Saturday, September 12, 2015

La Belle Cut Nail Works

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Founded in 1952, the La Belle Ironworks and took its name from the French name for the Ohio River, La Belle Rivière, ‘‘the beautiful river.’’ Making cut nails was an important 19th-century American manufacture, and nail production became a hallmark of Wheeling industry.
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1997, it was known as the "La Belle Cut Nail Plant, The Largest in the World
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The 13th month long Great Nail Strike ended the reign of Wheeling being "Nail City." Because of the strike, wire nails flooded the market and due to lack of workers, automatic nail feeders were introduced which replaced most of the need for skilled men.

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But as cut nail use declined in the late 1880s in favor of modern wire nails, La Belle diversified its product line, first through the manufacture of tin plate, and later with the production of steel plates, tubes, and sheets. In 1920, La Belle merged with Wheeling Iron and Steel and Whitaker-Glessner Company to form Wheeling Steel Corporation (later Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation) and continued to produce cut nails, developing a specialized market in hardened nails for use in masonry. D-Mac Industries bought the nail plant in 1997 and operated it as Wheeling-La Belle Nail Company.
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Facing an economic downturn and foreign competition, Wheeling-La Belle Nail Company closed on September 30, 2010.
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The merger of Wheeling Steel and Iron Company, Wheeling-Glassner and Labelle Iron Works create the Wheeling Steel Corporation in 1920.
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Those doors closed in 2010 but the company's impact on the Valley still holds strong today even having the hockey team named after the industry.

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