Talk:History of aluminium

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The text of the entry was: Did you know ... that Joseph Stalin asked Franklin D. Roosevelt for aluminum, implying enough of it would bring him victory in World War II?
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This article was created as a spin-off from Aluminium on November 10, 2017.

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:History of aluminium/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

I'll take this on. Reviewer: Chiswick Chap (talk · contribs) 14:08, 24 November 2017 (UTC)


What an interesting article.

  • Why has Lowthian Bell and his early manufacture of aluminium not been mentioned? And his famous aluminium top hat, please.
Why is his manufacture particularly notable? It doesn't appear to me at the moment that he is more notable for the history of aluminum than William Frishmuth, who we don't mention entirely not to overstretch the appropriate section.--R8R (talk) 20:48, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
It was the first in Britain, part of a huge company; and it was the one and only top hat - in other words, it was a remarkably confident piece of showmanship to do with early production of the very expensive metal. Bell was one of the richest and most famous men in England at the time. I should have thought it was more than worth mentioning, and indeed ideal as a headline-grabbing DYK fact for the article. Chiswick Chap (talk) 21:10, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I see your point. Will add (not today though, hopefully tomorrow).
By the way, Frishmuth's factory was the only pre-Hall-Heroult factory in the U.S. It must mean that it was that factory where Hall first tried to apply his new idea. Maybe I'll mention that as well, that's interesting, I'd say.--R8R (talk) 22:31, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
Sounds like another footnote. BTW the 1864 Bell quotation about the required purity for Aluminium manufacture is also of interest as it shows a clear understanding of the chemistry from that period. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:39, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
I've checked and and it was a different factory, which I wouldn't want to mention not to inflate the history too much.
I wouldn't have any doubts about the general understanding of chemistry in the mid-19th century in the fist place. For instance, Deville, too, knew his aluminium was impure, and devoted a good period of time trying to make it as pure as he could.--R8R (talk) 13:53, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
No worries. I've added the basic facts. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:19, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I feel we are missing any kind of illustration of early aluminium products. At least one photograph, maybe two, would be in order in "Mass usage", and ideally an earlier one also.
I am not unsympathetic to the thinking. I am only afraid we are limited on vertical space.--R8R (talk) 15:02, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
There will be no problem getting in one or two images, I can arrange them for you. Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:24, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
OK, did my best.--R8R (talk) 21:08, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
Oh, I thought we'd have at least one early product. These look modern to me? Chiswick Chap (talk) 21:13, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
Well, I said I'd done my best :) That would be welcome indeed but I haven't found a good picture in Commons. If there is one there or you could add one, please let me know.--R8R (talk) 22:36, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
I've also found File:50_Pfennig_1920.jpg. Haven't seen anything else of mass usage originating before WWII. I like the can picture but we can insert that in place of the foil pic.--R8R (talk) 09:32, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
I've added a historic 'saucepans into Spitfires' image, which captures something of Stalin's quotation (which I've had to reformat, hope that's ok). By all means use the Pfennig. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:36, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
As an epigraph, the quotation is looking perhaps too fancy. I was able to accommodate the picture at the cost of pictures not always standing close to the text they're supporting (I've come to get used to it over time).--R8R (talk) 13:53, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
I've fitted it in by making the quote format less fancy - quote boxes are almost never justified, except perhaps in the case of famous literary figures. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:04, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
I wouldn't think so but I've checked it and you are correct. I stand corrected. Will change it back to the way you suggested.--R8R (talk) 14:13, 26 November 2017 (UTC)


  • Use of English is a bit EB1911, e.g. "Berzelius attempted isolation of the metal in 1825". Maybe "B. tried to isolate the metal"... suggest you copyedit the entire article (sorry) to do away with ye olde tea-shoppe Englishche. A bit less of "yield great quantities", "appointed him to the position of director" (forsooth), "the sought-after metal" (egad), etc.
Ha ha! Will do.--R8R (talk) 15:02, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
  • caption "the usually credited discoverer of the aluminium metal" => "usually credited as the discoverer of aluminium metal"
OK.--R8R (talk) 15:02, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Please add a note or template stating the article is in American English with IUPAC spelling of Aluminium.
Sure.--R8R (talk) 15:02, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
We already have one at the talk page. Is it not good enough?--R8R (talk) 15:11, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
It wasn't the first place to look (top of article) and the combination is surprising - one wd expect Aluminum/USA or Aluminium/Brit, I nearly started fixing the errors in the article, so no, it isn't enough. Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:26, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
I can relate to that. As long as I know, however, we don't expose our regular MoS rules in our articles when we don't want to make a point of it. What we could do, however, is to put an appropriate banner above the editing window. I've requested an admin's help for this.--R8R (talk) 11:35, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
OK. Chiswick Chap (talk) 11:43, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
I too thought the article was in UK English and was about to change "program" to "programme" for consistency. It definitely needs an explanation. Why is there no "US English" banner on the Talk page? Dondervogel 2 (talk) 22:28, 1 January 2018 (UTC)

Early history[edit]

  • "alums"?
Well, technically, "alum" is an umbrella term in English for a number of similar minerals even though we usually refer by this word to a particular one that could be unambiguously called potassium alum. I don't insist on the plural, though.--R8R (talk) 15:02, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I don't think we should be discussing Pliny unless there is some plausible way the Romans could have reduced alum to the metal - since they didn't have electrolysis or potassium (?), this seems extremely flaky. "Light" could mean an alloy of tin and zinc, more likely.
I understand your concern. This has been expressed before (back when this text was a part of the main aluminium article) and eventually resulted in the current wording which I think we are fine to have: we don't invent this idea, we quote reliable sources doing so, and we immediately provide a source that does not agree with this idea. Doesn't it sound okay to you?--R8R (talk) 15:02, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
The review concerns this one article, now. It's not fine as it stands, no, because it seems to imply that ancient Rome had the technical means. If they did, then at least a footnote or other brief note of explanation from one of the sources is needed. If they didn't, then the source implying they did needs to be introduced with wording indicating that it was an unsustainable theory. The current wording "It is possible that this metal was aluminium" indicates that Pliny might have been correct, in which case we need to know how the theory could be sustained. Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:47, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
I've looked for it and I found a source from 1902 that claims this isn't impossible. I'll add that in a note to the article later.--R8R (talk) 12:48, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
Good. I guess the caveat is whether the 1902 author knew his chemistry and understood what the Romans could have known. Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:11, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
On a quick search, it appears that Duboin was a chemist indeed and was referenced as such in some contemporary books/articles. Looks reliable to me. The text also hints that the Romans could indeed do what he suggested.--R8R (talk) 13:58, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
Super. D'Arcy Thompson's Aristotle is from that same period, and excellent in its domain. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:18, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
  • How could the Chinese have done that? And when was that dynasty? Again, I don't think we should allow such wild speculation unless there's a plausible mechanism for what is being suggested.
    There's a difference between pure Al and Al-containing alloys: the ancient Chinese (this was a Jin Dynasty tomb) could conceivably have done the latter (alumina was plentiful and could be reduced by coke in the presence of copper, giving Al–Cu alloys) but not the former (the temperatures needed are too high, around 2000 °C, if you don't have the copper around), and that's why this was taken seriously for a long time until a better analysis was done, revealing a 97%(!) Al content for the objects found in the tomb. It is worth noting that the Chinese themselves doubted what they were seeing before the Westerners did: the confusion about an Al–Cu alloy vs. very pure Al could spread because the original Chinese investigation was abruptly curtailed by the Cultural Revolution, but not before some fragmentary details had made their way to the West. ^_^ I suggested this interesting tidbit to R8R, since it made it all the way into Needham's Science and Civilisation in China (Vol. 5, issue 2, p. 193), but I am a little worried that giving the charming history of this observation and doing it justice would take us too far afield. Double sharp (talk) 14:38, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
    Many thanks. We must first be concerned with reliability and verifiability. I think the possibility as you've very kindly outlined it is highly relevant and needs to be established in a footnote (efn), with ref to Needham. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:42, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
Good. A note is an appropriate idea. Will add one.
I'll add the dates for the dynasty as well.--R8R (talk) 15:02, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Most of this, and all of para 2, is "History of alum". Suggest we label this clearly: if we are to have anything about the metal at all, we need convincing evidence, supported by quotations (in Notes or Refs) from reliable sources.

Synthesis of metal[edit]

  • Rewrite needed: The Humphry Davy paragraph is a bit repetitive, and given the story is just "and then he failed all over again", could be cut down radically.
I think this would be unfair to Davy: I've seen sources referring to him as the first person who was so persistent on the problem. That's why his suggestion for the name of the element gained ground and we know Davy as the person who named aluminum. I haven't added the whole naming story here because this article is a spin-off from Aluminium#History and Aluminium#Etymology is a separate section. Let me know, however, if you want me to add the info on this topic somewhere.--R8R (talk) 15:02, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
I'm a bit nonplussed by your multiple answers, all either promising to do something or mumbling about not needing to do anything. The paragraph is repetitive and needs rewriting, period. "More walk, less talk." Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:31, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
I'm sorry you're feeling down but I frankly don't see any justification for that. I could possibly understand the emotion behind this if I talked and talked to you for a week at least, but it took one round of replies that I wrote one hour after you started this review (I specified in the edit summary, "quick responses," so you get the the general idea I'll take a closer look when I have enough spare time in the near future). Also no, as a reviewer you don't have the absolute power like "I said so it must be done." This would be generally against the spirit of Wikipedia, where we first and foremost try to build a consensus if there is any disagreement between editors (could not be the case if we were talking about factual errors, but we're not). Let's try that first.
Let's take a fresh start on this. We provide the setups for many experiments in this section and you even suggested we add it for one experiment for which we don't. Davy's experiments were pretty good for his time. Why would they of all not deserve a description?--R8R (talk) 11:35, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
Maybe I was having un mauvais quart d'heure. In the light of day I still think, however, that the section is somewhat repetitive. A little copyediting would be appreciated. Chiswick Chap (talk) 11:44, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
OK, will do. Still, I'd want to hear your opinion on Etymology and what I've described above (and if we are to add it, where should we?).--R8R (talk) 11:55, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
I don't see any need to repeat the material from the other articles, nor necessarily even to summarize them, though I have no objection to 'Further' or if appropriate 'Main' links with summaries. Chiswick Chap (talk) 12:21, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Silliman "repeated Hare's experiment" - all that's said about Hare is that he "melted alumina but found no metal". Better explain how that could have worked.
Good idea. Will do.--R8R (talk) 15:02, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
Done.--R8R (talk) 18:53, 25 November 2017 (UTC)

Mass usage[edit]

  • How was the metal going to help Stalin win the war? Airframes? The text doesn't say.
Unfortunately, I don't know that myself and my guess would be as good as yours. I'll look for info on the matter, though.--R8R (talk) 15:02, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
Well if we don't say why the stuff wd be the slightest use, it's hard to see what use the quote is. A metaphysical metal conveying moral military might, perhaps. Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:29, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
Stalin needed aluminum to build more aircraft. Added that to a note.--R8R (talk) 11:35, 25 November 2017 (UTC)


  • The image of Alum states it's from File:Alum.jpg and that it's [therefore] free to use. However, that image is quite different so it's hard to see that the licensing is valid.
Used File:Alum.jpg then.--R8R (talk) 11:35, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
  • The image of Lavoisier lacks a US PD license, a date, and a traceable source.
Done.--R8R (talk) 18:54, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
  • The image of Wöhler lacks a US PD license.
Added.--R8R (talk) 11:35, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
  • The graph of production has a 'self' license but the original seems to be USGS so it should have a PD-USGov license instead.
I am not particularly good with licensing but I think this one is right. What comes from the USGS is the data that was used for this graph. The graph itself was created and updated by Wikipedia users.--R8R (talk) 11:35, 25 November 2017 (UTC)


This is an informative and well-cited article on the history of an important element, and I am satisfied it is well up to the required standard for GA. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:21, 26 November 2017 (UTC)

other commets[edit]

  • "catholic Europe" sounds strange for mid 15th century. What is the non-catholic Europe?

--Stone (talk) 14:07, 27 November 2017 (UTC)

Orthodox Christians in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Back then, say, Serbs, Greeks, and Russians were not Catholic.--R8R (talk) 14:12, 27 November 2017 (UTC)

"The reason for this inconsistency was only discovered in 1921"[edit]

@R8R: Could we have at least a note expanding on this? I personally feel uncomfortable stating that the reason was discovered if we're not going to say what it is. Double sharp (talk) 14:54, 8 April 2018 (UTC)

That's interesting; I found no problem in doing so as this is really not the point. But sure, we could have a note, why not. I'm afraid that will not happen today, but rather someday soon; is that okay with you?--R8R (talk) 16:10, 8 April 2018 (UTC)
@R8R: Sure, no problem; I'd just like it to be there when this goes to FAC (which is hopefully sooner rather than later). ^_-☆ Double sharp (talk) 23:48, 8 April 2018 (UTC)
@Double sharp: Please take a look. This is a somewhat hurried addition but I think you're going to like it. If you do, I would really appreciate help with spelling out that "I." in "I. Fogh." Waiting for your comments nonetheless!--R8R (talk) 07:21, 9 April 2018 (UTC)
@R8R: Nice! I have found the original article of Fogh (title is Über die Entdeckung des Aluminiums durch Oersted im Jahre 1825), but it doesn't include his first name; I guess we'll have to keep looking. Double sharp (talk) 07:31, 9 April 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, I guess so, too. For the record, here's how I was able to solve two previous such problems of spelling out an initial: I found Duboin's first name (right in this article) by looking for more articles he had written and I found Lely's and Hamburger's first names (for thorium) by looking where they were employed and starting the search from there. I hope this helps you in your search; as for mine, I'll certianly try to see if any of these works later.--R8R (talk) 08:22, 9 April 2018 (UTC)

This is not related, but here's a cool bit I found: "In 1856 Berzelius stated that it was Wöhler who had succeeded in 1827. Wöhler is therefore usually given credit for the discovery."--R8R (talk) 09:22, 9 April 2018 (UTC)

As for Fogh, we get to know that Dr. J. Fogh died on November 19, 1925. [1]--R8R (talk) 09:36, 9 April 2018 (UTC) we should also refine the quote of Woehler's writing to Berzelius using the material here

[2] one more activity of Dr. J. Fog (sic) from University of Copenhagen--R8R (talk) 13:34, 9 April 2018 (UTC)

[3] and we get to learn his address but not his first name?--R8R (talk) 13:39, 9 April 2018 (UTC)

Now I've discovered for sure that Fog and Fogh were different people. Haven't had any success in identifying either of them.--R8R (talk) 15:49, 9 April 2018 (UTC)

Well there was certainly some Professor Johan Fogh in University of Copenhagen sometime before or in 1900 [4] and since Bjerrum, who had also worked in that university for a long time, mentions Fogh as a longstanding coworker, this could be it.--R8R (talk) 18:09, 6 May 2018 (UTC)

City defense[edit]

This is mentioned in the lead but not again. There are no references to support it and a quick Google finds nothing. --John (talk) 09:07, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

I've added a short parenthesized note on how alum protected fortresses from enemy arson attempts.--R8R (talk) 09:40, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
Where is this note? Without substantiation, the mention of city defense should be deleted. Tmangray (talk) 06:32, 7 June 2019 (UTC)
Hello. This is a quick note to let you know I have seen your comment. I will investigate and act later today.--R8R (talk) 10:49, 7 June 2019 (UTC)
I believe this comes from the RUSAL book but it is no longer online and while I had a copy on it on my laptop, it is currently broken :( so we'll have to go with that somebody removed this already for now.--R8R (talk) 18:06, 7 June 2019 (UTC)
Restored information based on article history--R8R (talk) 15:11, 9 June 2019 (UTC)

" all subsequent spacecraft have been made of aluminium."[edit]

Err.... No. Nowhere near. This isn't even what the source says (" All subsequent space vehicles were produced using aluminium."), and what it does say isn't a great deal better, as it ignores (thus implies the absence) of anything else. Spacecraft [sic] which had to re-enter an atmosphere have used a variety of materials frequently other than aluminium because of the heat. Andy Dingley (talk) 19:26, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

Suggest a better wording? This, this, and this (p69) seem to back up the claim. I've seen talk of using composites as is common in aviation, and Al/Li alloys have been used in boosters. But as far as I'm aware all the generations of spacecraft up until now have been substantially made of Al. --John (talk) 20:31, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I've added "almost" and I think that is fairer. --John (talk) 21:31, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
It's still misreprenting the source. If anything it's moving even further away.
It's incontestable that the sourced statement is true: all vehicles use some aluminium. I don't like this cite: its omissions imply a greater use of aluminium than is the case. That's good for marketing, bad for an encyclopedia. It's also sourced from a body that's too close to being the aluminium marketing board – but that's a separate issue.
As a technical comment on applications, then "almost all have been made of" is far from good. Vehicles designed for re-entry need to use something else, because aluminium can't cope with the temperature. Apart from the obvious heatshield components in phenolics, beryllium copper, cork and esoteric ceramics, the main structures are dependent on non-aluminium materials. Even as far back as Mercury this was a nichrome skin. I don't think any aluminium-lithium has flown with crew yet, but it's part of Orion. Inbetween there are stainless steels, titanium and even aluminium honeycomb composites, with non-metallic honeycomb layers between the aluminium skins. The question is not to avoid claims about "how many craft", but rather to avoid a true but vague statement being read as implying that the aluminium content in each craft is greater than it is. It's about proportion, not the number of examples. "Made of aluminium" is seriously wrong, even when qualified with those favourite weasel words "almost all", because it still gives the impression that a structure of aluminium alone is adequate. Andy Dingley (talk) 23:23, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Suggest a better wording, with sources? --John (talk) 07:18, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
@Andy Dingley: sorry it took me so long to respond. I tried to reflect on your concern; please see if the current wording is fine with you. I think it is still not misinterpreting the source and I like it, but since you were so kind to point this out, I think you should take a look as well.--R8R (talk) 13:37, 19 February 2019 (UTC)

To do[edit]

  • Did Bunsen produce aluminum before his electrolysis in 1854? If yes, why?
    Apparently not.--R8R (talk) 21:40, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Need to end a note on the difference between cost and price--R8R (talk) 02:56, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
  • A general hint: this text contains a lot of interesting details
  • There was probably no price of aluminum in 1852;
    Turns out there was a price, but of course, per ounce rather than per pound or kilogram.--R8R (talk) 22:12, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Mention that Deville presented both electrolytic and chemical production of aluminum at the Paris Academy of Sciences in 1854 at the same time;
    Turns out not, electrolysis came first, but both were presented in 1854--R8R (talk) 13:04, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Switch the pre-electrolysis aluminum prices to French francs;
    I do not know where the 1952 price came from. I wish I could give the price in the currency of that deal instead. Otherwise done.--R8R (talk) 16:30, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Mention pre-H-H aluminum alloys, especially aluminium bronze;
    Mentioned aluminium bronze a couple of times; this should do. Again, there's gotta be an end somewhere.--R8R (talk) 12:41, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Another picture in Rare metal wouldn't hurt. It could be something related to Napoleon III, or aluminum bronze, or a rare object made of aluminum.--R8R (talk) 01:35, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
    Done.--R8R (talk) 02:22, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Consider finding quotes for every section to put under the section title like that Stalin's quote. For example, for Electrolytic production, that could be Hall's "I'm going for that metal" he said after hearing from his chemistry teacher that whoever could find a cheap way of production of aluminum would get rich;
    Done.--R8R (talk) 17:49, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Was that German factory really all that productive in 1885--88 as the last link in this section claims?
    Looks like it.--R8R (talk) 14:49, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Update production graph with the info for 1885--99 (from that German book, last link in this section);
    There was little point in adding more indistinguishable near-zero values; split them into a separate graph--R8R (talk) 01:00, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Clarify the relationship between Société électrométallurgique française and Heroult (I recall has something on the matter); similarly, Hall also needed to sell some oh his shares in 1890 (see this book already referenced in the article, p. 108)
  • Add the patent struggle between Hall and Heroult?
    Done.--R8R (talk) 11:52, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Some contemporary Americans called the process the Hall process (without Heroult), mention that in a note; check if the French similarly omitted Hall;
    Mentioned not exactly that, but it will do.--R8R (talk) 11:52, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
(arbitrary break)[edit]
  • I think Bayer discovered his method and applied for his patent in 1888, but only the patent was granted in 1889? The second patent came in only in 1892;
    He did get a patent in 1888. Everything is clear now.--R8R (talk) 15:36, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Why was it late 1889 when a consistent purity of electrolytic aluminum was reached?
    I've been wondering for a long while now. I feel comfortable enough to give up. This has taken as much effort as you expect from a worthy Wikipedia project.--R8R (talk) 16:35, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Mention there is other data for the total pre-1890 production in a note;
    RUSAL has 200 metric tons (p. 39), and I have seen a figure around 50 metric tons somewhere? ALso, 1888 ... 39 // 1890 ... 175 // 1896 ... 1,785 // 1902 ... 7,800 (in long tons, 1 long ton = ~1.016 metric tons) Also, here's some annual production for the 1890s (in short tons, 1 short ton = ~0.907 metric tons). Don't like how the 1900 data is 10,000 metric tons but it gives a good sense of exponentiation of this growth. Also, here's the German book I keep thinking about, just in case.
    There must be a point when I say it's done I think it is now.--R8R (talk) 15:45, 9 June 2019 (UTC)
    I happened to find an excellent source on this. Updated the article with that info.--R8R (talk) 14:49, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
  • (late) Add File:Aluminium - historical price per ton (nominal, real).svg
    Aluminium - historical price per ton (nominal, real).svg
    . A reminder only :-). -DePiep (talk) 19:31, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
    I added the graph. The article looks a little unappealing aesthetically now with my screen resolution but more text is coming, so that should be sorted out eventually. Not striking this comment because I still intend to mess with the graph a little.--R8R (talk) 22:16, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
    I think not much could be done without distorting the data, so the present state of the graph will do.--R8R (talk) 01:00, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
  • When did aluminum become the most used non-ferrous metal?
    In 1954--R8R (talk) 23:39, 6 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Clarify the whole spacecraft thing from above;
  • When did recycled aluminum become as good as primary?--R8R (talk) 18:42, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
    Another thing I check a great number of times. Phrased it with the best of my knowledge, which isn't much.--R8R (talk) 20:51, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Need to learn how exactly the fact that aluminum is traded in metal exchanges is important.
    On a second note, what is there to say? It's either too broad and too economical or too detailed and too economical.--R8R (talk) 20:51, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Build a web of links to this article;
    Done.--R8R (talk) 20:51, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Mention Alcoa-Rio Tinto joint venture Elysis using new cheaper Carbon-free smelting technology that emits Oxygen due to new anodes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vctrbarbieri (talkcontribs) 00:38, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the input. I've heard about this as well and originally wanted to add it. After some thinking, however, I concluded that one plant is not all that important for this enormous industry there is today. There are many details I am well aware of but haven't added because they don't seem particularly important for the history, for example, the pollution from burning coal for aluminum production in China. If the technology spreads and becomes important on the worldwide scale, then we could and should add it. In short, in ten years maybe we should mention that if the technology proves viable; for now, it is not all that important for the history.--R8R (talk) 07:18, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
    If you have any more suggestions, I'm all ears.--R8R (talk) 08:05, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
    Just a note to say that I have just read Hugh Aldersey-Williams' Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc, which has several pages about aluminium. It contains some odds and ends, which I think would need following up with other sources if you wanted to use them. For example, he discusses the "banalization" of aluminium as it becomes progressively cheaper; he mentions a sculpture of Edith Sitwell by Maurice Lambert that was, unusually, cast in aluminium; he talks about the different cultural reaction to aluminium on each side of the Atlantic; he mentions an 1850s description of it as "silver from clay"; he covers Thorstein Veblen's choice of an aluminium and silver spoon to illustrate his theory of utility and value. If any of this sounds interesting I can forward a scan of the relevant pages. The book is worth reading; it's more anecdote than science, and isn't transparently sourced, but it's well-written and interesting. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 23:09, 15 December 2018 (UTC)
    Indeed, most of these do raise interest. I would very much like to know more about what you have listed. Could you probably send me the scan per email?
    I am not confused by having to look for more sources. In fact, this article has so far required an unexpected amount of editorial judgment: sources often contradict each other, and you have to figure if these contradictions are resolvable, and if not, what to choose and what to ignore. Few, if any, sources were consistently correct on everything. I'll probably want to know more about what I will have read anyway.--R8R (talk) 10:24, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
    OK, if you would send me a Wikipedia email I'll reply with the scans -- it'll probably be Monday as my home scanner is not very good at this sort of thing. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 10:34, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
    Thank you, I've sent you an email. There is no rush: after all, I'm currently quite busy at the moment with my exams coming up and even if that weren't a factor, I'd still have other areas of improvement listed in the beginning of this section. Monday would be perfectly fine. It might even take quite some time to incorporate the changes given the exams, so even a little later than Monday is still perfectly fine.--R8R (talk) 11:03, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
    PDFs emailed; one with the pages, and a second one with the sources. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:45, 17 December 2018 (UTC)

Early prices[edit]

This subsection contains links to some of the Google Books snippets I've been keeping in my browser since December and quotes I was able to discern from them either by typing text out or from search results in Google Books.

Note to self: the initial price of aluminum was so high due to the cost of sodium needed to make it. In a few years, Deville would bring this cost to incredible lows.

Also, from source:

  • "200 tonnes of metal were produced in 36 years (1855-1890) when the chemical method developed by Sainte-Claire Deville was applied"
  • also would be nice to add details for the H-H process.--R8R (talk) 14:34, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
    None can do. It's too much hassle in that section already.--R8R (talk) 20:53, 16 June 2019 (UTC)


Please accept these considerations. That is: they might be of interest for minor improvements.

  • The TOC now says "Rare metal" (all TOC levels are at ==). At first reading, this lead me to thinking/associating: "Interesting, so there have been indications aluminium is a rare earth metal' then". That's how my mind works. After reading the section, it is clear that "rare" is used in a different meaning. Maybe the section header & TOC could reflect this (even clarify this, eg by using ===-level sections for page structure). -DePiep (talk) 20:55, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
    As for level 3 headings: I don't use them because I don't see how they could be useful. It's as simple as that. Each section talks about a period of history of aluminum; the discussion in each section is quite linear (so no part stands out and thus needs a level 3 header) and there are no sections that would need to be partitioned because of their excessive length (and if there were one, I'd rather split it into two level 2 sections).
    If you think there is a better title than "Rare metal," please suggest it. I will soon add information on how aluminium bronze began to be used (first presented to the public in 1867). Maybe after I'm done with that, you'll have the idea of the complete contents of this section and then you could suggest a title. As for myself, I don't see how the title is confusing (rare earth metals are quite rare in actual usage indeed, and the word "rare" is common in English, so I doubt many readers will make that mistake, especially given that aluminum and the REMs are rarely found in the same context). That being said, I'm open for suggestions. You can even take a whole new approach here (but I would advise against the title "First industrial production" or something like that: this makes the metal appear more common than it actually was at the time).
    By the way, I'll appreciate it if you read the last section and suggest a better title and/or what kind of a quote would fit under that section header. I have an idea or even multiple ideas for all or almost all other sections, but I'm somewhat confused about this one. I don't really like the header, either, it's just that nothing better occurred to me. "Aluminium Age" would be cool if I could find someone to have said that phrase (I'm sure I've seen it) but that may be misleading as iron production beats aluminum production by over an order of magnitude.
    Please don't spare any more thoughts.--R8R (talk) 21:24, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm fine. First thoughts: 1. keep chronological order (duh), 2. subdivide (=subsecion) by major events. Like, ==:
1. Early history (0 BCE)
2. Recognition as element (1801)
3. Actual production (able to purify) (1831)
===topic a
===topic b
4. New technique / cheaper / usage change (1921)
===topic c
===topic d
5. Today (after 1945)
-DePiep (talk) 22:26, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm glad to say the chronological order of the sections as well as within each section is preserved. (With small exceptions being small events that are related to an aftermath of a period which was concluded after after another period began, like I mention the Oersted--Woehler priority was resolved in 1921 in the section on discovery even though events of two next sections had already occurred by then.)
Again, there is no need to subdivide a section. Each section tells a wholesome story. If a section were too long and required a subdivision and the topics of these two parts were fairly different to justify a break between those paragraphs, it would be smart to divide it not into two subsections, but into two full-fledged sections (like what happened with the section on the period after electrolysis, which is now actually two sections, Mass usage and Exchange commodity). If I were to add some material on spelling (aluminium vs. aluminum) which would be fairly different from the rest of the section on discovery, that could probably require a separate subsection but again, I wrote each section in such a manner that it is wholesome and no part of it stands out.--R8R (talk) 11:23, 20 December 2018 (UTC)

Re recent edit in See also[edit]

[5] @Plantsurfer: I am not sure where your edit is coming from and I'd like to make sure. WP:SEEALSO is vague, leaving this to editorial judgment and common sense. For the entire periodic table, we only have two "History of X" articles: history of aluminium and history of fluorine. It seems closely related anyway (not directly, but bound by a very tight common theme; see the See also list in Anne Frank for a proper comparison: she didn't know any of those people) and given the scarcity of the articles of this topic, I think it is very appropriate to include the other article in See also. Don't you think so?--R8R (talk) 19:19, 19 February 2019 (UTC)

@R8R:No I don't. It creates a connection between the two topics that is entirely spurious. Plantsurfer 19:40, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
Could you elaborate? Why is it spurious? And again, consider the Anne Frank example that I mentioned earlier. Are the connections there spurious, too? And if not, then what is the difference?--R8R (talk) 19:48, 19 February 2019 (UTC)


The article is about the "history of aluminium",. but it mostly deals with the history of human interaction with the element. The actual history of the element begins with the big bang, the development of stars, and the formation of the earth. Harizotoh9 (talk) 14:50, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

To improve consistency with other changes, title should be changed to History of Aluminum — Preceding unsigned comment added by Samo Jamo (talkcontribs) 02:13, 8 June 2019 (UTC)

@Harizotoh9: This is not what is usually meant by the term history. Fro instance, here are the first two sentences from history:
History (from Greek ἱστορία, historia, meaning 'inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation') is the past as it is described in written documents, and the study thereof. Events occurring before written records are considered prehistory.
@Samo Jamo: As for spelling: it is common that aluminum is spelled aluminium in even in a context of American English per WP:ALUM.--R8R (talk) 10:56, 8 June 2019 (UTC)

Recent revert[edit]

Re this revert. Twofingered Typist, I'm asking you to reconsider. ( Done Twofingered Typist (talk) 12:14, 4 June 2019 (UTC)) This paragraph has little to do with the topic at hand, which is, as the title of the article goes, history of aluminum. All element articles (such as iron) are indeed fine to have this sort of stuff, they even should have it. But this is not an element article; this is a subarticle of an element article (as you can see also in a couple of templates at the top of this page) that is specialized on one particular aspect of that element: its history. Its general information is a little out of the scope here; there is a proper place for that, and that place is the main aluminium article itself.

Also, the content of the paragraph in question is not replicated in the article (and there is no room for that), which is a must for any substantial content of the lead section.

In addition to that, there must be a paragraph break after the sentence of the Hall-Heroult process. This is arguably the most important event in the history of aluminum and it had an astonishingly great impact, which would be perfectly put on its own para. A four-paragraph structure of 1) prediscovery and discovery; 2) developments until the Hall-Heroult process; 3) mass usage until ~1950; and 4) even further growth of usage and expansion to the modern day (we could add here that its production exceeds those of all other non-ferrous metals combined, for instance). The 20th century has indeed had a great role in the history of the element, it's not only that it's so close to us.--R8R (talk) 22:06, 3 June 2019 (UTC)