National Historic Chemical Landmark – Hall Process

The American Chemistry Society established the National Historic Chemical Landmarks program in 1992 to enhance public appreciation for the contributions of the chemical sciences to modern life in the United States and to encourage a sense of pride in their practitioners. The program does this by recognizing seminal achievements in the chemical sciences, recording their histories, and providing information and resources about Landmark achievements.

Hall Process: Production and Commercialization of Aluminum

Dedicated November 2, 2001, at Alcoa, Inc., in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

In 1886 Charles Martin Hall invented an economical electrochemical process to release aluminum from its ore. Until then, this light, lustrous and non-rusting metal was rare and costly. A group of Pittsburgh investors, headed by metallurgist Alfred E. Hunt, agreed to support the commercialization of Hall’s process and founded the Pittsburgh Reduction Company. In 1888 Hall, assisted by Arthur Vining Davis, began to produce aluminum in the company’s pilot plant on Smallman Street. In 1907 the company became the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa). Aluminum has since become part of everyday life with many uses — from teakettles in the early days, to aircraft, power lines, building materials, food packaging, and artwork.

Click to download Commercialization of Aluminum.

Click to download Aluminum by Electrochemistry.

For more information about the National Historic Chemical Landmarks program, visit www.acs.org/landmarks.

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