Charles Martin Hall|
(1863 - 1914) U.S.A.
Born in Thompson, Ohio, Hall invented and patented an inexpensive electrolytic method for the production of aluminum, which brought the metal into wide commercial use (formerly it was so rare in pure form, and so expensive to produce, that aluminum was considered a precious metal akin to silver or gold).
Hall's method of processing the metal ore was to pass an electric current through a non-metallic conductor (molten sodium fluoride compound was used) to separate the very conductive aluminum; he became president of the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) and in 1911 was awarded the Perkin Medal for outstanding achievement in applied chemistry. Today the electrochemical method is known as the Hall-Héroult process.
Hall left his fortune to Oberlin College and to his longtime companion.