Charles Baird

1766 - 1843

Engineer, who build Russia's first steamship. Born in Westertown (Falkirk), Baird was the son of the surveyor to the Forth & Clyde Canal and elder brother of Hugh Baird (1770 - 1827) who succeeded to the same post. Baird gained an apprenticeship in the Carron Iron Works in 1782, and within three years was a supervisor in the artillery department. In 1786 he was sent to Russia to assist in the establishment of a cannon foundry for the Russian Navy. He settled in St. Petersburg and established a successful business which specialised in the manufacture of steam-driven machinery. Most notably he built Russia's first steamship, Elizaveta, and for many years had a monopoly on steamship routes from St. Petersburg. Baird also built bridges and architectural ironwork.

He died in Russia and lies buried in the Smolensk Lutheran Cemetery.

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