This beautiful color film produced for Alcoa Process Development Laboratories is about aluminum finishes. The anodic processes are trademarked Alumalite. It may be from the 1960s, based on the psychedelic screenshots and music. Giant rollers splash aluminum across a metal sheet as it moves through the line (2:10-2:29). Beakers in a test lab brew colors (3:09), measured by a spectrophotometer (3:31). Also measured is the thickness of coatings (3:37). Data is gathered, including the painted aluminum superstructures of the SS United States luxury passenger liner (4:03) and the color of anodized aluminum tags tracking lobsters (4:11). The Alcoa building roof is covered in test pieces of aluminum and its alloys (4:22) to see how it weathers the elements. A long line of aluminum is shown (4:45). It can be press formed into any design (5:08), rolled into many patterns (5:12), perforated or expanded (5:16), extruded to almost any contour (5:19), or brushed to a fine texture (5:24). These methods are shown applied to many different items (5:26-6:29). Aluminum can be etched (6:40), sandblasted (6:45), buffed (6:52), or bright dipped (6:54). Various items are shown with these finishes (6:56-7:21). Aluminum textures can be highly reflective (7:29-8:12).
Aluminum has an advantage over other metals as it can be anodized (8:18), which protects the aluminum without changing the original surface appearance that’s been applied. This process creates a durable aluminum oxide structure integral to the metal surface itself (8:30-8:58). Hard coating is created using a different mixture that causes the oxide cells to form even thicker walls (9:04). Another unique quality of aluminum is when anodized, each cell of its oxide coating has a tiny pore that accepts dyes and mineral pigments (9:21-9:32). In addition to coloring by anodizing, color may be applied on plain or anodized aluminum (10:00). It can be roller coated (10:02), silk screened with paints and inks (10:05), or stopped off for two-color anodizing (10:12). Alcoa has created architectural colors that can’t chip or peel away (10:46). The outside of buildings with anodic finishes is shown (10:49-11:07), as well as on guns (11:12), fishing reels (11:18), jewelry (11:28), and chairs (11:46). Aluminum can also have a porcelain finish (11:56) that is highly resistant to mechanical or thermal shock. Organic coatings such as plastic, paint, lacquer, and enamels can also be applied to aluminum (12:16). Aluminum is also functional, including being used on landing gear that is hard chromium plated (13:15) and on hard-coated helicopter rotor blades (13:19). Functional finishes include cadmium plating on zippers (13:47), immersion coating with tin or brass on pistons (13:53), buffed smooth on irons (13:57), and plated car parts (14:05). Electrochemical treating increases reflectivity (14:07) and silver plating increases surface conductivity (14:14). To resist corrosion (14:18), chemical and electrochemical finishes are applied. Porcelain is used to provide function and enhance appearance (14:25). Finishes can also be mass-produced, such as mechanized buffing (14:48), anodization in large tanks (15:20), electroplating (15:58) or pre-finished (17:01). The film ends with various colors and textures shown (17:08-17:56).
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January 8, 2022 Subject:
1956 Color and Texture in Aluminum Finishes by On Film, Inc.
This is the 1956 industrial film produced by On Film for the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) on "Color and Texture in Aluminum Finishes" received significant recognition for its creative composition. From its original release up to current times, people have remarked on its innovative qualities. Sean P. Kilcoyne in a 2012 issue of "The Moving Image" said the film was “critically celebrated and aesthetically radical,” while a 1957 review on “Inspiration in Visual Design” referred to it as “a rifle shot film.” "The Field Guide to Sponsored Films" remarks that it was:
"singled out in the trade press for its avant-garde qualities and considered by Howard Thompson [New York Times film critic for 50 years] as 'probably the most strikingly imaginative industrial short subject ever filmed in the United States.'"
It was filmed by Richard Bagley, who shot two Academy Award nominated Best Documentary films: "On the Bowery" in 1956 (the same year as the Alcoa film), and "The Quiet One" in 1948.
The Field Guide explains that, remarkably, the Alcoa film was “also successfully shown to general audiences.” This award-winning film, originally intended for industrial designers, also became a hit at film festivals and exhibitions (e.g., Venice, Brussels, Seattle, Bluenose Canada) and was even shown to “housewives” at Macy’s where it was screened “every hour on the hour for three weeks.”