1946 - 1960
Peace brought hardship to the NOP once more, as wartime employment, which had peaked at over 8,000, dropped to little over 200.
Though it employed few workers, it was far from idle. As part of new Cold War defense and rearmament strategies, the NOP was selected as the nation's Ordnance Tool Room, where a surplus of wartime manufacturing tools and equipment were to be kept.
Upon request, these tools were sent to government contractors all over the country to keep manufacturing costs down and production lines fast.
As the Korean War heated up, Carnegie Steel once again sent personnel south from Homestead, PA, to rekindle the furnaces of the South Unit. For a couple of years, the NOP once again rang with the sound of armor plate, though only at about 10% of its manufacturing capacity.
Nevertheless, public officials grappled with what to do with the huge facility, as an economic slump in the late 1950s renewed the debate about new sources of jobs.
Never far from the limelight, the NOP was visited frequently by state legislators while they struggled with the area's unemployment crisis. Here, West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd (left, next , Congressman John M. Slack, and several other legislators are given a tour of the plant. West Virginia State Archives.