In terms of its prevalence in the earth's crust, aluminum ranks third among all elements, second only to oxygen and silicon.
There is a beautiful legend that once a jeweler came to the emperor of Rome Tiberius, who ruled in the first century BC, and handed the monarch an unusually light metal plate, presumably made of aluminum. At the same time, the jeweler said that only he and the gods knew the secret of this metal. True, Tiberius was not delighted. He was afraid that this outlandish metal would drastically devalue gold and silver. Therefore, instead of gratitude, he ordered the execution of a man who possessed such a terrible secret. But, modern chemists are skeptical of this legend, claiming that at that time there was no technical possibility of producing aluminum from alumina. And in its pure form, this metal does not occur in nature.
Back in the middle of the 19th century, aluminum was called the "king of metals". This was due to the fact that its production was incredibly expensive. Therefore, aluminum was classified as a precious metal. Worldwide, the annual production of aluminum did not exceed three tons.
The Emperor of France Napoleon III liked to give aluminum cutlery to distinguished guests. It was, indeed, a royal gift: aluminum spoons and forks were valued much higher than silver ones.
Aluminum became a relatively cheap metal after 1886, thanks to the young American chemist Charles Martin Hall. While still a college student, Charles dreamed of becoming a millionaire after he developed a way to produce aluminum on an industrial scale. At the age of 23, Charles invented the process of extracting aluminum electrolytically. Later, a monument to the talented chemist was erected at Oberlin College, where Hall studied. Naturally, it was made of aluminum. But aluminum is too soft a metal, therefore, it could not get widespread use. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Alfred Wilm received an alloy called "duralumin", that is, "strong aluminum". This has greatly expanded the possibilities of using aluminum. Since 1919, this alloy began to be used in aircraft construction.
In 1899, a balance of gold and aluminum was made for the famous Russian chemist Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleev in England.
In the Soviet Union, the first aluminum smelter was launched in 1932 in the city of Volkhov, Leningrad Region. Raw materials for it were mined at the Tikhvin bauxite deposit.
In 1967, American designers released a swimsuit made of aluminum filament.
Viktor Tsoi's repertoire included the song "Aluminum Cucumbers". The history of its creation is as follows: Victor, as a student, went with fellow students to a collective farm to harvest cucumbers. It was raining, wet cucumbers were grayish, as if made of metal. This is how the song about aluminum cucumbers growing on a tarpaulin field appeared.
Currently, a third of all beer produced in the world is bottled in aluminum cans. And the first canned beer went on sale in the United States on January 24, 1935.