Paul L.T. HéroultĎs memory is once more honored in the United States of America.
On September 25, 1999, at Shasta Dam in California, and before a group of about 50 people including four members of the Héroult family, a plaque was unveiled to pay tribute to the submerged town of Heroult and to the man after whom the town was named. The plaque is placed in a location where it can be seen by the 100 000 people that visit the dam each year.
This event is the direct result of three years of tenacious work by George Binczewski, a researcher in the history of metallurgy . Mr. Binczewski had been corresponding in writing with Paul Héroultís daughter Elisabeth for many years to gather first hand information on her fatherís role in the early development of the aluminum industry. One day she asked him to try and locate the town that was named after her father.
The only pointer that Mr. Binczewski had to work with was a poor copy of a letter mailed on
July 30th 1907 and addressed as follows:
Dr. P. L.T. Heroult, Heroult on the Pitt , Baird Post Office, Shasta County, Cal.
The past existence of the town was confirmed by Ms. Hazel McKim of the Shasta Historical Society and photographs of the town taken 90 years ago were available.
Mr. Binczewski enlisted the cooperation of his fellow members of ASM International (ASMI)
and the Golden Gate Chapter of ASMI sponsored the event with the support of ASM World Headquarters near Cleveland, Ohio. ASM International is the worldís largest society of professionals in applications, research and educational publications on metals and materials.
At the plaque dedication and unveiling ceremony which was attended by the Mayor of the City of Shasta Lake and a number of ASMI officials, including the current ASMI President Dr. Hans Portisch from Austria , Mr. Steve Frodge, Chairman of the Electric Furnace Division of the Iron and Steel Society, made an enlightening presentation of the economic and environmental impact of Paul Héroultís invention on the steel industry (see the attached ).
Of the 750 million tons representing the world production of steel in 1998, a total of 275 million tons were produced in Héroult-type electric furnaces. This is about ten times the size of worldwide Aluminum production to which Héroultís name is also associated along with
Charles Martin Hallís (this association was commemorated in September 1997 at Oberlin
College, Oberlin, Ohio). Christian Bickert of Aluminium Pechiney spoke of the "global" reach of Héroultís activities almost one century before globalization became a general trend.
The inscription on the plaque reads:
ASM International , The Materials Information Society,
HEROULT ELECTRIC ARC FURNACE
AN HISTORICAL LANDMARK
In 1907, at Shasta County, the first electric arc furnace in the Western Hemisphere was
utilized for the direct production of iron from this areaís indigenous resources of magnetite
(Fe3 O4), charcoal, limestone and hydro-electricity. It operated in the town of Heroult, Ca.
named in honor of the furnace inventor Paul Heroult of France (who assisted in the installation). The town site, located at the confluence of the Pit and McCloud rivers was subsequently submerged by the rising waters behind Shasta Dam in 1945.