Aleksandr Ilich Shpakovskii
Shpakovskii, Aleksandr Il’ich
Born Aug. 20 (Sept. 1), 1823, in Smolensk Province; died June 25 (July 7), 1881, in St. Petersburg. Russian inventor.
Shpakovskii entered the Pavel Cadet Corps in St. Petersburg in 1846 and taught physics there from 1854 to 1870, when he retired. He joined the staff of the Kronstadt Mine Plant in 1878. An injury received in an explosion during a mine test in 1879 left him disabled.
In the 1850’s, Shpakovskii was engaged in a number of projects involving photography, including the development of a wet-collodion process. He also built an arc lamp with automatic adjustment of the distance between carbons. In the 1860’s, Shpakovskii invented a night signal light that was approved in 1866 for vessels in the Russian Navy and was later adopted by the British Navy. He developed an oil burner for a steam-generating system in 1866 and a feed pump for shipboard steam boilers in 1868. In 1872, Shpakovskii proposed a technique for preparing potassium nitrate from sodium nitrate, and in 1873, a method for pressing peat into briquettes.