The Luxfer Group acquired Magnesium Elektron limited in 1996. The Company in its current form was created in February 1996 from a management buy-out of the downstream operations of British Alcan and formed a new company, initially called British Aluminium Limited.
Magnesium Elektron acquired Reade Manufacturing Co. a manufacturer of particulate magnesium powders based at Lakehurst, Manchester, New Jersey. Originally established in the late 1700’s in Wolverhampton, England the company relocated to Jersey City in 1881. The acquisition gave Magnesium Elektron access to technology and expertise in the manufacture of magnesium powders.
1990 saw the Magnesium and Zirconium sides of the business split in to subsidiaries of Magnesium Elektron Limited. This saw the creation of Magnesium Elektron and MEL Chemicals.
MEI acquired the chemical manufacturing assets of Tizon Chemical Corporation in Flemington, New Jersey, which has been its base ever since. This remains the centre of the North American zirconium operation and the second leg of the MEL Chemicals business, the third being the Japanese joint venture Nikkei-MEL Co Ltd.
The business relocated to New Jersey sharing facilities with Raleigh Industries of America, a sister company of the British Aluminium Company.
North America was recognised as an important market for the company from the earliest days. In 1955 Magnesium Elektron Inc. (MEI) was formed to import magnesium alloys and provide supporting services to foundries in North America. In its early days it was housed in the Rockefeller Centre in New York City.
The British Aluminium Company acquires a majority share in the company. By this time Magnesium Elektron’s role in the magnesium industry was accepted as being that of a high technology specialist backed by a potent reserve of research and development and a world-wide market.
The company made its first sale of zirconium oxide in 1950. It had developed the production expertise in order to produce zirconium based alloys of magnesium for the aerospace market. Sales of zirconium carbonate followed in 1956 and then throughout the 1960’s a whole range of tailored zirconium products were developed for a wide-range of applications, establishing the zirconium operation as a thriving business in its own right.
The MEL monthly magazine (The Magnet) was created and went on to be distributed on a monthly basis.
Even during World War II the company had maintained a significant level of research work. It was this faith in the ability of MEL's scientific strengths which led to important advances in alloy technology after the market collapsed. Of particular importance to the research team was the work in perfecting the alloying of magnesium with zirconium. This development came at the perfect time for the company as its improved properties at high temperatures were ideal for the blossoming jet aircraft industry.