrated yet another “electronic nose” for diagnostics in medicine and animal husbandry: by the smell of blood or urine alone, it can detect diseases in people and animals, and at an early stage with no overt symptoms.

Solid water

Photo – the VSU Press Service

The staff of the Faculty of Chemistry of the Voronezh State University under the guidance of professors Vladimir Selemenev and Viktor Semyonov developed the formula for a polymer that can absorb water during rain and then give it to plants during the dry season. A kilogram of the sorbent is able to absorb 500 liters of liquid. Due to the fact that polymers do not wash out of the soil and can withstand cold winters, they can last for at least 5-10 years. The invention allows collecting a good harvest even during droughts and is two times cheaper than its foreign analogues.