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Samovar – An Enduring Russian Tradition

The samovar is a part of the culture in Russia. It has a long history and is said to have been the invention of the Russians, however, its origins are disputed. Every household in Russia had a samovar, and can still be found in households, being used either out of nostalgia or tradition. A samovar is best described as a Russian teapot, that derives its name from two words, meaning “boil itself”. They can be found in all shapes and sizes, and are often bought by tourists, looking to take home piece of Russian culture.

Fedor Lisitsyn was an eighteenth century gunsmith, who owned a small workshop in a city by the name of Tula. Here, Lisitsyn and his sons crafted ammunition for Russia, but began using their skill and expertise in metal work, to begin a little manufacturing operation producing samovars. It became a successful industry for the Lisitsyn family, leading to Tula becoming the heart of samovar manufacturing, as samovar factories began to spring to life. Soon, the samovar was seen as an invaluable commodity in Russian homes, and spread to cities such as cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg.

A samovar can either be cylindrical, urn shaped, spherical or barrel shaped and traditional samovars generally consisted of a metal body with a faucet. A metal pipe was fitted to the interior of the container and to ensure that there is a draft, a smoke stack is placed on top of the container. A teapot can be placed on top of the container after the water has boiled, to keep the strongly brewed tea warm. But the shape of the samovar does not change its basic assembly.

Samovars are constructed on four legs, to keep the heat away from the surface it is placed on. The neck of the samovar is found just above the legs that run into the ventilation chamber. Inside the boiler, above the neck, is a tube which is separated so that the fuel that is used to boil the water is not able to fall into the ventilation chamber. The faucet is located to the bottom of the boiler that is made up of a funnel and valve. Different types of fuel have been used over the years including charcoal, pinecones, coal and wood.

Electrical samovars have become quite popular in modern times, while traditional samovars are mainly used outdoors. It is a part of the tradition and culture of Russia, that can be enjoyed as much today as it was in the past.

 



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