Research into a commercially viable means of producing aluminium was initially prompted by Napoleon III’s interest in the potential uses of aluminium for the French army. Globally the market for aluminium would continue to be sustained over time by a number of significant factors: the comparatively higher prices of other non-ferrous metals (particularly copper); and the rise of the automobile, the aeroplane and the emergence of national electrical grids.
Amongst the qualities attributed to this metal have been its lightness, durability and conductivity. Yet in Europe initially, its growth was to be associated with war. The market for the metal grew as new alloys were found which extended its adaptability and improved its strength.