The History of Aluminum Extrusion

Aluminum extrusion has been applied in many innovative ways since its earliest beginnings more than 100 years ago.
From its early use in creating pipes and wires to futuristic applications in space station construction, aluminum
extrusion has a rich history.

The extrusion process was first patented in 1797 for making lead pipes, which was done with manual labour until the
introduction of the hydraulic powered press in 1820. By the end of nineteenth century, extrusion methods were also
in use for copper and brass alloys, but the application of aluminum extrusion followed a unique path.

Origins of Aluminum

Compared to other metals like copper, bronze, iron and steel, which have been in use for thousands of years, aluminum
is relatively young, having been identified as an elemental metal in 1807. Aluminum was first refined in 1825, and at
that time it was considered a luxurious metal which was more expensive than gold. It was not until the late 1880s,
with the invention of the smelting process by Hall and Héroult and the development of commercial production,
that the silvery metal became affordable for everyday purposes. The initial working processes consisted of
rolling, casting, and forging.

The burgeoning demand for aluminium profile reached new heights during the two world wars for use in aircraft
manufacturing and other military requirements. The rapid development of extrusion continued after World War II,
and began to expand into various industries including the residential housing sector, which experienced
substantial growth in the postwar period.

In subsequent decades, the transportation and construction sectors have always been the principal benefactors
of aluminum extrusion products. Even in present times, the bulk of extrusion usage is in manufacturing doors
and windows, followed by passenger vehicles. Other major extrusion products and applications are consumer
staples and the construction of bridges and highways.