Titanium was first identified as a constituent of the earth's crust in the late 170Os. In 1790, William
Gregor, an English clergyman and mineralogist, discovered a black magnetic sand (ilmenite), which
he called menaccanite after his local parish. In 1795, a German chemist found that a Hungarian
mineral, rutile, was the oxide of a new element he called titan, after the mythical Titans of ancient
Greece. In the early 190Os, a sulfate purification process was developed to commercially obtain high-
purity TiO2 for the pigment industry, and titanium pigment became available in both the United States
and Europe. During this period, titanium was also used as an alloying element in irons and steels.
In 1910, 99.5% pure titanium metal was produced at General Electric from titanium tetrachloride
and sodium in an evacuated steel container. Since the metal did not have the desired properties,
further work was discouraged. However, this reaction formed the basis for the commercial sodium
reduction process. In the 1920s, ductile titanium was prepared with an iodide dissociation method
combined with Hunter's sodium reduction process.
In the early 1930s, a magnesium vacuum reduction process was developed for reduction of tita-
nium tetrachloride to metal. Based on this process, the U.S. Bureau of Mines (BOM) initiated a
program in 1940 to develop commercial production. Some years later, the BOM publicized its work
on titanium and made samples available to the industrial community. By 1948, the BOM produced
batch sizes of 104 kg. In the same year, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Inc., announced commercial
availability of titanium, and the modern titanium metals industry began.1
By the mid-1950s, this new metals industry had become well established, with six producers, two
other companies with tentative production plans, and more than 25 institutions engaged in research
projects. Titanium, termed the wonder metal, was billed as the successor to aluminum and stainless
steels. When, in the 1950s, the DOD (titanium'