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History

History

Arconic is built on an extraordinary heritage of innovation that began with the founding of Alcoa in 1888. Our businesses have helped shape the aerospace, automotive and building and construction industries since the days of the Wright brothers and Henry Ford.  On November 1, 2016, Arconic launched as a global leader in multi-material, precision-engineered products and solutions for high-growth markets, following our successful separation from Alcoa’s bauxite, alumina and aluminum products units. Today we continue to build on more than a century of innovation to help transform the way we fly, drive, and build.

Below are highlights of our proud history of innovation: 

1886: Charles Martin Hall invents the modern aluminum production process, later known as the Hall-Héroult process

1888

1888: First incorporated as the Pittsburgh Reduction Company, based on technology developed by Alcoa’s co-founder, Charles Martin Hall. The Company would be later renamed Aluminum Company of America in 1907, and Alcoa in 1999

1901

1901: Began fabricating lightweight aluminum body and parts for automobiles

1903

1903: Supplied aluminum parts for the Wright Brothers’ plane in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, helping pave the way for the modern aerospace industry

Airship

1916: Introduced our first aerospace alloy, 2017-T4, which was used primarily as aircraft sheet and plate, and was integral to the USS Shenandoah rigid airship

1917

1917: Helped make U.S. military equipment lighter, faster and stronger, with the company’s trademark aluminum featured in helmets, gas masks, and canteens

1928

1928: Pioneered lightweight, energy-efficient aluminum windows

1955

1955: Developed the first aluminum wheel for the modern passenger car – the lightweight spoke wheel on the 1955 Cadillac Eldorado

1977: Launched “Alcoa Can’t Wait” advertising campaign, memorable for its rousing score and images of innovative products and processes from Alcoa

1981: Supplied powdered aluminum fuel and aluminum components for the Space Shuttle program

1985

1985: Consulted with AM General during concept development for the Humvee, which became the workhorse of the U.S. Army, and whose body is constructed from high-strength, lightweight aluminum that protects soldiers 

1994: Began working with Audi to develop new manufacturing techniques to produce an ultra-lightweight aluminum spaceframe, which resulted in the first all-aluminum automobile

2008

2008: Partnered with Yutong Bus for the 2008 Beijing Olympics to test new environmentally friendly aluminum buses

2009

2009: Selected by Boeing to provide the first large aluminum-lithium plate application on a commercial airliner for its 787 Dreamliner

2013: Capitalized on historic auto industry shift to lightweight vehicles and became a leader in providing advanced aluminum sheet to the North American automotive industry

2016: Arconic launches as a standalone company, continuing to push innovation to the next level, and solving complex engineering challenges that transform the way we fly, drive, and build.

2020: Arconic separates into two standalone companies - Arconic and Howmet Aerospace. Arconic, with headquarters in Pittsburgh, is a global supplier of aluminum sheet, plate and extruded products for the aerospace, automotive, commercial transportation, defense, industrial, and building and construction industries. Howmet Aerospace includes the engine components, fastening systems, engineered structures and forged aluminum wheels businesses. 

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