Aluminum in America

A History

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About the Book

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.

About the Author(s)

Quentin R. Skrabec, an international expert in management, manufacturing and globalization, is the author of numerous books on American industrial history, capitalism and notable business leaders. He lives in Maumee, Ohio.

Bibliographic Details

Quentin R. Skrabec
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 252
Bibliographic Info: 23 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9955-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2564-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Preface 1

 1. Prelude 5

 2. Confluence—Dynamos, Electric Furnaces and the Aluminum Process 17

 3. Chemistry and Capitalism 26

 4. Commercialization 36

 5. Litigation and Growth 50

 6. The Aluminum Industry Comes of Age 56

 7. Metallurgical Wars and Monopoly 63

 8. New Threats and New Markets 79

 9. Birth of Alcan and the Rise of an International Industry 95

10. Paternal Capitalism and Colonialism 104

11. The 1930s Unionization and the End of Paternalism 113

12. The Great Antitrust Case 124

13. The War and the New Aluminum Industry 134

14. Oligopoly and the Dawning of the Golden Age for Aluminum 147

15. The 1950s—The Products of the 1930s Come of Age 157

16. The 1950s—The Aluminum Age 174

17. The 1960s and 1970s—The Aluminum Age 186

18. “Tin Cans” and Space Capsules 192

19. Space Age Products 197

20. The Best and Worst of Times, 1970–2000 203

21. The World Aluminum Wars 210

22. The Future, Science Fiction and New Uses 217

Chapter Notes 229

Bibliography 235

Index 239