A brief description is given of the wide variety of characteristics produced by plating aluminum. The characteristics which make aluminum different in plating response, methods in wide use today, and a brief history of plating development on aluminum are described herein. The specific large use areas such as tin and silver plates on aluminum in the electrical industry, and hard chromium plating of general industrial end uses, are detailed. A new “breed” of finish entailing either electroplating or hardcoat anodizing, combined with infusion with fluorocarbon resins for extreme wear resistance and low coefficient of friction is described. Throughout the paper, it is pointed out that aluminum has and will continue to replace the expensive and hard to obtain “red” metals (copper and bronze), in much of the industry. The economics of specific examples are given to illustrate both how and why plated aluminum is more than competitive with these metals.