Alcoa Celebrates 125 Years of Modern Aluminum

March 16, 2011
This month marks a milestone in American history that’s known to few but benefits everyone. Thanks to the birth of the modern aluminum smelting process 125 years ago by Charles Martin Hall, thousands of products can be made safer, lighter, more fuel efficient and more recyclable.
On February 23, 1886, Charles Martin Hall passed an electric current through a molten cryolite-alumina solution to form the first small, shining globules of aluminum, known today as our “crown jewels.”
After Hall’s process was patented, aluminum became a more common metal and its attributes were recognized and sought after. Hall’s invention led to the founding of Alcoa – which started as the Pittsburgh Reduction Company in 1888. His invention is the reason that Alcoa has contributed to the heart of countless historic events and paved the way for newly developing industries around the globe. 
In celebration of Hall’s remarkable invention, Alcoa is initiating a series of events and activities to recognize Hall’s achievement and the influence of this miracle metal.

Alcoa Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer Kevin Anton: “We call aluminum the miracle metal not just for one reason – but for many. Its properties are simply amazing: lightweight and ideal for promoting fuel efficiency; strong enough to withstand deep ocean drilling and space travel; non-corrosive, making it perfect for use on the façade of buildings; and, of course, it is infinitely recyclable. No other material has all of these properties.”
No other metal has aluminum’s sustainability advantage. Nearly 75 percent of the aluminum ever produced is still in use today. The demand for this miracle metal in industries ranging from transportation and consumer electronics, to packaging and building & construction has never been brighter. As Anton notes, “Aluminum’s contributions to the advancement of society are limitless. And the ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking and experimentation that were characteristic of Charles Martin Hall continue to drive our ambitions at Alcoa today.”
One of Alcoa’s most recognized products in the transport industry are the forged aluminium wheels for trucks, trailers and buses. Compared to steel wheels, Alcoa aluminium wheels are
- lighter, resulting in increased payload
- stronger, resulting in increase lifetime
- more environmentally friendly, as they are 100% recyclable
- more profitable: reduced fuel consumption, less tyre wear, longer lifetime of brakes and suspension
- easier to clean, especially the Dura-Bright® finish
- and last but not least much better looking
For more info on Alcoa wheels, go to
Alcoa Wheel Products Europe
Industrieweg 135
B-3583 Paal
Tel. +32 11 458464