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The town of Gus-Khrustalny was born from the crystal works, which belonged to the Russian noble family of Maltsovs. In 1723 three Russian entrepreneurs established a glass workshop near Moscow, and in 1746 Vasiliy Maltsov inherited the business after its founders had died. Maltsovs sons, Alexander and Akim, started building new plant for crystal production, but in 1747 Moscow government issued a regulation, which eliminated all wine, copper, iron and glass works near the capital. Brothers had to move, and in 1750 they found two fine places for their family business and shared the works. Akim chose a small river, Gus, several hundred kilometers from Moscow, but much closer to Vladimir. That was how the town was born.

New glass works consisted of four pot furnaces and employed 59 serf peasants, who produced dishes, green glass, carriage and mirror glasses. In 1759 another plant was built it produced glass for windows. The place for the plants was a smart choice plenty of raw materials and wood, close proximity of river and large trade junctions, such as Moscow and Nizhniy Novgorod, provided fast and successful development of the settlement. Akim Maltsovs son, Sergey built a stone chapel for plant workers in 1816, and since that time a small settlement with 372 inhabitants became a village, named Gus after the river.

In 1826 another Maltsov established a cotton-spinning plant near existing crystal works. In the beginning the new plant employed 15 serf peasants, but later it gave job to many jobless glass-makers and their wives. In 1837 the plant already had 385 workers. In 1830s Gus crystal works provided glass and etc for the local market. Works owner Ivan Maltsov often visited Europe for business needs and decided to see what was going on there in the glass market. Ivan Maltsov took Czech Bohemian glass-works for a model, and his own works started using cheap glass instead of expensive crystal for its products. Good price and quality of new glass make Gus products extremely popular. Ivan Maltsov understood the importance of science in his business, and provided enough money for experimenting. His works were the first to start production of ruby glass and other colored glasses.

Ivan Maltsov took care about his workers he built a hospital, a pharmacy, a school and stone houses for his employers. Population grew rapidly 8000 inhabitants in 1886. In the end of 19th century Gus-Khrustalny rated among largest industrial centres of Vladimir Region.

Revolution of 1917 brought drastic changes to the life of Gus-Khrustalny in February 1919 Gus-Khrustalny obtained the town status. However, lack of funds and administrative buildings together with various problems the status of Gus-Khrustalny changed back into workers settlement and got town status only in 1931. During Great Patriotic War citizens of Gus-Khrustalny produced thermoses, glass bulbs, flasks and thermometers for the front.

Today Gus-Khrustalny is a town with 70000 citizens. Its crystal works is the largest Russian production of industrial and art glass.




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  (Vladimir Region)

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