Aluminum, or aluminium, was named after alum, a mineral known and used since antiquity. In 1761, French chemist Louis-Bernard Gutyon de Morveau proposed the name "alumine" for the base chemical of alum, even though it had yet to be isolated.
Americans spell the word "aluminum," but the standard spelling internationally is "aluminium." This was the name formally given to the element in the early 1800s by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. Alum is the generic name of a group of minerals containing aluminum sulfate and other compounds. It has been used throughout history for the purification of drinking water, for preserving foods and as an astringent.