America’s Part in Soviet Engineering Triumphs (Jul, 1935)
America’s Part in Soviet Engineering Triumphs
FEW people realize, even today, how important a part America played in the greatest drama in history, the Five Year Plan of Soviet Russia.
This octopus-like rebuilding program, which provided mighty power plants, towering steel mills, and humming factories surpassed in size only by the American plants after which they were patterned, was brought to a highly successful conclusion in 1932. The second Five Year Plan of the U. S. S. R., now half-completed, calls for more factories and more machines, but stresses the production and consumption of Soviet-made goods.
With the establishment of friendly relations between the Soviet and American governments, greater and greater interest is being taken by Soviet engineers in the mass production methods employed by American manufacturers. Many Soviet commissions are being sent to this country to make studies in different industrial fields, and to make preliminary arrangements for the purchase of American-made machinery.
In the great iron and steel-working factories American technical methods are most evident. Largest in Europe are the Gorky and AMO (Moscow) automobile factories. At Gorky alone 140,000 Ford trucks and passenger cars a year can be turned out by American assembly line machinery.
High in the Ural mountains is Magnitogorsk, largest of European steel mills, the supply center for the metal industry. Here four blast furnaces are belching flame and smoke into the heavens day and night, converting a daily quota of 1,000 tons of iron ore into high quality pig iron. At Kuznetz, in Central Siberia, are three huge American-type blast furnaces, half a dozen open hearth furnaces, and other steel-working equipment.
Serving the steel machinery industry is the impressive Moscow ball-bearing plant, capable of producing 24,000,000 steel balls and roller bearings a year, of 100 different types.
Probably the largest caterpillar-type tractor plant in the world is at Cheliabinsk. This single plant is capable of turning out 40,000 tractors a year for Soviet agriculture and industry.
Soviet metal workers point with pride to the largest welded steel bridge in the world, spanning the Avushka river at Stalinsk.
Starting operation this year at Kharkov, the world’s largest turbo-generator works is to produce power generating units of up to 200,000 kw. size, for future hydro-electric projects.
Preliminary work is now under way on the greatest power plant in history, the Lower Volga hydroelectric plant, which is to have four times the output of the world-famous Dnieper River project. Over 10,000,000 acres of the drought-ridden trans-Volga region will be irrigated by use of this power.
Standing out among Soviet hydro-electric achievements is the Dnieper River dam and plant, now known as Dnieproges. Nine American-made turbo-generator units are here rapidly approaching their capacity output of 756,000 h.p., as the waters of the turbulent Dnieper rise to a height of 120 feet behind the largest masonry dam ever built. The power project and inter-connected industrial plants at Dnieproges will eventually involve a total cost of $800,000,000.
The completion of the Dnieper dam, with three 40-foot navigation locks, makes navigable a waterway linking the Black Sea with the Balticâ€”a project discussed and dreamed of by engineers of the old regime in Russia for centuries.
First in the world as regards the use of airplanes in forestry and agriculture is Soviet Russia. Not satisfied to wait until ground is dry enough in spring for tractor sowing, U. S. S. R. farmers spread seed from planes at ten times the speed of ordinary planting equipment. Almost 500,000 acres of land were sown in this way in 1934.
Airplanes Chase Frosts
Airplanes have been used effectively to spread smoke clouds in fighting early frosts in orchards and gardens. Airplane dusting has cleared almost a million acres already, of both farm and forest land, from insect pests.
On a par with other nations now is the Soviet Union in aviation development work. All-steel, electrically welded planes, tailless craft, autogiros, glidersâ€”countless other types of aircraft have been designed and built at TSAGI in Moscow, and at two other aviation institutes.
Umberto Nobile, former commander of the ill-fated dirigible Italia, is engineering consultant for the Soviet dirigible construction trust. Six experimental non-rigid and semirigid dirigibles have already been built and successfully tested; a 5,000,000 cu. ft. capacity rigid giant of the air, but little smaller than the U. S. Macon, is now being designed.
Moscow Gets Subway Line
The first 7-1/2-mile long line of Soviet Russia’s first subway line is now completed in Moscow. John Morgan, American consultant on this gigantic tunneling project, considers the Moscow subway superior in many respects to any underground railway in the world.
Pioneering in the manufacture of synthetic rubber on a commercial scale, Soviet engineers are now completing, in Armenia, a plant which will convert limestone and coal into a synthetic rubber of low cost and excellent wearing qualities, to be known as “sovpren.”
The recently completed graphite and asbestos manufacturing plants, and the nearly-completed abrasives plant in the Urals, are probably the largest of their kind in the world.
American architects have willingly given of their experience and knowledge to Soviet Russia. Soviet and American designers worked together in planning the Palace of the Soviets in Moscow, to be the largest public building in the world. Actual construction is scheduled to begin this year.