The world’s first ship model basin built in England at suggestion of William Froude in 1872 convinces shipbuilders around the world in the benefit of ship model tests.
Admiral A.A. Popov, a prominent naval architect, the designer of the first round ships (armoured batteries known as 'popovkas'), the Livadia royal yacht, the first Russian armour-clad battleship Petr Velikiy ('Peter the Great') and the world-first ocean armoured cruiser General-Admiral, is one of the first voicing the need for a national model basin.
The Naval Technical Committee of the Naval Administration in charge of all shipbuilding matters for the first time favours the idea of establishing a ship model tank in the country as initially suggested by a great Russian scientist D.I. Mendeleev.
The idea of setting up a model basin finds active support from the Head of the Naval Administration, General-Admiral Great Duke Aleksey Alexandrovich.
Admiral Andrey A. Popov
Dmitry I. Mendeleev
General-Admiral Great Duke Aleksey Alexandrovich
The Marine Technical Committee approved the model basin preliminary design.
A part of the Model Basin building drawing (blueprint)
Cover page of the Naval Administration file of model basin foundation documents
A channel trough encased in concrete, a building over it and a two-storey block of office and auxiliary rooms are erected on the New Holland Island in St. Petersburg. A.A. Grekhnev, a lecturer (later professor) at the Naval Academy is appointed the superintendent of the new institution.
Aleksey A. Grekhnev
The model basin building on the New Holland Island (St. Petersburg) (right and centre)
Completion of work associated with towing carriage and other equipment installation. In June, the Tank moulds its first wax model of the Gertsog Edinbourgskiy ('Duke of Edinburgh') armoured cruiser. Commencement of verification tests with Poltava-class armoured battleship and Rossija ('Russia')-class cruiser models.
The Poltava-class fleet armoured battleship Petropavlovsk
The first towing carriage
The Gertsog Edinbourgsky armoured cruiser
The cruiser wax model moulding (right) before planing off
Official commissioning of the Naval Administration Towing Tank, the first in Russia and the sixth in the world research institution performing ship model tests to find engine power requirements for specified speeds and hull lines with the least power requirements.
On March 8, Emperor Alexander III accompanied by royal family members and high-ranking officers of the Naval Administration visits and closely inspects the Towing Tank.
It is officially assumed to be the Krylov Centre foundation date.
Emperor Alexander III
The model basin commissioning announcement in Novoye Vremia St.Petersburg newspaper
The Tank completes testing the Osliabia fleet armour-clad battleship model, the first ship for which the lines drawing was generated based on test results and recommendations of the Towing Tank. Earlier model tests served only for verification purposes and their results were never applied in practical design.
Osliabia (Peresvet)-class armoured battleships became known for good seakeeping and excellent propulsive performances.
The Osliabia fleet armoured battleship
On January 3, after A.A. Grekhnev leaves the Tank, Naval Administration Order No.276 appoints Captain of the Admiralty A.N. Krylov 'the Acting Superintendent of the Tank'.
A.N. Krylov suggests establishing a scientific institution that should include the towing tank, testing and physical-chemical laboratories for research on ship construction materials, a mechanical laboratory and an electrical engineering laboratory.
The first Russian submarine Delfin ('Dolphin') design and model tests begin. The work goes on in the Towing Tank building and the project manager is I.G. Boubnov, the Chief Assistant to the Tank Superintendent.
Thus, the Towing Tank becomes the birthplace of the Russian professional submarine design.
The Delfin submarine presentation for Emperor Nicolas II
Aleksey N.Krylov (1900)
The Delfin submarine at the Baltic Shipyardquay
I.G. Boubnov's sketch explaining a special set-up for submarine model testing
In the same year, Admiral S.O. Makarov orders the Tank to perform model tests of the world’s first ocean-going icebreaker Ermak for hullform optimisation. He also stages a series of model tests for the Pertopavlovsk fleet armoured battleship in order to look into subdivision and damage control issues.
Rear-Admiral S.O. Makarov
The Ermak icebreaker
During 1899–1900, they were carrying out an unprecedented salvage operation to save the coast-guard armoured ship General-Admiral Apraksin grounded in rocks off the Gogland Island. The supervisor of the operation Rear Admiral Z.P. Rozhestvensky has requested assistance from the Towing Tank. The Tank built and tested a model of the ship. The results served for making practical calculations and experimenting at the accident site. That was an important contribution to the eventual success of the operation, which many experts believed to be hopeless.
The General-Admiral Apraksin coastguard armoured ship
Diving survey work at the grounded armour-clad
On April 3, Emperor Nicolas II visited the Tank and 'deigned to be entirely pleased with both the performed experiments and the observed order of things, and expressed his Imperial gratitude to the Superintendent of the Tank' (the quotation is from A.N. Krylov’s service record).
Emperor Nicolas II on board the Askold cruiser
The first page of A.N.Krylov's service record file
In the same year, A.N. Krylov joins a voyage on board the 1-rank cruiser Askold to study ship hull vibration & deformation behaviour.
The Askold cruiser (photo taken during WW1)
A.N.Krylov (top left) with the officers of the 1st-rank cruiser Askold