A family of Urals mineowners.

The founder of the family was Nikita Demidovich Antuf’ev, better known under the surname Demidov (born Mar. 26 [Apr. 5], 1656, in Tula; died there Nov. 17 [28], 1725). He was a blacksmith from Tula who rose under Peter I, being granted extensive landholdings in the Urals for the construction of metallurgical factories. In 1696, Nikita Demidov constructed a water-powered iron foundry near Tula. In 1702 a ukase of Peter I gave him control of the state Nev’iansk factory in the Urals. Demidov brought master craftsmen there from Tula and Moscow, built new factories, and bought up lands and serfs. In 1720 the Demidovs received the rank of dvorianin (nobility or gentry).

Akinfii Demidov (born 1678 in Tula; died Aug. 5 [16], 1745, near the village of Iatskoe Ust’e on the Kama) by the end of his life had 25 cast-iron, iron, and copper foundries in the Urals, the Altai Mountains, and the center of the country. In the middle of the 18th century the Demidovs owned 33 factories, as well as land and serfs (over 13,000 male serfs). Altogether more than 38,000 male peasants worked for Akinfii Demidov. After his death his sons divided his inheritance and the state took his Altai factories. Some of the enterprises were sold, including the Nev’iansk factory. Nevertheless, the Demidovs continued to build factories. From the end of the 17th century and throughout the 18th they built more than 50 factories, 40 of which were in the Urals. In the middle of the 18th century the Demidov factories produced more than 40 percent of the cast iron in Russia; at the beginning of the 19th century, they produced about 25 percent. In the 19th century the holdings of the Demidovs significantly declined, but at the beginning of the 20th century they still owned more than 500,000 desiatinas (545,000 hectares) of land and 11 factories in the Urals. Extremely cruel exploitation in the Demidov factories caused several uprisings. In the 19th century the Demidovs became a part of the court aristocracy.

Nikolai Demidov (born Nov. 9 [20], 1773, in the village of Chirkovitsy, in present-day Volosov Raion, Leningrad Oblast; died 1828) was an envoy to Florence, and his son Anatolii (born 1812 in Florence; died Apr. 16 [28], 1870, in Paris) was married to a niece of Napoleon I and bought the title Prince San Donato.

Pavel Demidov (born Aug. 6 [17], 1798, in Moscow; died Mar. 25 [Apr. 6], 1840, in Mainz, Germany), the brother of Anatolii, was the owner of Siberian iron foundries and an honorary member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences. From 1830 to 1840 he annually gave the Academy of Sciences 20,000 rubles “as a reward for the best works in any field composed in Russia” and 5,000 rubles for “publication of works granted awards by the Academy of Sciences.” Since 1832 the Academy of Sciences has used these sums for the annual awarding of the Demidov Prizes. Pavel Demidov’s son, also Pavel (born Oct. 9 [21], 1839, in Weimar, Germany; died Jan. 17 [29], 1885, in Pratolino, Italy), made a series of improvements in his Urals factories and founded the first Bessemer steel plant.


Kafengauz, B. B. Istoriia khoziastva Demidovykh v XVIII-XIX vv. (Opyt issledovaniia po istorii ural’skoi metallurgii, vol. 1.) Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
Pavlėnko, N. I. Istoriia metallurgii v Rossii v XVIII v. Moscow, 1962.