The world's first tracked tractor and its inventor
The world's first tracked tractor and its inventor

Fedor Abramovich Blinov is a self-taught Russian inventor of the late 19th century who made a breakthrough in the field of heavy working equipment. Blinov is the inventor of the world's first tracked tractor and the tracked propeller itself, without which it would have been impossible to create a tank, the first prototype of which, the Porokhovshchikov's all-terrain vehicle, was also created by the Russians.

Fyodor Abramovich Blinov was born in 1827 in the village of Nikolskoye, Volsk district, Saratov province, into a family of serfs. Fyodor was the first member of the family to receive "free", which allowed him to become a free-hired worker and provide households with substantial financial support. However, the work chosen by Fyodor turned out to be not the "cleanest" and easy: first he went to the barge haulers, and then as a fireman and an assistant machinist on a steamer. Both of these specialties played a huge role in the development of Blinov's inventive talent.

The work of a barge haule, in addition to its monotony, was also extremely hard, exhausting. Much also depended on natural conditions: the width of the coastline, the speed of the current, the presence of a tail or head wind. In addition, the degree of passability of the coast was also an important condition: it was much more difficult to move along a swampy or dry sandy coast even without a load than along a trampled clay or earthen section of the path.

And then Fyodor Blinov began to develop a universal and useful device for the burlak business.

Fedor Abramovich Blinov

For the first time, the ingenious idea of ​​using a caterpillar as a mover for a cart and thus significantly reducing the specific pressure on the ground came to Blinov in 1878. Already in 1879, he built a platform on two tracks. This cart was demonstrated in the city of Volsk with a huge crowd of people. A description of this event is available in the Saratov provincial tazeta. In 1879, Blinov received a "privilege" (patent) for a "car of a special device with endless rails for transporting goods on highways and country roads" designed by him - a mechanism that is the first operating analogue of a modern caterpillar tractor.

The car had 4 supporting wheels and 4 driving sprockets - the most important parts of the car. The unit was driven by horse traction and at the time of its creation it was a tracked trailer.

The invention quickly became known and popular among the general public. Thus, the newspaper "Saratov leaf" reported in January 1881: "Volsk, January 23 … Let me share with you our news and interests of the last days. Our news is of the most pleasant content. This is an invention of Mr. Blinov, which promises to have, undoubtedly, tremendous economic significance in the near future. Blinov, the inventor of endless rails, was testing his platform the other day. A platform with self-propelled rails, loaded with 550 pounds (2,000 bricks and more than 30 adult people), harnessed by a pair of ordinary horses, recently drove several times through the streets of our city, causing general approval. Honor and well-deserved glory to Mr. Blinov, a self-taught mechanic from the peasants of the Volsk district."

The original drawing of the steam tractor by Fyodor Blinov, attached to his patent application: 1 - steering wheel; 2 - support rollers; 3- driving wheel; 4- caterpillar; 5 - links of a caterpillar; 6- steam boiler; 7 - manometer; 8 - whistle; 9 - steam engine; 10 - the first pair of gears; 11 - the second pair of gears; 12 - control lever; 13 - driver's seat; 14 - control booth.

Already 4 years after the creation of a prototype and its first field test, Blinov set up his own machine-building enterprise, which, in addition to his first invention, produces various devices that are useful not only in agriculture, but also in any other industrial sector.

In 1881, Blinov began to develop a "self-propelled" tracked vehicle, which acquired its final form only seven years later. The device was designed like a carriage with a 12 horsepower steam engine installed on it. The car could reach a speed of three versts per hour.

It was the "self-propelled" that eventually immortalized the name of Blinov for centuries: he took part in the Russian industrial exhibition in 1896 - at the Nizhny Novgorod fair, where the "self-propelled" was presented in work.

As often happened in pre-revolutionary times, there was one enterprising German manufacturer who offered Blinov to sell his invention. Blinov refused. According to the testimony of the inventor's daughter Ustinya Fyodorovna, he answered like this: “I am a Russian peasant, and I thought and did for my homeland. And Russian men are not for sale."

The business of Fyodor Blinov was continued by his student, Yakov Mamin, becoming the first inventor to use tractor diesel engines in his designs.

Blinov's son, Porfiry Fedorovich, thanks to the help of his father, was able to open the PF Blinov Oil Engines and Fire Pumps Factory, where he continued his father's business. The factory became the city-forming one for the village of Nikolskoye: according to the data of 1900, the number of workers at the factory reached 150 - a record number of workers for a small institution.

The great inventor lived to be 70 years old. He died of paralysis on June 24, 1902, and was buried near the plant.

After Blinov's death in 1902, his student Yakov Mamin took up the improvement of the tractor, who in 1903 built the first compressorless engine with compression ignition. Seven years later, on the basis of this engine, he created a transport model and in 1910 first installed it on his "Russian tractor". As a twelve-year-old boy, Blinov's student Yashka Mamin sawed out hinges for caterpillar links, then participated in the processing of "fingers" that fastened one link to another, and even later helped in the foundry to mold and cast the driving gear-wheels and support wheels-rollers. The first Soviet plant to start producing tractors was Balakovsky, and its technical director was Yakov Vasilyevich Mamin. The first Soviet tractors were redesigned by Mamin and named "Dwarf" and "Gnome". These were not only the lightest tractors in the world, but also the easiest to assemble, operate and repair. Instead of 1,200-1,500 parts, the Dwarf had only about 300 parts. At the beginning of 1918, Lenin summoned Mamin to Moscow, invited him to the Kremlin, and soon gave the assignment to purchase perfect machines worth 100 thousand rubles in gold abroad for a new plant of tractors and engines in the city of Marx, Saratov Region. Mamin completed the task and the Vozrozhdenie plant, under his leadership, began producing five Dwarfs a day and the same number of Russian Diesel engines.

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