“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Estell Manor in Atlantic County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

8-inch Finishing Building

Bethlehem Loading Country History Trail


— N 39° 24.110, W 74° 44.294 —

8-inch Finishing Building Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones, January 22, 2022
1. 8-inch Finishing Building Marker
The final steps of the loading process were completed in the finishing building. Precise scales weighed each filled shell to determine its range. This crucial information was then stenciled on the outside so the gunner would know how far it would travel. The booster, which detonates the charge, was displaced in a special cavity at the top of the shell, and the shell was then packed in a box with others for shipment. As it left the plant, the shell was complete except for the placing of the fuse, an operation performed at the battlefront.

There are no clear historic photographs of the 8-inch finishing building, but it had an upside-down L-shape, the longest part measuring 30 feet by 60 feet.

Of the three plants, the 8-inch plant was the furthest from completion by war's end in November 1918, with a total of 8,231 shells loaded. Production was planned for 4,000 shells per day.

Women Workers in WWI
Although employee records for the loading plants have not survived, it is estimated that 50 percent of munitions workers were women filling jobs typically performed by men in peacetime. Over one
8-inch Finishing Building Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones, January 22, 2022
2. 8-inch Finishing Building Marker
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million women worked for wages in industries directly related to the war effort. Some munitions work, such as the inspection and packaging of shells, required no special training. Other tasks, like fitting fine screws and tiny springs into shell components, were perfectly suited to a woman's smaller hand. The federal government established the Women's Branch of the US Army's Ordnance Department as a watchdog agency for women workers in munitions plants.

Many WWI posters appealed to women, asking them to buy war bonds, knit socks for the Red Cross, and plant vegetable gardens so more food could be sent overseas. This poster, recruiting women workers, was printed in 1917. (Library of Congress, POS-WWI-US, no 228)

This 1918 photograph shows the interior of one of the finishing buildings at Amatol, another WWI munitions factory also in Atlantic County. (Photo from Victor Hammel, Shell Loading Plant At Amatol, NJ, Atlantic Loading Co., 1918)

Erected by Atlantic County, New Jersey. (Marker Number 18.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceWar, World IWomen. A significant historical month for this entry is November 1918.
Location. 39° 24.089′ N, 74° 44.29′ W.
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Marker is in Estell Manor, New Jersey, in Atlantic County. Marker can be reached from Atlantic County Park, 0.3 miles east of New Jersey Route 50, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Estell Manor NJ 08319, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 8-Inch Pouring Building (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); 8-Inch Plant Receiving Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Introduction (approx. Ό mile away); Ginkgo (approx. 0.3 miles away); Welcome to Atlantic County Park at Estell Manor! (approx. 0.3 miles away); Bethlehem Loading Co. (approx. 0.4 miles away); Belcoville 1917 (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Estellville Methodist Church (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Estell Manor.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 23, 2022. It was originally submitted on January 23, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 29 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 23, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Dec. 4, 2022