Item #4380 Mémoire sur la fabrication du sodium et de l’aluminium. SAINTE-CLAIRE DEVILLE, Henri.
Mémoire sur la fabrication du sodium et de l’aluminium

Mémoire sur la fabrication du sodium et de l’aluminium

Paris, Mallet-Bachelier, [1856].
8°, 44 pages and one folding plate ; unbound copy, without wrappers, as published. Item #4380

Rare offprint issue of Saint-Claire Deville’s final publication about the discovery of aluminium, proving its safety and inalterability, and about the industrial production at low cost of this new metal.
In 1854, the chemist Henri Sainte-Claire Deville (1818- 881) obtained for the first time pure aluminium globules by a process of reduction of double aluminium chloride by sodium. Supported financially by the emperor Napoleon III, he began to produce aluminium in Paris in 1856 (see this paper) and then in Salindres (Gard) in 1860.
« Sainte-Claire Deville’s research culminated in the winter of 1853-1854 and he made his first communication to the Paris Academy of Sciences in its session of 6 February 1854. In March 1854, for the first time in the world, an aluminum blade was presented to the public. In his cover letter to the Academy, the scientist specified that tests had been carried out on the metal for three months. » (Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, Between Nature And Society : Biographies Of Materials, 2022, p. 81.)
But some doubt remained about the safety and inalterability of this new metal. Therefore, Saint-Claire Deville, with the support of the French government, pursued his research at the Javel laboratory and gave his final conclusions in the present paper published in 1856 : « Je ne doute pas, en effet, aujourd’hui que l’aluminium ne devienne tôt ou tard un métal usuel. […] Bien plus, son inaltérabilité et son innocuité parfaites ont pu être expérimentées, et l’aluminium a subi ces épreuves mieux encore que je ne pouvais le prévoir. Son innocuité absolue en permettra l’emploi dans une foule de cas où l’étain présente des inconvénients à cause de la facilité extrême avec laquelle ce métal est dissous par les acides organiques. » (pp. 1-2).
Sainte Claire Deville’s conclusions proved right. Gradually, aluminium would become extensively used in industry and everyday life.

Price: €1,200.00