Charles Martin Hall, US chemist

Charles Martin Hall, US chemist

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Credit: CHEMICAL HERITAGE FOUNDATION/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Charles Martin Hall (1863-1914), US chemist. Hall invented a cheap, electrolytic process for making aluminium in 1886. The technique involved dissolving aluminium oxide in molten cryolite, and passing an electric current through it using carbon electrodes. French metallurgist Paul Heroult independently devised the same technique in the same year (it is now called the Hall-Heroult process). It allowed aluminium to be made cheaply for the first time since it was initially isolated in 1825. Hall founded ALCOA (the Aluminum Company of America) in 1888. Awarded the Perkin Medal (1911), he bequeathed much of his fortune to charity. Photographed circa 1900.

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