Today on Day’s to remember, we celebrate how April 2nd 1889, a fellow named Charles Hall received a patent for aluminum.
Charles Martin Hall had a purpose to his life. And it wasn’t a small one, either. From the time he was a teenager, Hall noted that although aluminum was the Earth’s most abundant metal, the process for extracting it from its ore in a laboratory was so difficult it was only made in small quantities. Supply and demand made aluminum as expensive as silver. Hall vowed to find a better way.
During his years at Oberlin College in Ohio, he tried and failed repeatedly. Still, he stayed positive and worked to discover an easier method of extraction.
Day and night, “consciously and subconsciously, he was still working on the problem of producing cheap aluminum,” wrote Julius Edwards in “The Immortal Woodshed: The Story of the Inventor Who Brought Aluminum to America.” “Hall was at heart . . . a tireless experimenter.”
He approached science deliberately and logically. He formed theories based on his experiments, then asked others to confirm his findings.
After graduating in 1885, Hall returned to his family’s home to continue his experiments. He went over his records to re-evaluate the problem, and then embarked on a new strategy. He realized he’d need more work space and new equipment, so he moved his lab out of the house and into the woodshed.
While his fellow graduates jumped into the business world, Hall focused on making his discovery so he could make his mark in that world. He locked himself in the woodshed, combining countless substances in his quest. He carefully logged each attempt and its outcome. When he found a promising combination, he tried numerous variations until he was sure it wouldn’t work.
Then, in February 1886, Hall made his breakthrough: electrolyzing alumina dissolved in molten cryolite. He’d discovered an inexpensive method for isolating pure aluminum from its compounds.
He wasn’t alone, however: The potential rewards for a cheaper aluminum isolation process had scientists the world over racing to find a workable method.
French chemist Paul L.T. Heroult was one of them, and he developed the same method at about the same time as Hall. The process became known as the Hall-Heroult process.
Who invented aluminum foil?
Tin was first replaced by aluminum starting in 1910, when the first aluminum foil rolling plant, “Dr. Lauber, Neher & Cie., and Emmishofen.” was opened in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, the plant, owned by aluminum manufacturers J.G.
When was Aluminum first discovered and used?
In 1808, Humphry Davy identified the existence of a metal base of alum, which he at first termed aluminum and later aluminum. The metal was first produced in 1825 in an impure form by Danish physicist and chemist Hans Christian Ørsted.
Now that you know how aluminum came about the next time you wrap something in foil, remember how April 2nd 1889, a fellow named Charles Hall received a patent for aluminum.
Written & Designed by JD Mitchell