Questions about samovars

What is a samovar?

A samovar is a device used to boil water for tea, with a chimney inside. (definition by V.I.Dal)


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What is the origin of the samovar?

Samovar is a Russian invention. The first samovar was made in the village of Nizhne-Irginsk (Perm Territory, Urals). Similar devices (with a chimney inside) can also be found in other countries, for example, in China. There, it is usually, a caldron type device with a chimney, and is used to cook various dishes.


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What are the forms/shapes of a samovar?

The shape of a samovar is determined by the shape of its body: round – a sphere samovar; oval – an egg shaped samovar; cylindrical – a barrel shaped samovar; with interception in the upper or lower part – a samovar-vase, etc.


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Whats is used to heat the samovar?

Initially, samovars used charcoal, wood chips or cones as fuel, therefore they were called zcharoviye. Modern samovars use electric heaters in the form of a metal spiral, with a cord (an electric plug).


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Whats is a samovar used for?

First of all for boiling water, although there were samovars for making coffee or samovars-kitchens for cooking simple meals, such as porridge or broth.


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How do you use a samovar?

  1.  Pour water into the body of the samovar and close the lid.
  2. Place fuel ( charcoal, wood chips or cones ) into the chimney and light the fuel with matches.
  3. To extinguish the fire in the chimney, close the cap on the top of the samovar, and after a couple of minutes the fire will go out. It prevents the air flow inside necessary for combustion.

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Why is there a stamp/engravings on a samovar?

The stamp/engraving on the samovar helps to determine the name of the manufacturer and the time of manufacture (approximately). The stamp was placed on all samovars (19-20 centuries), but with time, the stamp can be erased during cleaning of the samovar surface.


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What are the techniques for the production of samovars?

The following techniques were often used in manufacturing of samovars: hand forging, figure casting, metalwork, assembly (mounting), pressure, cleaning and polishing of surfaces, nickel plating of external surfaces, tinning (tin coating) of the inner wall.


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In which countries were samovars most often used?

Samovar is originally a Russian invention and can also be found in countries that were once part of the Russian Empire or the USSR: Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, etc.. Samovars from Russia were also imported to Persia (Iran).


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Where was the first samovar made?

Samovar first appeared in 1738, in the village.of  Nizhne-Irgtinsk.


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What is a wood-burning samovar?

A wood samovar is often called zcharovoy. It uses charcoal, wood chips or cones as fuel to heat the samovar.


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What is an electric samovar?

Samovar with an internal electric heater in the form of a metal spiral.


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How is the chasing/casting of the samovar done?

The relief pattern on the samovar wall is done using special hammers, on a specially cast steel mold. First, part of the samovar wall is heated in the forge, then the mold is applied over it and is chased using a hammer.


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Questions about bouillottes

What is a bouillotte?

It is a device used for setting the table and keeping the water warm. It is usually in the form of a teapot on a stand  ( or suspended ), with an alcohol burner underneath.


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Where did the bouillotte come from?

Bouillotte is a French word, meaning “hot water bottle”. The device was used in the UK, France, Germany and the USA.


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What are the types of bouillottes?

A bouillotte can be alcohol based – with a small alcohol burner underneath, or kettlebell – without an alcohol lamp, but with a short pipe inside, where the red-hot kettlebell was lowered.


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What is the difference between bouillotte and samovar?

Samovar is used to boil water and a bouillotte is used to keep it warm.


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Questions about the traditions of teadrinking

When did tea appear in Russia for the first time?

Tea came to Russia from China, under Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich, approximately  in 1638.


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When did coffee appear in Russia for the first time?

Coffee was brought to Russia by Peter the Great, after his return from Europe, where he spent almost 1.5 years (1697-1698).


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What were the traditional hot drinks in Russia?

The original Russian hot drink is a sbiten, which lost its popularity only in the 20th century. This is a infusion of fragrant herbs (mint, thyme, oregano, etc.) with honey and spices.


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What traditional sweets were served with hot drinks in Russia?

Sbiten ( which is already sweet) was served on its own or with bagels.
Tea was typically served with honey, jam, crushed sugar, pastille, sweet pastries, gingerbread, bagels, pastry or other sweets.


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