The History of Aluminium Over the Years


The name aluminium originated from the term “Alumen” which is from the Latin language. In 1760 a French chemist Louis De Morveau obtained alum which he then named alumina that we now know as Aluminium Oxide.

During the 1800s specifically 1808 an English chemist called Humphry Davy, found out that aluminium could be made by the production of electrolytic reduction from aluminium oxide, but unfortunately couldn’t prove his theory. 

In 1821 Pierre Berthier a geologist found reddish clay deposits in France that was then found to be an aluminium ore and was named bauxite because it was found in Les Baux a commune in France.

Then, 17 years later aluminium was discovered again in 1825 by Hans Christian Oersted in Copenhagen, Denmark. He found the aluminium ore in a metal lump that he thought resembled a tin. He then successfully produced an aluminium alloy with different elements like potassium, mercury, and amalgam, but then removed the mercury by the heat leaving aluminium.

His work was then picked up by a German chemist Friedrich Woehler who was working on 30 grams of aluminium powder on October 22nd, 1827. From continuous experimentation and research, Friedrich created small solidified molten aluminium balls. This happened in 1845, 18 years later.

Subsequently, in 1856 a well-known chemist/ Technologist Henri-Etienne Sainte-Claire Deville used a chemical formula of the original aluminium process. He then proceeded to improve the Friedrich process with his partners Charles and Alexandre Tissier and together they produced the first industrial aluminium.  

What was Aluminium first used for?

Aluminium became popular because it looked like a duplicate of silver and because it looked like silver and was white it became instantly popular with the rich, who used it for many of their luxurious items.

During Napoleon, the 3rd reign from 1852 – 1870, aluminium was mostly used for medals. Napoleon was a fan and supported the production of aluminium and with his approval of the development of aluminium, Woehler decided to make a rattle for the prince made from gold and aluminium the 2 most expensive materials at the time.  

Then in 1857, Sainte-Claire Deville made a crucial statement that changed history forever… He then proposed the idea of not using aluminium for luxury items and instead everyone can use them for their daily needs.

“There is nothing harder than to make people use a mew metal. Luxury items and ornaments cannot be the only sphere of its application. I hope the time will come when aluminium will serve to satisfy the daily needs.”  

Source –

What was Aluminium first used for?

The price of aluminium had changed drastically from 1855 which was $10,000 then because the price dropped, they became available everywhere. 

Because of this in 1891, Le Migron the first boat with an aluminium hull was created which was monumental because this then started the production of many other projects. Then three years later a torpedo boat called The Sokol with a whopping length of 58 meters, the boat achieved many records for its speed on the water. 

Aluminium now commercialised?

Aluminium was a hit or miss material and many companies that were aluminium suppliers or producers had died out but because of this many grew massive creating the new era of the aluminium market.

By 1903 aluminium was being used for engines and biplanes. Then 1910 aluminium foil was beginning to become popular. By now aluminium was on a rise to become a global craze the first big thing was aluminium being used to help properties and now. 

 By 1931 aluminium was being used to produce the Empire State Building, one of the 7th wonders of the world. The aluminium was being used as a structural material with 730 tons of aluminium being used. Furthermore, in 1945 aluminium was beginning to be used in more and more homes across the world in the form of saucepans and frying pans.

Next, a breakthrough happened in 1950 where aluminium was going to be used in the astronaut suit because of its high strength and lightweight feel making it the perfect metal for space. This was during the race to space with the USA and the USSR. 

With aluminium becoming more commercialised many famous soft drinks were using aluminium for their cans like Coke and Pepsi.

By 1984 aluminium was more popular than ever getting introduced to trains by using them as seats. By 1989 an exhibition in Berlin showed the world the first sports car made entirely out of aluminium. 

Why Aluminium is perfect for today’s climate

Now we are in the 2000s era, aluminium is more popular than ever which grossed more than $70 billion a year in the economic impact. With this figure being so high its no doubt aluminium is an important part of everyday life. The industry generates $172 billion which helps economic growth and makes the industry larger which helps to generate more jobs and more use for aluminium. 

Aluminium is lightweight and flexible making it ideal for many industries. The aerospace, transportation, electrical products, and consumer goods industry. Aluminium is used in many things from power lines, aircraft components, spacecraft components, ships, consumer electronics, and high rise buildings. 

Aluminium is great for electrical and thermal conductivity meaning it’s as good as copper for conductivity. This makes it ideal for electrical industries by using it for power lines, computers, led lights and satellite dishes. Aluminium is three times lighter than copper and one pound of aluminium holds the same electrical current as 2 pounds of copper. 

Aluminium is corrosion-resistant because it naturally creates a thin oxide coating that protects the metal from contact with its surroundings. This can be used for many vehicles in their alloys to protect them when driving. When aluminium is being cast, formed, or melted it produces no sparks but to weld with aluminium requires a lot of skill as it can be melted very fast but using it will make the finishing product look better.

Many food industries use aluminium because it’s an odourless metal which makes it ideal for canned food and pharmaceutical products if needed to protect packaging. Many companies use aluminium recycling because it’s low cost and efficient. The recycled aluminium can be used to make cans for canned food or drinks like coke cola etc. Being a non-toxic metal, it is also used to make woks, cookers and other kitchen units made for food.  

In the aluminium industry today, there are many supplies all over the world helping the growth and daily use of aluminium products. Here at aluminium online we are the country’s leading aluminium supplier for aluminium extrusion.

Today suppliers offer various types of aluminium metals that you may need…

  • aluminium angles
  • aluminium bar rounds
  • aluminium bars
  • aluminium beams
  • aluminium box
  • aluminium channel sections
  • aluminium equal angle
  • aluminium extrusions
  • aluminium flats bars

And many more to choose from!