Aluminum in America: A History
Quentin R. Skrabec
The history of aluminum: metallurgy, engineering, global business and politics—and the advance of civilization itself. The earth’s most abundant metal, aluminum remained largely inaccessible until after the Industrial Revolution. A precious commodity in 1850s, it later became a strategic resource: while steel won World War I, aluminum won World War II.
A generation later, it would make space travel possible and the 1972 Pioneer spacecraft would carry a message from mankind to extraterrestrial life, engraved on an aluminum plate. Today aluminum, along with oil, is the natural resource driving geopolitics, and China has taken the lead in manufacture.