Kurako, Mikhail Konstantinovich
Born Sept. 23, 1872, on the Kozel’ estate, in present-day Krasnopol’e Raion, Mogilev Oblast; died Feb. 8, 1920, in Kuznetsk. Russian metallurgist. Member of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik).
Kurako was the son of the owner of a small estate. In 1890 he was employed by the Aleksandrovskie ironworks and rolling mills of the Briansk Joint Stock Society (now the G. I. Petrovskii Dniepropetrovsk Metallurgical Plant). Later, he worked at other metallurgical plants in the south of Russia. He was a rollerman, a sample porter, a furnaceman, and a foreman.
Kurako studied physics, chemistry, and several foreign languages on his own. Owing to his outstanding abilities, and without a specialist’s education, Kurako became the supervisor of a blast-furnace works. After his active participation in the revolutionary events of 1905, Kurako was exiled to Vologda Province (1906).
After his exile, Kurako returned to the Donbas (1908), where he worked as supervisor of the blast-furnace works at the Iuzovka Metallurgical Plant. He founded a school for Russian blast-furnace workers that played an important part in organizing production and in modernizing the technology of smelting cast iron. He designed and constructed the first mechanical skip hoist in Russia for loading the charge for one of the furnaces at the Kramatorsk Plant. He developed an original hearth design, still being used today in blast furnaces. He improved the tuyere for supplying the blast. He introduced four standard types of shaped refractory brick, which made it possible to halve the time necessary for major furnace overhauls. In 1917, he went to the Kuzbas, where the design of a large metallurgical plant was developed under his leadership. Many of Kurako’s ideas have been realized in the construction of the Kuznetsk Metallurgical Combine.
REFERENCESBek, A., and G. Grigor’ev. Mikhail Konstaninovich Kurako [2nd ed.]. Moscow, 1953.
Bek, A. “Kurako.” In his book Moi geroi. Moscow, 1967.
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