Charles Martin Hall

From Academic Kids

Charles Martin Hall (1863-1914) was a native of Thompson, Ohio. He is best known for his discovery in 1886 of an inexpensive method for refining aluminum, the Hall-Heroult process (called such because of the nearly simultaneous discovery of the same process by the Frenchman Paul Heroult). His discovery was made in his home laboratory shortly after finishing his undergraduate studies at Oberlin College in Ohio. In 1888, after failing to find financial backing at home, Hall went to Pittsburg where he opened the first large-scale aluminum production plant with the support of Alfred E. Hunt.

After leaving Oberlin, Hall became one of the College's most prominent donors. Although his influence is perhaps most visible in the present lack of buildings on Tappan Square, students are fondest of the statue of Hall made of aluminum. Because of its light weight, Hall's statue was once known for its frequent changes of location, often parts of student pranks. Today the statue is glued to a large granite block and sits more permanently on the second floor of Oberlin's new science center, where students continue to decorate Hall with appropriate trappings on holidays and other occasions.

Hall is considered the originator of the American spelling of aluminum. According to Oberlin College, he misspelled it on a handbill publicizing his aluminum refinement process. The process was so revolutionary, and brought the metal to such prominence, that Americans have spelled aluminum with one i since.

Patents

  • US400664 (http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=400664.WKU.&OS=PN/400664&RS=PN/400664) -- Process of reducing aluminum from its floride salts by electrolysis -- C. M. Hall

fr:Charles Martin Hall

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