The formation of Lipetsk as a ferrous metallurgy centre dates back to the reign of Russian tsar Peter I. Preparing for his Azov campaign and the construction of the Russian fleet, he ordered general-admiral Apraxin "to construct Lipsky iron works upstream the Voronezh river in Romanov district for the needs of fleet and the whole region".
At the end of the XIX century iron ore deposits attracted both domestic and foreign manufacturers. On January 28, 1899 there was founded "Tambov Iron and Mining Company", and the construction of Sokol iron mill began on the outskirts of Lipetsk. The mill was named after the neighbouring village.
On October 10, 1900 the construction of two blast furnaces was finished. One of the furnaces was put into operation only two years later - on June 15, 1902. However, it was stopped 11 months later, having produced 2445593 poods of iron (1 pood=16.38 kg).
In 1910 new company was formed under the same name "Tambov Iron and Mining Company".
On September 26, 1911 it put into operation the first blast furnace. On February 1, 1913 the concessionaires put into operation the second blast furnace. The output of iron that year was the highest and made 6952711 poods.
Since 1915 till 1917 the mill performed military orders.
In 1918 the mill and ore mines were nationalized. On February 3, the first mill management was formed.
From 1919 until 1922 the mill produced railcar castings, bearings, straw cutters, oven castings.
In January 1923 the mill was given a new name "Svobodny Sokol" (Free Falcon).
Since 30-s the mill specialized as a pipe casting factory. On November 1, 1934 the first iron water pipe was cast at the pipe casting plant No1. Academician Ivan Bardin played an outstanding role in the development of the iron works "Svobodny Sokol". The reconstruction of the blast furnace began due to his initiative.
During the World war II the works fulfilled military orders, and the basic equipment was evacuated. In the post-war period the blast furnace was reconstructed and was put into operation by the personnel of the works.
In 1949 the main shop of the works - pipe casting plant was restored. In the period of 1950-1960 the plant was reconstructed to increase output capacity. At that time the factory power plant was re-equipped, mechanical assembly shop was renewed, new shops were built and industrial processes were mechanized. On October 30, 1958 the first facility in the country for centrifugal casting of water supply iron pipes was put into operation.
In July 1960 the factory power plant was included into the United European Energy System.
In 1973 the pipe casting plant No1 was reconstructed and equipped with new centrifugal pipe casting machines.
In January 1975 reconstruction of pipe casting plant No2 was finished and outdated centrifugal casting machines "541" were replaced by equipment with higher productivity, "LN-102A" machines.
In 1990 the first line of the ductile iron pipes casting facility was put into operation. Its output capacity was 180,000 tons a year of pipes that met the requirements of international standard ISO 2531, of sizes 100, 150, 200, 250, 300 mm. The equipment was supplied and assembled by leading pipe casting companies of Germany and France (Buderus and Pont-a-Mousson).
Thus, for 100 years of its existence, OAO Lipetsk Iron Works "Svobodny Sokol" has turned into a big metallurgy enterprise with up-to-date equipment and technology.
Lipetsk Iron Works "Svobodny Sokol" is a metallurgical enterprise producing cast iron, ductile iron pressure pipes and fittings and various iron castings.