The oldest testing machine is located in St Petersburg

Last year, testing-machine manufacturer Zwick organized a search for the ‘oldest materials testing machine’ still in service today, to which more than 50 firms and institutions responded. The main prize was a modernization worth €10,000!

The leading contender was the St Petersburg State Transport University, whose employees installed a horizontal hydraulic tensile testing machine in 1877 as part of a laboratory expansion program. The machine had been built a year earlier by MAN in Nuremburg to the  design of Ludwig Werder.

This testing machine (Fmax 100 kN) has only been modernized once during its 136-year career. This was at the beginning of the 20th century, when an electric motor was added to simplify the setting-up of tests. The first components tested were chains for suspension bridges, followed over the next 130-plus years by several thousand tests on chains, ropes and fasteners.

Fig.: Horizontal hydraulic tensile testing machine at St Petersburg University