Russo-Balt K 12/20 (Russia, 1911). Mosfilm studio museum

Russo-Balt K 12/20 (Russia, 1911). Mosfilm studio museum, Moscow. Took part in the movies “The Fall of the Empire,” “Love, One, Love,” “The Sins of the Fathers,” “The Horseman called Death,” “Yesenin,” “Christmas Trees 2014”.

Russo-Balt (sometimes Russobalt or Russo-Baltique) was one of the first Russian companies that produced vehicles and aircraft between 1909 and 1923. Its successor is the luxury armored SUVs producer Dartz.

The Russo-Baltic Wagon Factory (German: Russisch-Baltische Waggonfabrik; Russian: Русско-Балтийский вагонный завод, RBVZ) was founded in 1874 in Riga, then a major industrial centre of Russian Empire. Originally, the new company was a subsidiary of the Van der Zypen & Charlier company in Cologne-Deutz, Germany.

In 1894 the majority of its shares were sold to investors in Riga and St. Petersburg, among them local Baltic German merchants F. Meyer, K. Amelung, and Chr. Schroeder, as well as Schaje Berlin, a relative of Isaiah Berlin. The company eventually grew to 3,800 employees.

Between 1909 and 1915 some 625 cars were built at the railway car factory RBVZ, initially to the designs of the young Swiss engineer Julian Potterat. Potterat had formerly been a designer at Automobiles Charles Fondu in Brussels, and was now at age 26 directors of the RBVZ car section and a principal designer.

In 1915 the Riga factory was evacuated, with the equipment being transferred to St. Petersburg, Fili (Moscow) and Tver.

Today in Riga, Latvia, there is a company named Russo-Balt that manufactures trailers.


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