The divisions of the Southern Federal University have their own glass-blowing workshops, providing scientists with rare laboratory equipment. At the Faculty of Chemistry, the workshop is led by scientific glass blower Alexander Ievlev, and at the Research Institute of Physical and Organic Chemistry — by his son, Dmitry Ievlev. The first glassblower in their family appeared in the first half of the 19th century — the history of their dynasty helps to trace the history of glassmaking itself in Russia.
The first glass factories
The profession of scientific glassblowing is one of the rarest and most complex crafts in the world. Initial competencies, that is, the ability to work with a gas burner and molten glass, can be obtained in several colleges in Russia, but the skill of creating laboratory glassware is passed on only from teacher to student, from master to apprentice.
If you remember, in the play “The Minor” by Fonvizin, Mrs. Prostakova scolded the servant Trishka for an unprofessionally tailored caftan: “The tailor studied with another, the other with the third, but who did the first tailor learn from?!” To answer who the first glassblower studied with, you need to delve into the history of glass making.
The first glass factory in Russia appeared in 1635 — during the reign of the first Romanov on the Russian throne — Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich.
In the 18th century, numerous plants, factories and workshops sprang up throughout Russia, built primarily with treasury funds. And the 19th century became the dawn of the privately owned Russian glass factory. In order to protect forest areas from destruction, the Senate prohibits the construction of factories near Moscow, and they appear in villages and small towns stretching from St. Petersburg to Rostov-on-Don. At this time, in 1848, Alexey Ievlev entered the profession .
“Great-great-grandfather Alexey was one of the free peasants who worked in crafts. I traveled all over Russia on business trips, and came across villages with the name Ievlevo in the Moscow and Tula regions. Apparently, our dynasty originates from these regions. It’s difficult to say more precisely, because having learned glassblowing, apparently from one of the craftsmen at the factory where assistants were needed, Alexey began to lead a “nomadic” lifestyle,” said Dmitry Ievlev, a laboratory research assistant at the Scientific Research Institute of Physics and Chemistry of the Southern Federal University .
Dmitry Ievlev, laboratory assistant-researcher, Scientific Research Institute of Physics and Chemistry, SFU
At that time, glass manufacturers did not have gas burners, and the factories operated furnaces similar to blast furnaces for metal, only smaller. Such stoves had to be cooled down once or twice a year, disassembled, cleaned of ash and reassembled. This took a couple of months, and the master glassblowers stood idle without work. But if in the south of Russia factories had this break, for example, at the beginning of spring, then in the vicinity of St. Petersburg, it could happen by mid-summer.
Alexey Ievlev, in order not to sit idle, throughout the year constantly moved from place to place, from city to city, and his skill was in demand everywhere. Having already started a family, he settled in the Tver region, where he worked in one of the small industries and passed on his knowledge and skills to his son Alexander.
Alexander Alekseevich Ievlev began his career as a glass blower at the glass factory of merchant Ivan Dobrovolsky near Tver. At one time, the founder of this dynasty of industrialists, Alexander Dobrovolsky, himself worked as a master glassblower at a glass factory for the landowner Nikolai Karachinsky. Over the years, the Dobrovolsky family business grew, and by the end of the 19th century, their container glass factories became a real brand and operated throughout the Russian Empire.
By the will of fate and dramatic historical events, Alexander Ievlev managed to work at four of these factories. In 1905 he supported the First Russian Revolution. Alexander Alekseevich was very concerned about the working conditions of the workers — during this period, the working day of the day shift at factories was 11.5 hours, the night shift was 10 hours a day, and this was with a six-day work week.
The punishment for revolutionary activity was exile, the main purpose of which was to send people away from St. Petersburg and Moscow, and where it doesn’t matter so much. Since every master glassblower was worth his weight in gold, the merchant Dobrovolsky asks to exile Alexander somewhere where his factories are also located, for example, in the Konstantinovsky district (today this is the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic).
But even there, Alexander Ievlev continued underground party work in the Socialist Workers’ Party. Moreover, during these years he met Klim Voroshilov and Semyon Budyonny. At this time, he and his wife Evdokia already had five children.
Alexander Ievlev and sons Alexander Ievlev and sons
The Ievlev family was exiled even further south — to the Georgian city of Borjom, where Dobrovolsky’s container glassware factory was also located, and talented glassblowers were also needed there. In 1919, against the backdrop of the Civil War in Georgia, persecution of Russians begins, and the Ievlevs want to leave. But where — back to Central Russia or abroad?
“The main feature of that time was complete confusion. The October Revolution had already happened, but so far from the capital the news about it came very scattered and even great-grandfather Sasha, being a socialist himself, could not understand or reliably find out who came to power in Russia. One thing was clear: life had become more dangerous. Steamships leave Batumi for Turkey, the first wave of emigration is leaving, but Alexander Alekseevich does not have the money for such expensive tickets. But from emigrants he learns that most of the country is already ruled by the Bolsheviks, who seem to have to accept him as one of their own,” explained Dmitry Ievlev.
Alexander Ievlev with his wife and grown-up children is going to return to the Tver region, where his parents, brothers and sisters still live, but having learned about his profession as a glass blower, the Bolsheviks offer him a job at the Aksai glass container plant — another former factory of the merchant Dobrovolsky, but already nationalized.
Even if you carefully watched the film “Guest from the Future,” you are unlikely to remember where the city of Aksai is mentioned in it. Meanwhile, when the main character, Kolya Gerasimov, ends up in 2084 at the Moscow Institute of Time, the robot Werther identifies his origin by his school uniform and glass milk bottles in the pioneer’s string bag. The computer tells him: “The bottle is an ordinary milk bottle. GOST number: 15844–70. Place of manufacture: Aksai city, Aksai glass factory.”
Still from the film “Guest from the Future” Still from the film “Guest from the Future”
It was at this plant that Alexander Alekseevich Ievlev worked after the revolution, and his two sons, Anatoly and Nikolai, worked with him and gained experience in glassblowing. Other children realized themselves professionally in agriculture and light industry. The family lived in a house on a allocated plot of land not far from the plant. Now the plant is no longer functioning, but the successors of the glassblowing dynasty still live in the house.
“My great-grandfather soon became disillusioned with the revolution. In the 1920s, work at the factory was much harder than in 1905, when he began the struggle for the rights of the proletariat. And the Soviet Union achieved the same economic growth that was in the late Russian Empire only at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. If we consider separately the production of glassware — decorative, pharmaceutical, laboratory — and other really complex and expensive glass products — lampshades, figurines, Christmas tree decorations — pre-revolutionary Russia was the world’s first industrial giant, and the Soviet Union was still catching up with other countries,” — Dmitry Ievlev shared.
Scientific glassblowing workshops
If the glassblower Ievlev Sr. was respected at the plant as a revolutionary of the old school, then his son Anatoly was sent to work as a foundry worker at the Krasny Aksai plant for harsh comments to the management. His talent could have perished in difficult and unhealthy production, but in 1930 the medical faculty of the North Caucasus State University (now SFU) was transformed into the Medical Institute (now Rostov State Medical University), and the university urgently needed its own glass-blowing workshops.
Aksai glass factory, 1917 Aksai glass factory, 1917
Anatoly Aleksandrovich Ievlev worked in the glassblowing workshops of the Medical Institute of the North Caucasus State University for ten years until he went to the front. This is how the Ievlev dynasty came into science and linked its fate with the Southern Federal University.
“There was no time in science when laboratory glassware was in abundance or at least in abundance. Neither now, nor in the late USSR, when entire factories were operating — not glass, but glassblowing, focused on scientific tasks — scientists could not move science forward without their own glassblowing workshops, because original research in biology or chemistry requires unique glassware oriented for one experiment or another. The shape of the neck of the flask, the length of the refrigerator of the extractor — everything can radically change the results of the process of scientific knowledge. What can we say about the times when grandfather Kolya worked! In the 1930s, in the workshops of one Rostov honey, not counting other departments of the university, up to twenty scientific glassblowers worked, and there were still queues for their products,” emphasized Dmitry Ievlev.
In the 1930s, a huge number of scientific discoveries actually took place that determined the vectors of development of the history of the 20th century. In particular, microbiologist and epidemiologist Zinaida Ermolyeva, the creator of Soviet penicillin, works at the Medical Institute of the North Caucasus State University. In those years, cholera was rampant on the Don. Zinaida Vissarionovna proved that this disease is caused not only by the classic Vibrio cholerae, but also by the so-called pseudocholera microorganisms. And who knows, perhaps it was in the Petri dish that Anatoly Ievlev blew that she picked up the means to combat these pathogens.
Zinaida Ermolyeva Zinaida Ermolyeva
Anatoly Ievlev learned about the beginning of the war while he and his wife were at a performance at the Gorky Theater; he literally left the auditorium for the front. His wife Polina Andreevna Ievleva (Lugantseva) with her eldest son Viktor and two daughters remains in occupied Aksai. Grandfather Sasha, having studied what time German patrols take place, takes his grandson fishing on the Don in their absence. So, by cooking fish and exchanging personal belongings for cereals in the surrounding villages, the family survives the famine of the occupation.
At this time, Anatoly Ievlev bravely fought for his homeland; in 1942, in the battle of Moscow, he was wounded in the head. With his body completely paralyzed, he is taken to a hospital in Novosibirsk, where doctors perform a miracle — he can move again and is on the mend. After the liberation of Rostov-on-Don in February 1943, his wife and children came to him in Novosibirsk, and they lived there for some time. Fortunately, many enterprises and even research institutes from all over Russia were evacuated to Siberia — scientific glassblowing was again in great demand.
After the war, the Ievlevs returned to the Rostov region — to the city of Novocherkassk. There were many vacancies for Anatoly to choose from, since every large enterprise had glassblowing workshops in its structure, but Anatoly Aleksandrovich was most interested in creating laboratory glassware, so the Hydrochemical Institute became his main place of work until retirement.
The eldest son of Anatoly Ievlev is mistakenly registered at the passport office as Ivlev. The lost letter in the surname will remain with him for the rest of his life and thus separate this branch of the dynasty.
Viktor Anatolyevich Ivlev begins his career as a scientific glass blower as his father’s apprentice at the Hydrochemical Institute of the Rostov Region. In the late 60s, by special invitation, he moved to the city of Chernogolovka, Moscow Region, where the Scientific Center of the Academy of Sciences was actively developing, at the heart of which was the Institute of Problems of Chemical Physics of the USSR Academy of Sciences. An experimental plant for scientific instrument making is being built there, in which glass-blowing workshops are not just a manufactory focused on the needs of the scientific community, but a huge technological complex. Viktor Ivlev becomes the head of these workshops and for many years manages all the craftsmen working there. During this time, he invents his own pressure sensor in the flask and several types of filters, and receives patents for his inventions.
In 1971, his son was born — Alexey Viktorovich Ivlev . The boy spends his childhood in the academic town of Chernogolovka, surrounded by world-class scientists, which significantly influences his future fate. In 1993, after graduating from Moscow State Technical University. N.E. Bauman (MSTU) with a degree in Plasma Power Plants and Applied Mathematics, he began working as a junior researcher at the Joint Institute of High Temperatures of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
In 1998, having received a fellowship from the Alfred Tepfer Foundation, he completed a year-long internship at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, where he began theoretical studies of dusty plasma. After the internship, he continued his scientific work in the city of Garching, where he was hired for a permanent job in 2004, and is now the chief researcher. In 2011, Alexey Ivlev received the title of Privatdozent at the Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf, and in 2017 at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
One of the main areas of scientific activity of physicist Ivlev is the study of dusty plasma and soft matter. He obtained a number of fundamental theoretical results that made it possible to understand many of the patterns of collective processes in dusty plasma. In particular, he predicted and studied in detail the so-called instability of coupled modes, the main mechanism of collective destruction of two-dimensional plasma crystals.
Alexey Ivlev also made an important contribution to the statistical description of open systems, where the effective forces of interparticle interactions often do not obey the law of action and reaction. Today, Alexey Viktorovich is actively working in the field of theoretical astrophysics, where he has obtained a number of important results concerning cosmic dust and its interaction with cosmic rays.
Glassblowers of RSU — SFU
Gradually, the family tree, which goes back two centuries, brings us to our time, to the Southern Federal University. In 1946, war veteran Anatoly Ievlev’s youngest son, Alexander, was born. Unlike his older brother, the passport officers made no mistake with his last name.
Alexander Anatolyevich Ievlev first worked as a scientific glass blower under his father at the Hydrochemical Institute, and in 1985 he came to work at the Chemistry Faculty of Rostov State University, where he has been working until now for almost 40 years. He and his wife, Alla Vasilyevna Ievleva (Tarasova), have a son, Dmitry.
Alexander Anatolyevich Ievlev Alexander Anatolyevich Ievlev
“My father always had a creative approach to glassblowing. He loves unusual tasks from scientists, and in his free time he blows out something beautiful: figurines, Christmas tree decorations — I learned this from him. He always gladly and readily lets guests of his workshop try glass blowing: university staff and students, journalists and those simply interested. That’s why, probably, I hung out in his workshops from childhood, from the age of 14 I was already helping, taking on some of the responsibilities,” said Dmitry Ievlev.
Over his many years of service to science, Alexander Ievlev managed to communicate with a huge number of outstanding scientists. Even Yuri Andreevich Zhdanov came to his workshop both as a rector to check how things were going and as a chemist to order some complex extractor. By 1991, two glassblowers worked in the workshop under his leadership, and he took in his son Dmitry, who had returned from the army.
Dmitry Aleksandrovich Ievlev says that the 1990s became the most difficult years in history for the scientific glassblowing community — science was left without funding, and the science service sector was completely without money and without salaries. All masters left either the profession or the country. He notes that there was a huge demand for Russian glassblowers abroad; they were paid salaries of 6-8 thousand dollars. Dmitry Ievlev himself did not leave; he remained in Rostov-on-Don, but was engaged in business not related to science and glassmaking.
“And in 2001, my dad said to me: “Dima, come back, the country has turned to science.” I returned to the university, and in 2005 I received a separate workshop from my father at the Research Institute of Physical and Organic Chemistry. Today, the physics department of Southern Federal University, the Research Institute of Physics, the Research Institute of Biology also order dishes from me, and there are orders from other cities and regions of Russia, where scientific and educational centers have not been able to maintain their production base and their master glassblowers. I am in continuous dialogue with hundreds of scientists all over the country, they call even at night if an idea comes to me: “Can I have a round flask with a square viewing heel, and weld a reflux condenser, a refrigerator and a thermometer attachment to it?!” And, of course, refusing a scientist to implement his idea is the same as hindering scientific progress — it must be implemented,” said Dmitry Ievlev.
Dmitry Ievlev in 2007 Dmitry Ievlev in 2007
Today there are many glassblowing professions in the world: glassblowers work near the furnaces — they take out the glass mass using a metal tube, glass artists work both with the liquid mass and with the glass tube, for them the main thing is to create a work of art, glassblowers — equipment specialists — assemble complex instruments by seamlessly soldering finished glass parts, neon glass blowers create the glowing neon signs that became popular in advertising in the late 1980s, quartz blowers make products from quartz, they work at higher temperatures than those needed for ordinary glass, and only Scientific glassblowers prepare laboratory glassware to meet the needs of the scientific community. Some of them work in production and work on finished drawings, while others — like our heroes — are themselves engineers, simplifying or complicating drawings at the request of scientists.
Different types of glass are used for different scientific fields. In physical chemistry, glassware made from electrovacuum glass is needed; in organic and inorganic chemistry, it is important that the glass be thermochemically stable, and scientists working with electronics or conducting ultra-precise analysis need laboratory glassware made from pure quartz.
“If before the collapse of the USSR there were thousands of scientific glass blowers in our country, now there are hardly a hundred people. The chat I created to maintain communication within the professional community now has 30 people, and not all of them have students. Today there is hope for the rise of our profession associated with import substitution. Modern production facilities are appearing, scientific and industrial centers are appearing, where student glassblowers are offered a decent scholarship. To come into our profession, you only need desire, an understanding of geometry and drawing, and a lot, a lot of patience, because for the first year a beginner will have to blow solid glass, and professionalism is achieved in about five years, but even then there is something to learn,” concluded Dmitry Ievlev.