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Before Alcoa
Before Alcoa
1855-1884
Before Alcoa
Before Alcoa
1855-1884
1886-1920
1886-1920
Herman Basset Hall
1886-1920
1886-1920
Charles Martin Hall
1886-1920
1886-1920
Julia Brainerd Hall
1886-1920
1886-1920
Hall Family Home
1886-1920
1886-1920
Immortal Woodshed
1886-1920
1886-1920
First Aluminum
1886-1920
1886-1920
Aluminum Sample
1886-1920
1886-1920
Crown Jewels
1886-1920
1886-1920
Crown Jewels
1886-1920
1886-1920
Alfred E. Hunt
1886-1920
1886-1920
Hunt's Pittsburgh Home
1886-1920
1886-1920
Paul Heroult
1886-1920
1886-1920
Hall Patent Display
1886-1920
1886-1920
Arthur V. Davis
1886-1920
1886-1920
Pittsburgh Reduction Company
1886-1920
1886-1920
Pittsburgh Reduction Company
1886-1920
1886-1920
Aluminum Plaque
1886-1920
1886-1920
Pittsburgh Reduction Company
1886-1920
1886-1920
Pittsburgh Reduction Company
1886-1920
1886-1920
Massena Plant
1886-1920
1886-1920
Aluminum Hair Combs
1886-1920
1886-1920
First Flight
1886-1920
1886-1920
Arthur V. Davis
1886-1920
1886-1920
Ford Model T
1886-1920
1886-1920
Pittsburgh Reduction Company
1886-1920
1886-1920
New Kensington Plant
1920-1940
1920-1940
Aluminum Tuna Cans
1920-1940
1920-1940
Tennessee Plant
1920-1940
1920-1940
Aluminum Bus
1920-1940
1920-1940
First Transatlantic Flight
1920-1940
1920-1940
Washington Monument
1920-1940
1920-1940
Box for Crown Jewels
1920-1940
1920-1940
Box for Crown Jewels
1920-1940
1920-1940
50th Anniversary
1940-1960
1940-1960
Alcoa Building
1940-1960
1940-1960
Aluminum Car Wheel
1960-1990
1960-1990
Warrick Plant
1960-1990
1960-1990
Warrick Plant
1960-1990
1960-1990
Pull-Top Can Design
1960-1990
1960-1990
Warrick Plant
1960-1990
1960-1990
Aluminum Cans
1960-1990
1960-1990
Aluminum Can Ends
1960-1990
1960-1990
Pet Food Can



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Before Alcoa
Before Alcoa
Aluminum baby rattle (1855) from the collection of Napoleon III. Aluminum was considered a rare metal before the Alcoa Hall process brought the price down in 1888.
Before Alcoa
Before Alcoa
The top of the Washington Monument's aluminum cap (1884), including lightning rods. Photographed during a cleaning operation in 1934.
1886-1920
1886-1920
Herman Bassett Hall, father of Charles Martin Hall, 1886.
1886-1920
1886-1920
(Pictured) Charles Martin Hall in 1905, age 42. In 1886, at the age of 22 years old, Charles Martin Hall discovered an inexpensive method for isolating pure aluminum from its compounds.
1886-1920
1886-1920
Julia Brainerd Hall, Charles' sister, helped with the research. Julia's detailed lab notes helped establish and defend the Hall patents.
1886-1920
1886-1920
The Hall family home in Oberlin, Ohio. Hall discovered the aluminum process in a summer kitchen attached to the back of the home.
1886-1920
1886-1920
This photo shows a re-creation of the woodshed where, in 1886, Charles Martin Hall made his breakthrough discovery: an inexpensive method for isolating pure aluminum from its compounds.
1886-1920
1886-1920
The first small, shining globules of aluminum reduced through the Hall Process. They are referred to as Alcoa's ""crown jewels"". Shown here on a page of handwritten minutes from a company meeting, circa 1890.
1886-1920
1886-1920
Aluminum sample from Charles Martin Hall - Donated by Julia Hall - Charles' sister, 1886.
1886-1920
1886-1920
The first droplets of aluminum that inventor Charles Martin Hall produced in his laboratory in 1886 are known as the crown jewels of Alcoa.
1886-1920
1886-1920
The first droplets of aluminum that inventor Charles Martin Hall produced in his laboratory in 1886.
1886-1920
1886-1920
Alcoa is born. Six industrialists led by Captain Alfred E. Hunt formed the Pittsburgh Reduction Company in 1888.
1886-1920
1886-1920
Captain Alfred E. Hunt was so impressed with Hall's process that he called a preliminary meeting of five of his associates on July 31, 1888. The meeting was held at Hunt's Pittsburgh home and the first order of business was to select a name for the new company. The first name selected for the business was Pittsburgh Aluminium Company.
1886-1920
1886-1920
In France, at nearly the same time C. M. Hall discovered the method for isolating pure aluminum from its compounds, Paul L. T. Heroult had discovered a similar process and had filed a US patent.The two applications were found to interfere with each other. Although Heroult's invention pre-dated Hall's, his application did not provide a ""Preliminary Statement,"" as had Hall's. Under US patent law this limited Heroult to the date his application was filed in the US - May 22, 1886. Hall prevailed because he was able to prove through his sister's meticulous records that his date of invention was February 23, 1886.
1886-1920
1886-1920
It took some time and money to prepare the necessary patent papers for Hall's invention. The patent application was filed on July 9, 1886 but not actually issued by the patent office until April 2, 1889.
1886-1920
1886-1920
Our first employee: Arthur Vining Davis came to Pittsburgh in 1888 from Amherst College at the age of 21. Hunt hired Davis at his Pittsburgh Testing Laboratory.
1886-1920
1886-1920
On August 8, 1888 six industrialists led by Capt. Alfred E. Hunt agreed to put up $20,000, $5,000 at a time, on call, to build a pilot plant which was constructed on Smallman Street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On October 1, 1888, the enterprise was incorporated as The Pittsburgh Reduction Company. In 1907 the name was changed to Aluminum Company of America, which it remained until 1999, when it was officially shortened to Alcoa.
1886-1920
1886-1920
Drawing of the interior of the Smallman Street works of the Pittsburgh Reduction Company depicting the reducing pots used in the company's process. (1888)
1886-1920
1886-1920
An aluminum plaque at 3220 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, commemorates the birthplace of aluminum.
1886-1920
1886-1920
The New Kensington office building of Pittsburgh Reduction Company. (1891)
1886-1920
1886-1920
Interior of the Smallman Street works of the Pittsburgh Reduction Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. ca 1889
1886-1920
1886-1920
Potroom of the Massena Plant in Massena, New York (USA), 1894.
1886-1920
1886-1920
Aluminum hair combs made by Scovill Manufacturing Company, 1895.
1886-1920
1886-1920
The Wright Brothers couldn't find an off-the-shelf engine that could get a plane, a pilot, and itself airborne. So they asked their bicycle-shop mechanic, Charlie Taylor, to build one. Taylor put the engine together at the Wright shop in Dayton, Ohio. To save weight, a local foundry cast the block and crankcase in aluminum. The metal came from Alcoa. (1903, Kittyhawk, North Carolina)
1886-1920
1886-1920
In 1907, the company was renamed Aluminum Company of America, and Arthur Vining Davis was named President in 1910.
1886-1920
1886-1920
Auto body work on the Ford Model T in 1904 at the New Kensington, Pennsylvania (USA) job shop.
1886-1920
1886-1920
Interior of the Smallman Street works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (1910)
1886-1920
1886-1920
The Alcoa New Kensington plant was the most modern flat sheet rolling mill. Men adjusted rollers by hand for accurate thickness. (1912)
1920-1940
1920-1940
First aluminum cans for tuna, sardines and kippered herring used by Point Loma tuna packers and Norwegian Preserving Company. (1920)
1920-1940
1920-1940
First ingot being charged into remelting furnace at Alcoa Tennessee Plant. (1920)
1920-1940
1920-1940
First aluminum bus body built in 1925 by General Aluminum Products Company.
1920-1940
1920-1940
Flying The Spirit of St. Louis airplane, Charles Lindbergh made the first nonstop transatlantic flight in history. The propeller was made of Alcoa aluminum. (1927)
1920-1940
1920-1940
Flag raising ceremony marking completion of the scaffolding for cleaning and repairing of the Washington Monument in 1934.
1920-1940
1920-1940
In 1935, Alcoa commissioned Pittsburgh craftsman Hymen Blum and his sons to create an aluminum jewel box for its Crown Jewels. The ornamental case combines forgings and etching in a woven pattern riveted together, showcasing aluminum as a decorative art.
1920-1940
1920-1940
Detail of the aluminum jewel box for the Crown Jewels.
1920-1940
1920-1940
50th Anniversary of Alcoa. Arthur Vining Davis reenacting pouring of the first aluminum. (1938)
1940-1960
1940-1960
The Alcoa building in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was not only the company's world headquarters from 1951 to 1999, but also a showcase of aluminum architectural design and applications.
1940-1960
1940-1960
First aluminum wheel on any modern passenger car was the lightweight spoke wheel on the 1955 Cadillac Eldorado. The extremely strong wheel was forged on a giant press from hot aluminum. Featured at Motorama, the wheel was standard on the Eldorado and optional on other 1955 Cadillacs.
1960-1990
1960-1990
On June 10, 1960, at Warrick Works, the first pot was tapped from pot number seven and poured into pig ingot molds. (Warrick, Indiana, USA)
1960-1990
1960-1990
1961 - Jerry Stuart of Folsomville is show stacking a bundle of 50 pound aluminum pig. Each bundle contained 44 of Alcoa's newly developed interlocking ingots and weighed a total of 2,200 pounds. (Warrick, Indiana, USA)
1960-1990
1960-1990
Ermal Cleon Fraze of Dayton, Ohio invented and received a U.S. Patent for his pull-top can design in 1963 and licensed his invention to Alcoa and Pittsburgh Brewing Company.
1960-1990
1960-1990
To make light gauge aluminum sheet, Warrick made many additions to its operations. One addition was a six-stand hot continuous rolling mill. At the the time of installation in 1966, this mill was only one of its kind in the aluminum industry. (Warrick, Indiana, USA)
1960-1990
1960-1990
Aluminum cans. (1975)
1960-1990
1960-1990
Aluminum can ends. (1985)
1960-1990
1960-1990
Pet food can with an easy-open aluminum end. (1987)