This is part of a series I’m working on that looks at the history of aluminum, from its discovery as a metal to its mass production. The poems are connected loosely by their shared themes, but they don’t have to be read in any order.
This poem deals with Charles Martin Hall (1863-1914), the inventor of the Hall–Héroult Process, which was the first commercially viable process of getting pure aluminum. Hall used electrolysis to reduce alumina salts into aluminum. The process is still used today for mass production of aluminum. I use the –ium spelling in the poem, as that’s how it appears in Hall’s patents. As always, thanks for reading!
U.S. patent #400,664
Father used to accompany Mother
after choir practice as she returned
to Ladies’ Hall most afternoons,
and they walked slower than grass grows
because he couldn’t come in with her,
they called it the “Oberlin Step,”
all the couples did it when
the campus became coed.
Mother said their time in Jamaica
during Father’s Mission,
he would bring her fresh fruit
every morning before she woke,
for ten years, he would walk
to the nearest vendor, even climb
the tamarind trees himself, or bring
a half dozen june plums
in the hammock of his shirt tails.
Perhaps Josephine and I,
we could be in love like them,
and live in a red-brick house
with a nice Italian porch.
Continue reading “Studies in Aluminum III”