Pavel Akimovich Ovchinnikov, a native of peasants, the serf of Prince Volkonsky. As a twelve-year-old teenager, he was sent by the owner to develop his artistic abilities to Moscow, to a workshop for the production of gold and silver items, which belonged to his brother.
He went from an apprentice to a goldsmith. Having received his freedom, Pavel married and, with his wife’s dowry, organized his own firm of gold and silver products in Moscow.
By 1870, the factory employed ninety craftsmen, it brought in more than 250 thousand rubles a year in income and became one of the main jewelry enterprises in Moscow. The products of the Ovchinnikov factory were distinguished by their pronounced national design and high quality workmanship.
In the first years, Ovchinnikov’s factory produced items for worship, later the company began to produce household items: silverware, sets, sugar bowls, wine sets, broths, ladles, paperweights, cigarette cases, ink utensils, boxes, sculptural groups.
Ovchinnikov’s jewelry production has repeatedly been the executor of large state orders for the imperial court. Since 1865, the company has received the highest status of “court workshop”.
The products of the Ovchinnikov factory were very popular not only within the country. The firm also gained international fame for its technically daring enamel work, gaining recognition at the 1893 World Exhibitions in Chicago and 1900 in Paris.
After the death of Pavel Akimovich in 1888, the business was continued by his sons: Mikhail, Alexander, Pavel and Nikolai.
Mikhail Pavlovich, heading the St. Petersburg branch of the firm, became a senior in the business. Alexander Pavlovich ran a factory and a store in Moscow. The personal achievements of the brothers also made a significant contribution to the development of the family business: Mikhail Pavlovich for a long time was a permanent member of the Council of the Imperial Stroganov School. His brother Pavel Pavlovich graduated from the same educational institution in 1886 with honors.
In many ways, the products of Ovchinnikov’s masters were trendsetters, often not only continuing the established traditions, but also forming new trends in silver and gold business of the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries.