Reconstruction of the Flagstaff of the Winter
On 9 June 2006 the flagstaff of the Winter Palace, which once was the Main Flagstaff of the Russian Empire, was reopened to public view following restoration work. Originally the "mast for the royal colors" was made of wood. At the end of May, 1885, the Company of the St Petersburg Metalworking Factory offered to manufacture a new flagstaff made of conical tubes of boiler-plate iron riveted together and carefully chased, using two cast-iron plates in the vault and in the base. The work was completed in July, 1885. This flagstaff, which was assembled in keeping with the traditions of ship masts, has survived down to our day.
However, with time corrosion exerted a destructive effect on the riveted seams in various places along the entire height of the flagstaff; there was also damage to both upper and lower parts of the pulley blocks along which the rope moves when the flag is raised and lowered. Specialists from Betakom OJSC in the Bolshevik Factory performed X-ray and other defect analysis which made it possible to see that only two of the nine sections of the flagstaff did not have hidden damage. In the course of investigating the element holding the flagstaff in the vertical position, traces of late repair work (end of the 19th, start of the 20th century) were uncovered.
Work to recreate the flagstaff began in the autumn of 2005. Repair was carried out on the support element and the pulleys. Several sections of the flagstaff were replaced with new ones made from stainless steel.
The general contractor of the project was Betakom OJSC. The manufacture of parts for the mast was performed by Karkas+, OJSC. All work was carried out under the inspection of Chief Mechanic of the State Hermitage, O.V. Tolpygin.