Robert Klasson

Klasson, Robert Eduardovich


Born Jan. 31 (Feb. 12), 1868, in Kiev; died Feb. 11, 1926, in Moscow. Soviet electrical engineer, director of construction for a number of electric power plants, and creator of a hydraulic method of peat mining.

After graduating in 1891 from the St. Petersburg Technological Institute, Klasson worked as a trainee in Germany, where he helped to build and put into operation the first three-phase power transmission line, going from Laufen to an electrical engineering exhibition in Frankfurt. In St. Petersburg, together with M. I. Brusnev, L. B. Krasin, and N. K. Krupskaia, he participated in the first Marxist circles. However, he later withdrew from political activity. From 1895 to 1896, Klasson directed the construction of a three-phase electric power plant at the Okhta powder mill near St. Petersburg. Municipal power plants were built in Moscow (1897) and St. Petersburg (1898) under his direction and based on his designs.

From 1900 to 1906, Klasson was active in the electrification of the Baku oil fields. Because of his refusal to apply sanctions to striking workers, he was forced to leave his post as director of the joint-stock company Elektrosila. The world’s first regional electric power plant to operate on peat was constructed on his initiative and under his management (1912–14). This plant, which was built near the city of Bogorodsk (now Noginsk, Moscow Oblast), bears Klasson’s name. In 1914, Klasson proposed a hydraulic method of mining peat; this was put into practice in the early 1920’s, owing to the energetic support of V. I. Lenin. Klasson helped to draft the plan for GOELRO (the State Commission for the Electrification of Russia). His last efforts were devoted to solving the problems of artificially drying and dehydrating slurry peat.


Krzhizhanovskii, G. M. “Pamiati R. E. Klassona.” Elektrichestvo, 1926, no. 4.
Krasin, L. B. “Inzhener R. E. Klasson.” Elektrichestvo, 1926, no. 4.
Vinter, A. V. “Vydaiushchiisia inzhener-novator v oblasti energetiki R. E. Klasson.” Izv. AN SSSR: Otdelenie tekhnicheskikh nauk, 1951, no. 9.