April 2, 2013
ALCOA and Niagara Falls
Did you know that ALCOA, (the Aluminum Company of America) had its early start in Niagara Falls, N.Y?
That’s right, a number of major electrochemical companies were located here in the late 1800’s just in time for the Pan-American Exposition which took place in Buffalo, N. Y. in 1901.
ALCOA, once called the Pittsburg Reduction Company, built a new plant in1895 in Niagara Falls, N.Y. to produce aluminum. The reason had to do with the abundance and inexpensive electricity produced by the falls. Both of these ingredients were necessary to produce aluminum but one of the other ingredients required to produce Alumina (Aluminum-ore) was the availability of aluminous clay which Niagara had, and still does have, plenty off.
The influence of this move to Niagara was that the price of aluminum, which in 1887 sold for $8.00 a pound, after being produced in Niagara in 1895 fell to $2.00 a pound!
The plant is long gone (it was located where the new dry docks for the Maid of the Mist is to be built this year) but we can take pride in knowing we had a big part in the early years of this major company.
Attached in an historic photograph of The Pittsburg Reduction Company and other electrochemical plants found just down river of the Falls on the edge of the Niagara River in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
George ... I think you're wrong. Although the Pittsburg Reduction Company had a facility at the old Schoellkopf location, the first plant was actually in the Buffalo Ave. area and got its power from the Adams Plant No. 1. The bigger Alcoa plant at the Schoellkopf Station came about a decade later.