Campus News

This Week in Photos: The Many Looks of Charles Martin Hall

January 21, 2021

Yvonne Gay

A statue of a man wearing a top hat and tie and carrying roses and a large diamond ring.
The Charles Martin Hall statue on the second floor of the Science Center.
Photo credit: Gary Cohen '11

A tall aluminum statue on the second floor of the Science Center receives a lot of attention—it is traditionally dressed and decorated by students, staff, and faculty for holidays and special occasions. Valentine’s Day was the inspiration for a debonair top hat, tie, and flowers.

Charles Martin Hall, an 1885 Oberlin College graduate, unlocked a commercially viable process for extracting aluminum metal from ore under the guidance of Oberlin chemistry Professor Frank Jewett. Hall set up his laboratory outside his family’s home in an attached woodshed in Oberlin. On February 23, 1886, his experiments paid off. 

In this week’s photo series we visit the statue that honors this Oberlin pioneer and the enduring looks it has worn. 

See more of Hall's looks over the years on the Oberlin Flickr page.


A statue wearing a straw hat and holding a small scarecrow and Halloween bag full of money.
Hall’s statue dawns a straw hat while holding a scarecrow and sack full of money for Halloween. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay
A statue of a man wearing rabbit ears.
Easter was the occasion for bunny-ear headgear. Photo credit: Dale Preston ’83
A statue of a man wearing an autumn wreath and t-shirt.
The fall season made this ensemble of colorful leaves, matching crown, and Science Center shirt appropriate. Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko
A statue of a man wearing a graduation cap.
The statue is rarely seen without a graduation cap during commencement season. Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97
A statue of a man wearing a face mask.
Hall demonstrates the proper way to wear a face mask. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay


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