The town of Zlatoust, founded in 1754, has always payed a large part in weapon creation in Russia and supplying its military with swords in particular. Even during the 20th century when guns were more popular as a weapon, Zlatoust’s demand for swords did not falter. World War 1 saw the use of roughly “half a millions swords and cavalry lances” and World War 2 called for even more from Zlatoust in the form of combat knives. This picture of the museum, called the Arsenal, established in Zlatoust is meant to honor the craftsmanship that went into the hundreds of millions of swords that were produced in the metal working plant that makes the town so famous.
Beyond the sheer number of swords that the Zlatoust plant produced, the detail that went into the carvings and engravings found on some of the swords as well as the artistry of the hilt have earned the plant a great amount of renown. These swords were beyond compare in more than their looks but also their quality as the town became known for its use of Russian Damascus Steel, even producing some of the first cannons made of Russian steel. This particular steel was praised for its strength as well as its fashionable looks for more decorative pieces. But the town of Zlatoust was not always just a peaceful place for the plant to go about its work but in 1903 the Zlatoust workers organized a strike that was violently put down by Tsarists authorities.
Zlatoust was a town founded and built upon its metal works and sword producing, the Arsenal museum, established in 1825, tells the story of its metal work and sword making through the years. This particular pictures shows off one of the ‘hills’ of sabers and swords that can be found in the museum while on the back wall some of the more intricate pieces can be seen. The picture itself has an aesthetic appeal int he layout of the swords as well as the off centering of the focal point of the main ‘hill’ of swords. The picture certainly captures the numbers and style of the Zlatoust swords. In a time in Russia when the winds of change where ever seemingly on the horizon, in a town that was considered integral to the imperialists in terms of manufacturing weapons, the town had already seen the consequences of defying the imperial forces while protesting for more workers rights. The new ideas of the time on the harsh rule of the common people touched everywhere, even a town that was kept under tight watch by ruling forces.