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August 2, 2007

Designer Gives a Classic Alcoa Product a New Look

PITTSBURGH--Through the years, Alcoa (NYSE:AA) aluminum has been used in everything from airplanes to food packaging to Ferraris, but recently, the sustainable metal was cast again into one of the first items it had originally been used for over 100 years ago – a teapot.

New York-based industrial designer Joey Roth’s unique Sorapot evolved from an unlikely combination of the artist’s love of tea and an engineering class on the topic of bridges. The design of the pot, Roth said, emphasizes tea making as a ritual while showcasing the brewing of either green or white tea leaves. Roth chose to use Alcoa aluminum for the Sorapot because of its advantages over other materials. The majority of the aluminum plate used to make the teapot is sourced from Alcoa Bohai, located in Qinhuangdao, China.

“I was originally going to cast it from stainless steel, but aluminum’s light weight and better flow rate gave me the freedom to design exactly the shapes I had in mind,” Roth said. In addition, he said that aluminum is ideal for its ability to transfer heat without allowing the water to get too hot for delicate tea leaves. Roth said there is no other metal he could cast in the shape he needs for the pot.

It was for some of the same shape- and weight-related benefits that a teakettle was one of the first products made with Alcoa aluminum in 1895, when Arthur Vining Davis created the piece of cookware to display a new use for aluminum. The owner of the company he showed the teapot to – the Griswold Company of Erie, Pa – was so impressed that an order was placed for 2,000 kettles. Despite Davis’s attempts to explain that he only wanted to sell Griswold the aluminum, Alcoa was forced to enter the fabricating business to prove there was a market for the metal.

While Alcoa’s original aluminum teapots can now only be found in museums and antique collections, Roth’s new design will be available through his website, www.joeyroth.com, beginning in September.

About Alcoa

Alcoa is the world's leading producer and manager of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina facilities, and is active in all major aspects of the industry. Alcoa serves the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation and industrial markets, bringing design, engineering, production and other capabilities of Alcoa's businesses to customers. In addition to aluminum products and components including flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings, Alcoa also markets Alcoa® wheels, fastening systems, precision and investment castings, structures and building systems. The company has 116,000 employees in 44 countries and has been named one of the top most sustainable corporations in the world at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More information can be found at www.alcoa.com