1890 - 1916
At War with Steel
Referred to in its conceptual documentation as the "government armor plant," what eventually became the NOP was the climax of two decades of fighting between the U.S. Navy, Congress, and America's three biggest steel companies.
Pricing scandals in the 1890s had soured the relationship between the Senate Naval Affairs Committee and the only companies (Carnegie, Midvale, and Bethlehem) who could supply the armor plate needed by America's modern fleet.
After taking office in 1913, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels was soon convinced that the only way to force Big Steel to make reasonable bids was the threat that the U.S. government would supply its own armor plate for peacetime shipbuilding.