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Alcoa recently marked its 120th anniversary with the launch of a website celebrating the company’s progress since October 1, 1888, the day it was incorporated as The Pittsburgh Reduction Co. in Pittsburgh, Pa. “It is the great work of our forefathers that allows us to be in an excellent position in many of our businesses,” said Klaus Kleinfeld, president and chief executive officer. “I see their hard work and achievements as a constant reminder of what we as Alcoa stand for and of our obligation to do the same for the next generation of Alcoans. We have a rich heritage and tremendous accomplishments. It is our part now to take it to the next level.”
The process of creating aluminum metal from aluminum oxide (alumina) through electrolysis was discovered in parallel by two men: Alcoa founder Charles Martin Hall of Oberlin, Ohio; and Paul L.T. Héroult of France. Hall’s patent for the process prevailed in the U.S. and survived numerous challenges. Though the Hall-Héroult process has been refined many times, its basic principles are still used today to produce nearly every ounce of aluminum smelted by aluminum producers worldwide. The process cut the price of aluminum dramatically and transformed it from a precious metal into a strategic material whose properties of strength, lightness and durability would open up a world of new engineering possibilities.
Highlights from the new website include an interactive “time machine” reviewing the key aspects of the company’s history, and an overview of how Alcoa has evolved to where its products are used in markets all over the world. Visit the new site at www.alcoa.com/history for more information.