The history of the Saint-Petersburg Paper Mill of Goznak started in 1818 when the Expedition of Storing State Papers was founded under the Decree of Emperor Alexander I. The new enterprise was designed to manufacture assignation paper and “all other kinds with the State Coat of Arms”.
Lieutenant General Augustine de Betancourt (1758 – 1824) was entrusted with projecting and building the Expedition of Storing State Papers. “Well-grounded in all technical manufactures” Lieutenant General Augustine de Betancourt, of Spanish origin, a well-known engineer and architect and one of the best-educated people of the time, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, developed the plan of creating of a new production site uniting the manufacture of paper and printing works for printing assignations and other state papers under the request of D.A. Guriev, Minister of Finance.
On March 4, 1816 Betancourt presented a plan of arrangement of a new production site. Alexander I approved it with his resolution “Let it be so”.
In two years a small town was built; a building of the paper mill, printing works, mechanic, engraving, numbering and mold workshops, a directorate, apartments for the managers and barracks for the workers were located within its territory. The establishment was conveyed to the Ministry of Finance.
At that time the papermaking process was very long and labour-consuming. The manual production prevailed, hemp was the major raw material. It was swingled, soaked in water, boiled, formed on a special grid, dried and pressed into sheets. To produce watermarks, special grids with engraved stamps were fixed to the paper molds. Assignations, armorial documents, banknotes, postage stamps, promissory notes, share certificates and other products with watermarks were printed on such paper. At that time the Expedition was the only enterprise in Russia that not only produced paper but also used it in its own printing production.
y the 1830s the Expedition started publishing books, albums, art reproductions and postage stamps.
The Expedition of Storing State Papers soon became the best printing works equipped with the most perfect machinery of the time, cutting-edge technologies, and highly-qualified specialists. Outstanding scientists, inventors, artists employed at the Expedition took an active part in its creation and development.
B.S. Jakobi created at the Expedition of Storing State Papers the first electrotype workshop for copying copper clichés, V.M. Kepler drew the sketch of the first Russian postage stamp, I.I. Orlov invented the famous “Orlov’s printing”, G.N. Skamoni created the first device for counterfeited banknote detection, a wonderful artist R.G. Zarrin… The list of those whose efforts contributed to the creation of the famous technical and artistic school of the Expedition of Storing State Papers can be continued for a long time.
The Expedition’s successes were awarded with high prizes at foreign exhibitions many times. In 1872 the enterprise received the gold medal for the art of creating watermarks at the World Exhibition in London. In 1878 in Paris the Expedition was awarded with a gold medal for printing art. At the World Exhibition of 1879 in Vienna the Russian masters received a Honorary Diploma for their achievements in the graphic field. And in 1891 in Moscow the Enterprise was awarded with an Acknowledge Certificate “For exemplary works in the fields of heliogravure, chrome halftone engraving and zincography”.
At the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries the Expedition faced considerable changes. Many workshops were enlarged and re-equipped, a new water station was built, the engraving and artistic production was created. A project of publishing books for the people was realized in creative co-operation with Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin, a famous Russian artist. Manual production of paper with some paintings by Vasnetsov and Aivasovskiy reproduced in watermarks were a miracle of real art. These and other artistic products were sold at the Expedition’s own shops in the territory of the Paper Mill and in Nevskiy prospect, 19.
A theater was built at the Expedition at the same time, a library was opened. The Primary school for the workers’ children was reorganized and became a 9-year school with three technical classes.
In 1918 the Expedition of Storing State Papers was moved to Moscow. The major part of the equipment and all departments of the Expedition not engaged in paper production were also moved. Many workers of the enterprise also moved to Moscow. On July 6, 1919 the People's Commissariat of Finance of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic approved the provision about Management of Factories of Storing State Papers (Goznak).
The whole paper production of the former Expedition of Storing State Papers remained in Fontanka 144. The enterprise was first called the Petrograd Factory of Storing State Papers, then the Leningrad Paper Mill of Goznak. In 1995 under the Order of the Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation the enterprise was called the Saint-Petersburg Paper Mill of Goznak.
Till July 2006 the Saint-Petersburg Paper Mill of Goznak was one of the 8 enterprises incorporated in Association “Goznak” – the largest organization created for the production of money and protection of state papers against counterfeiting.
On July 12, 2006 the state registration of Federal State Unitary Enterprise “Goznak” (Goznak) took place. Since July 12, 2006 all the 8 enterprises of Association “Goznak” have become Branches of Goznak and have been operating as a unitary enterprise.
In the 20th century the demand of special sorts of paper has increased considerably. Goznak operates actively at both the Russian and the international markets of security products manufacturers. The enterprise competes and often wins international tenders for the supply of banknote paper. The Saint-Petersburg Paper Mill executes important orders for the production of banknote paper for the countries of the Latin America, Middle and Far East, South-Eastern Asia, Africa and Europe, Eastern Europe as well as the CIS countries.