[Sca-cooks] Precious stones to ward off evils

David Friedman ddfr at daviddfriedman.com
Mon Nov 26 23:23:28 PST 2007

>A favorite example of this is the fact that the Washington monument 
>in Washington D.C. is capped with a piece of aluminum. Not gold. Not 
>silver. Aluminum. One of the cheaper metals today. So cheap it is 
>used for, and thrown away in huge quantities, for beverage cans. 
>However, in the middle of the 19th century it was many times more
>expensive than gold.

Although you don't actually say so, this makes it sound as though it 
was many times more expensive than gold when the Washington monument 
was capped with it, which doesn't seem likely. A little googling 
finds the statement that:

"When the Washington Monument was dedicated in 1885, it was topped 
with an aluminum cap. At that time, aluminum's price rivaled 

Wikipedia agrees. It sounds as though aluminum was more expensive 
than gold in the period immediately after it was first isolated, 
still very valuable in 1885, started becoming much less valuable when 
the Hall-Heroult process went into production about 1888-9.

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