Movie mania, a bread riot, sub-standard tea and glass import substitution

Children work at the tea factory in Chelyabinsk region. Source: FotoSoyz / Vostock-Photo

Children work at the tea factory in Chelyabinsk region. Source: FotoSoyz / Vostock-Photo

RBTH turns the clock back a century and shines a light on the now-forgotten stories being reported on the inside pages of Russian newspapers in 1915 and the events and processes occupying the minds of the Russians of the age. Travel back in time with us week by week for a sense of what life was like in the twilight days of the Russian Empire.

Movie theaters and dearness

One of the reasons for the high prices in the stores located in busy places is the abundance of movie theaters in Petrograd. Merchants are complaining that the cost of renting premises is increasing day by day due to the fact that building owners are gladly renting them to movie theaters. Wherever a store empties out a cinema entrepreneur immediately appears and offers triple the amount… Even the courtyards are turning into movie theaters.

Petrogradsky Listok, April 20, 1915


Order for steamboats from America

The Transportation Ministry has made emergency orders of 400 steamboats from the largest American factories. Contracts have already been signed with the factories' representatives, according to which most of the steamboats must be supplied within two to three months and all the orders must be fulfilled within six months. In relation to these orders, the ministry has suggested that directors of Russian machine-building factories send their best workers and technicians overseas to familiarize themselves with the methods of building machines in America.

Ranee Utro, April 21, 1915


Disorder at Presnya

Yesterday, at 8 p.m., at Bolshaya Presnya, a crowd gathered at the closed Vorontsov bakery and demanded that the bakery open. The owner of the bakery refused since, according to him, he did not have any extra bread and everything had been sold. The crowd increased to 3,000-4,000 people and acted defiantly. The mounted police was called. Several stones were launched at the police from the crowd. Three bailiffs and two policemen received light injuries. Twenty people from the crowd were detained. The case is being investigated.

Russkoye Slovo, April 22, 1915


A great innovation at the Imperial Glass Factory

Currently all possible facilities are being established at the Imperial Porcelain and Glass Factories with the aim of producing optical glass for photographic lenses, field and theater binoculars, etc. Until now all this glass was imported from abroad, mainly from Germany, where the Zeiss Company has been supplying optical glass to practically the entire globe.

Petrogradsky Listok, April 24, 1915


The deteriorating quality of tea

We are informed that by not increasing prices on tea, tea merchants are filling tea packets from quality brands with tea of an inferior quality, thus deluding the consumer. Tea that is sold at small kiosks has particularly worsened in quality – the tea that costs 2 rubles a pound is now worse than the tea that used to cost 20 percent less. Why do tobacco products that have the same quality cost the same, wherever they are purchased?

Russkoye Slovo, April 26, 1915


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