Aluminum (or aluminium to our UK friends) is one of the most useful metals that are commonly available. Unlike other metals such as iron, copper, and the like, aluminum has been used in large quantities only fairly recently. Actually, alumimium is the better name, because it is in keeping with the naming of most metallic elements with the “ium” ending. However, we shall use the US term. Interestingly, the brilliant British chemist Sir Humphrey Davy called it aluminum, but he never produced the actual metal. In addition, his first name for it was alumium, and folks from My Little Town who were older used that name! That really should be the systematic name for it.
Aluminum compounds have been known for centuries, but the free metal only since around 1825 and even then in an impure form. It was not until very late in the 19th century that aluminum was produced on a large scale, using a process that is essentially identical with the process being used even now.