The Electric Smelting and Aluminum Company, founded as Cowles Electric Smelting and Aluminum Company, and Cowles Syndicate Company, Limited formed in the United States and England during the mid-1880s to extract and supply valuable metals. Founded by two brothers from Ohio, the Cowles companies are remembered for producing alloys in quantity sufficient for commerce. Their furnaces were electric arc smelters, one of the first viable methods for extracting metals.
The businesses of the era dramatically increased the supply of aluminium, a plentiful resource not found in nature in pure form, and reduced its price. The Cowles process was the immediate predecessor to the Hall-Héroult process—today in nearly universal use more than a century after it was discovered by Charles Martin Hall and Paul Héroult and adapted by others including Carl Josef Bayer. Because of the patent landscape, the Cowles companies found themselves in court. Judges eventually acknowledged their innovations many years after the companies formed, and one brother received two separate settlements.
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... and of Héroult in Europe, and their influence on aluminum companies, some through Héroult's Société Electrometallurgique Française, have been called one of the greatest events in metallurgy ... Over ten years, aluminum output in the U.S ... and promoting what was the beginning of electrical smelting on a large scale ...
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