Aksel Vilgelmovich Gadolin

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gadolin, Aksel’ Vil’gel’movich


Born June 12 (24), 1828, in Finland; died Dec. 15 (27), 1892, in St. Petersburg. Russian scientist in the fields of artillery weapons, mechanical metalworking, mineralogy, and crystallography. Active member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1875; corresponding member, 1873); general of artillery (1890).

Gadolin graduated from the Mikhail Artillery School in 1849 and remained there to teach. Beginning in 1867 he served as a professor at the Mikhail Artillery Academy, where he introduced a special course in artillery technology. Gadolin developed a method for hooping the barrels of artillery pieces (1861). He was the first to propose strengthening the barrels by fitting hot cylinders over them. The pieces that were made this way, subsequently called built-up guns, could withstand higher pressures from the propellant gases. This made it possible to increase substantially the power and range of a gun without increasing its overall weight. By 1865, Gadolin’s work made it possible for the Obukhov Factory to start producing the new built-up steel guns; the result of this was the 1867 cannon design, which was adopted to arm the Russian Army. Gadolin’s method took on particular importance in the design of a large-caliber artillery system in 1877.

Gadolin studied various methods of metalworking, especially cutting, and was the author of textbooks on the technology of metals. He derived 32 macrosymmetrical crystal groups and gave a method of depicting these groups on a sphere that is used even today. The St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences awarded him the Lomonosov Prize in 1868 for his work The Derivation of All Crystalline Systems and Their Subdivisions From One Principle.


“O soprotivlenii sten orudii davleniiu porokhovykh gazov pri vystrele.” Artilleriiskii zhurnal, 1858, no. 3.
“Teoriia orudii, skreplennykh obruchami.” Artilleriiskii zhurnal, 1861, no. 12.


Shukhardin, S. V. “Aksel’ Vil’gel’movich Gadolin.” In Liudi russkoi nauki. Moscow, 1965.
Larman, E. K. A. V. Gadolin. Moscow, 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.