Mikhail Britnev (1822-1889) was a Russian ship owner, shipbuilder, and designer of the world's first icebreaker.
He was born in Kronstadt in 1822 into a merchant family of a hereditary honorary citizen of Kronstadt. In 1839, Mikhail Britnev graduated from the St. Petersburg Commercial School. From 1840, he was engaged in business and trade in Kronstadt.
To Britnev’s order, screw-driven tugboat Pailot with a reinforced hull and a powerful engine was built.
Britnev suggested his own approach to coping with ice: he used the weight of the ship itself rather than special appliances to break the ice cover. He began to work on extending navigation between Kronshtadt and Oranienbaum as early as in 1862. In 1864, after preliminary trials, the Pailot steamship was rebuilt according to his design. The Pailot's bow was modified and reinforces, sharpened and cut at an angle of 20 degrees below the waterline to the keel line, on the pattern of Pomor boats, so that it could "crawl" onto the ice, destroying it by its own weight. The vessel provided a passage in a channel it had broken through. The sloping bow helped not only to break the ice, but also significantly weakened the impact force on encountering ice floes. Owing to this approach, the Pailot with its conventional hull plating was never seriously damaged for all the time of operation. This method, that was for the first time in the world used in practice, is still applicable by icebreakers all the way up to the nuclear vessels. In later time, this shape of the bow was named "an icebreaker bow" and the steamer was recognized as the prototype of a new type of ships referred to as icebreakers.
The postage stamp provides a portrait of Mikhail Britnev and an image of the Pailot icebreaking ship.
In addition to the issue of the postage stamp, JSC Marka produced First Day Covers and special cancels for Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Design Artist: M. Podobed.
Face value: 45 rubles.
Stamp size: 42×30 mm, sheet size: 146×174 mm.
Emission form: a sheet with 15 (3×5) stamps.
Quantity: 120 thousand stamps (8 thousand sheets).