IAI’s top 50 Moments in the history of aluminium

Two industrial processes lead the way

Here are the top 50 Moments in the history of aluminium, as voted for by industry leaders and partners, peers and those working in, or fascinated by, the aluminium industry.

The discovery of the Hall-Héroult Process in 1886 was voted the No.1 moment.

The Hall-Héroult Process is an industrial process for smelting aluminium – a process that brought the metal into large-scale production and was invented by Charles Martin Hall and Paul Héroult.

Following closely behind in the runner-up position is another process – the Bayer Process developed by Carl Josef Bayer in 1888, which marked an economical means of refining bauxite to produce alumina.

Rounding out the top 3 is the production of aluminium cans, which since the 1960s have provided the world with a lightweight, recyclable way of enjoying drinks. Today, around 180 billion cans globally are used every year.

The #50Moments is part of IAI’s celebrations of its 50th Anniversary. The Institute was founded in April 1972 and in 2022 has been reflecting on the milestones, products and people that have shaped society and the industry – and will continue to do so for many years to come.