Pavel Petrovich Melnikov

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mel’nikov, Pavel Petrovich


Born July 22 (Aug. 3), 1804, in Moscow; died July 22 (Aug. 3), 1880, at Liuban’ Station, now in Leningrad Oblast. Russian engineer and scientist in the field of transportation. Honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1858).

In 1825, Mel’nikov graduated “first in sciences”from the Institute of the Corps of Railroad Engineers and was retained there as a teacher. Beginning in 1833 he was a professor of applied mechanics. Together with N. O. Kraft, he planned the St. Petersburg-Moscow railroad, and in 1842 he became head of the Northern Administration of the railroad’s construction. In 1862 he was appointed chief manager of railroads. From 1866 to 1869, he was minister of railroads and from 1870 to 1875, he was a member of the Committee on Railroads.

In the mid-1830’s, Mel’nikov introduced a section on railroads in the syllabus for applied mechanics for the first time in Russia. In 1835 he published the first theoretical work on this topic entitled On Railroads. This book and others by Mel’nikov for many years remained the basic textbooks for specialists in rail-road transportation. Mel’nikov took part in developing the theoretical foundations of the design and construction of railroads. He also participated in developing preliminary plans for railroads in southern Russia. He advocated the development of railroads and other means of transportation according to a previously prepared plan. Mel’nikov was instrumental in training a large number of highly qualified engineers.

At his own expense, Mel’nikov built near Liuban’ Station a boarding school for the children of poorly paid railroad employees and a home for elderly women. He bequeathed all his personal savings for the maintenance of these institutions. A bust of Mel’nikov is in a garden near Liuban’ Station.


Zhitkov, S. Biografii inzhenerov putei soobshcheniia, fasc. 1. St. Petersburg, 1889.
Voronin, M. I. P. P. Melnikov. Leningrad, 1959. (Includes a bibliography.)
Virginskii, V. S. “P. P. Melnikov.”In the collection Liudi russkoi nauki : Tekhnika. Moscow, 1965.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.