Picture Number:10326945 Credit:Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library
In 1886 the Hall-Heroult electrolytic process for the commercial production of aluminium was announced. Paul Heroult ( 1863-1914) was a French metallurgist who not only invented the method of extracting aluminium by the electrolysis of cryolite, but also, in 1906, an electric furnace for producing steel. An American, Charles Martin Hall, independently of Heroult, discovered the first economic method of obtaining aluminium from bauxite electrolytically, in 1886. He helped to found the Aluminium Company of America. Electric furnaces are expensive but clean and adaptable and suitable for making alloy steels.