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Culture news, 20.10.2005 17:28

Russians unveil radiator monument

radiator The sculpture, of a cat lying on a windowsill over a heater, was unveiled at a power station in the city of Samara, south-east of Moscow.

Russians say the device was invented in St Petersburg 150 years ago.

Wednesday's ceremony came at the start of Samara's cold season, when central heating goes on throughout the city.

The sculpture was crafted by local artist Nikolay Kuklev, who used the cat to create an impression of cosiness and comfort.

"It is a monument to warmth, a monument to something that brings warmth and comfort. What could be better than that, particularly in winter?" he told NTV television in January.

The local energy company held a competition for the best photo of a cat enjoying the warmth of a radiator, and the winner served as a prototype for the sculpture.

It is commonly claimed that the Romans invented central heating, but the Samara company did some research which it said showed the radiator itself first appeared in 1855 in the then Russian capital, St Petersburg.

Its inventor, an ethnic German of Italian origin named Franz San-Galli, named it the "hot box" and patented it in Germany and the US.

Its Russian origins were later forgotten.

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(c) 2000