His father Desmid Grigoriyevich Antufiev who allegedly belonged to the state peasants came to Tula from the village work as blacksmith. By the end of the century, Nikita Demidov was the owner of a metal plant selling iron successfully. The meeting with Peter the Great changed his entire life. However, the circumstances of this meeting have overgrown with rumors and legends so much that nobody has ever managed to discover the truth. One way or another, the tsar and industrialist liked each other so much that Nikita Antufiev won the contract for supplying arms to the army during the Great Northern War. Demidov’s rifles were cheaper than the foreign models, while the quality was the same, so the tsar decided to give several state-owned plants in Urals into his hands. In the charter dated 1702 Nikita Antufiev was mentioned as Demidov for the first time. The former Tula resident showed his ambitions in Urals: “Demidov who has less than a quarter of state peasants at his plants if compared to state-owned enterprises produces twice more iron than the state plants do.” By 1720, the Ural region (think Demidov’s plants) accounted for at least two thirds of Russia’s metal output. For outstanding merits, nobility by birth was awarded to the industrialist, and surname Demidov was officially assigned to him starting from that time.
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