Charles Martin Hall
Hall, Charles Martin (1863-1914), a United States chemist and industrialist. He invented the modern commercial method of producing aluminum. In February, 1886, he obtained aluminum by the electrolysis of alumina (aluminum oxide) dissolved in melted cryolite. In the same month a Frenchman, Paul Heroult (1863-1914), independently discovered the same process. In 1889 Hall received a United States patent while Heroult patented his process in Europe.
Hall was born in Thompson, Ohio. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1885. With the backing of Andrew Mellon and other investors he established the Pittsburgh Reduction Company in 1888, serving as vice president after 1890. In 1907 the company name was changed to the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA). Hall left much of his fortune to Oberlin College.