The answer is simple: Demand. However, this one word answer has taken us over 100 years to get here.
Aluminum is a comparatively new element in the applications as we know it. Bars of aluminum were exhibited for the first time to the general public at the Exposition Universelle of 1855 in Paris. Pure aluminum metal was difficult to refine and thus rare. At the turn of the century aluminum was more valuable than gold! Since then, new methods for mass production have been discovered and the prices over the next 100 years have decreased. Its production and demand grew exponentially in the 20th century and it became an exchange commodity in the 1970s.
When Copper and Brass began in Detroit in 1931, many applications were using copper and brass. Rightfully so, as copper is one of the oldest known materials. Its ductility and electrical conductivity has been highly studied, coveted, and used for centuries. While copper proved to be best used in electrical applications, for some applications, the metal was too heavy and was best suited for a much lighter metal – aluminum. Not only was the demand for aluminum growing at a higher rate than copper throughout the 50s and 60s, but the price gap was widening. In 1960, aluminum was about 22 cents/lb and copper was 25 cents/lb. By 1970, aluminum was 25 cents/lb and copper was 53 cents/lb.
Fast forward to 2018 and both copper and aluminum have found their place in our everyday lives. Copper and Brass is still one of the largest distributors of copper and brass, however, currently we do sell more aluminum than copper.
Copper and Brass offers a full line of aluminum alloys in bars, plate, and tube. We also offer extruded bars and near net shapes. Our metal service centers across the United States and Canada have full processing capabilities so your metal is ready for you to machine as soon as you receive it.