Manganese is named from the Latin magnes, magnet and was recogized as an element in 1774. The metal is obtained by the reduction of the oxide with sodium, magnesium, aluminum or by electrolysis. It is gray-white, resembling iron but is harder and very brittle. Most manganese today is obtained from the ores found in Russia, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, Gabon and India. Pyrolusite and rhodochrosite are among the most common manganese minerals. Manganese is used to form many important alloys. In steel, manganese improves the rolling and forging qualities, strength, toughness, stiffness, wear resistance, hardness and hardenability. With aluminum and antimony, especially with small amounts of copper, it forms highly ferromagnetic alloys. Manganese is widely distributed throughout the animal kingdom and is an important trace element that may be essential for utilization of vitamin B.