Production at Remington’s Findlay Target & Trap Plant During World Ware II

In August 1933, Remington Arms Company Inc. purchased the business of the Chamberlain Cartridge and Target Company located at Findlay, Ohio. Thereafter, the plant became the Findlay Works of Remington. The purpose of this purchase was to round out the Remington line of products and to obtain a feeder line for the sale of arms and ammunition.

World War II brought a great change in the methods used to train aerial gunners, calling for large quantities of targets and traps.

Both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy recognized the value of using the principles of skeet shooting – particularly “leading the target” – to improve marksmanship in aerial gunnery. Installations of skeet outfits were in urgent demand at all aviation training fields. Remington’s Findlay plant was one of the few sources of clay target and trap supply in the whole country and its importance to the program of training aircraft personnel in marksmanship for both the Army and the Navy became increasingly more apparent as the war developed.


Late in 1940, the Army Ordnance Department, as well as the Navy Bureau of Supplies, started to place orders for targets and traps. The first sizeable order was received from Army Ordnance, Rock Island Arsenal on November 30, 1940 for five million clay targets for shipment to the Arsenal.

On December l4, 1940, an order for 675,000 targets was placed by the Navy Bureau of Supplies for shipment to the Naval Depot, Sewalls Point, Virginia. This order appears insignificant in size when compared to an order or sixty-nine million targets placed on September 9, 1944, by the Army. From 1941 until the end of the war there was an increasing demand tor targets.

Page 26 2nd Quarter 2009

Page 27 2nd Quarter 2009

Target Industry Expansion

During the summer of 1943, as a result of a study made by the British of the reasons for the high degree of accuracy among the American gunners in our American B-17 Flying Fortresses and also Army Air Corps fighter pilots, it was decided by the British to follow the American system used in training to improve marksmanship against flying targets. Therefore, large additional quantities of targets were called for by the Ordnance Department for export to Great Britain.

The capacity of the target making industry was entirely inadequate to take care of these new demands and the U.S. Army Ordnance Department requested Remington’s assistance in carrying out an expansion program. In a telephone conversation on August 18, 1943 between Lt. Col. W. Mohun of the Ordnance Department and Donald F. Carpenter of Remington, the gunmaker advised that they would be glad to furnish “know-how” or licenses on patents to other concerns that might be asked to produce targets. On August 25th and 26th, representatives of twenty-six small manufacturing concerns came to Findlay, Ohio at the Army’s request, to secure information on the manufacture of clay targets. After thorough discussions over a two day period, during which time Remington gave all information on costs and process to those of the group who requested such detail, the Ordnance Department selected five companies as new sources of supply. Remington continued to cooperate with the Ordnance Department in helping to establish this additional production of clay targets for the war effort.

  Price Problems in 1943

Among the problems arising at that time was the matter of the OPA ceiling price on targets. The selling prices of sporting goods generally (including targets) had been frozen the previous year. Meanwhile, manufacturing costs had increased sharply due chiefly to higher wage rates and material prices* so that in order to enlist new suppliers it was necessary for the Ordnance Department to request the OPA to waive the ceiling price on clay targets. In September 1943, Remington called the attention of the Ordnance Department to the fact that its operations at Findlay were being conducted at a loss, and since the OPA’s waiver of ceiling prices extended only until December 31, 1943, the company in November filed a formal appeal for relief. Subsequently, the situation was worked out by OPA action under which the company’s production for the U. S. Government was, in effect, “de-controlled.”. In February 1944, Remington’s appeal was withdrawn at the OPA’s’ request.
Some examples

  • 62% increase in the price of single cartons of clay targets from January 1940 through 1942.
  • 77% increase in the price of double cartons for the same period.
  • The price of pitch increased from $10.61 per ton in December 1940, to $13.80 per ton in August 1943 – a 30% increase.
  • The price of coal increased from $1.75 per ton in December, 1939, to $2.40 per ton in November 1942 – a 37% increase.
  • Paint increased $.22 per gallon between December 1941 and March 1942.
  • The average base rate per hour of wage roll employees increased approximately 60% during period 1940 – 1943.

Page 28 2nd Quarter 2009

The outcome of several conferences on this subject
was that Remington agreed to install a third target line at
Findlay, with the U.S. Government to furnish the necessary
equipment. The company as given a Letter Purchase Order on
August 22nd, authorizing the proposed installation and
requesting an estimate of the cost. This estimae was submitted
and approved on September 22nd. Remington pointed out at that
time that the estimate of a $72,600 total cost was based on
preliminary engineering and planning and on tentative esti-
mates furnished by prospective sub-contractors, and that
assistance would be required in obtaining labor for the addi-
tional line operation at Findlay, and that a priority better than
AA3 would be necessary to assure the start of production in
six months… by February 22, 1945.

Actually, the purchase orders for equipment were
assigned only an AA3 priority and efforts to obtain a higher
rating were not successful. Of the six pieces of major equip-
ment, therefore, two were delivered in January, three in Febru-
ary, and one in March 1945.

After several firms declined to bid on the construction
work on a lump-sum basis, the invitations were prepared on a
fixed-fee basis, and on December 20, 1944, a contract was
awarded to the A. Bentley and Sons Company, of Toledo, Ohio.
By March 14, 1945, construction work was sufficiently complete
to enable trial production runs, and on March 16th, the first
acceptable targets were manufactured. To overcome delays in
“receipt of certain equipment and make possible the beginning
of actual manufacture, Remington borrowed five electric motors
from its other plants.


The entire expan-
sion program was
carried out without
interfering with the
plant’s scheduled
production from
existing facilities – a
difficult accomplish-
ment. The actual
cost, as reported
March 31, 1945, was
as follows:
estimated actual
$46,100 39,675
Engineering and
estimated actual
$26, 500 $25,685


Prior to the war,
Findlay’s highest
annual production of
clay targets was

37,668,000 in 1939. By operating around-the-clock in an effort to
meet the Government’s urgent requirements, the plant reached-
an output of 73,438,000 targets in 1944, with no additional
facilities. Peak employment was about 100 men and women.
Ever since Remington had acquired the plant in 1933,
the employes had maintained a perfect “no lost time” accident
record. In spite of the tremendous increase in production
requiring a three-shift operation and an influx of new and
inexperienced workers, this per.fect safety record was contin-
ued throughout the war.
On August 5, 1944, the Army-Navy “E” for excellence
in war production was awarded the employes at Findlay and
was presented in ceremonies held on August 31st. An addi-
tional “white star” award was presented on March 31, 1945.
Late in April 1945, the Ordnance Department advised
that scheduled production for May and
subsequent months would be reduced from 7,500,000 to
6,000,000 targets. As a result of the reduced requirements the
plant was reduced to a two-shift basis on May 14, 1945.
On July 23rd, the U.S. Government cancelled all target
contracts, effective July 31st. This action brought to an end the
plant’s war-time production program which resulted in a total
production of 204,000,000 targets and 6,700 traps.

Page 29 2nd Quarter 2009


1933 Remington purchases the Chamberlain Target and Cartridge Company, Findlay, Ohio.
1939 Largest pre-war annual production of targets – 37,688,000
1940 November 30th First U. S. Government order for targets placed by the Army Ordnance Department.
  December 14th First order for targets placed by the U.S. Navy.
1941 December 7th Pearl Harbor attacked.
1942 July Target production is on e. 3-shift, 6-day a week basis.
  August 17th Contract signed with United Construction Works, C.I.O. Local 359. UMWA shortly after left
the C.I.O. and became independent. In 1946 the UMKA went with the AF of L.
1943 January Beginning this month the plant’s production is confined almost entirely to Government orders
for targets and traps.
  March Additional orders for skeet outfits and traps from Rock Island Arsenal and from the U.S. Navy.
  August 16th Remington offers to assist the Ordnance Department in expanding the clay target industry by
establishing additional target manufacturing facilities.
  August 25th Ordnance advises it has requested OPA to waive the ceiling price on targets in order to enlist
new suppliers.
  August 25th At the invitation of the Ordnance Department and Small War Plants Corporation,
representatives of 26 small manufacturing concerns visit Findlay to get information on target
  September 3rd Remington calls Ordnance Department’s attention to the severe disadvantage under which the
company is producing targets at Findlay due to OPA price ceilings. Operations are being
conducted at a loss.
  September 4th Major F. M. Vo1berg states that the Ordnance Department has decided to finance fi ve new
target plants in the mid-west, each to be equipped with eight hand presses, with a hope of
getting into production in November. He expresses appreciation for Remington’s continued
  September 6th OPA waives the ceiling price on targets sold to U. S. Government until January 1, 1944.
  November 22th Remington files an appeal with OPA for relief from existing ceiling price on targets. Withdrawn
on February 7, 1944, at OPA’s request, in view of action referred to below, January 6, 1944.
  November Targets are put on the “critical list” by the Ordnance Department.
  December 31st Total production of targets for 1943 is 63,868,235.
1944 January 5th OPA extends relief from ceiling price on targets manufactured for the Government until April l,
1944. The exemption period was further extended on March 10, 1944, to July 1, 1944, and on
July 4, 1944, to July 1, 1945. After that date the price ceiling on targets was removed.
  July 28th Lt. Col. W. W. Mohun requests Remington to consider increasing Findlay target capacity by at
least 50.
  August 5th Findlay employees receive the Army-Navy “E” award.
  August 22nd Letter Purchase Order authorizes Remington to proceed with installation of a third target line at
Findlay and requests a cost estimate covering the facilities, to be furnished by the
Government, and Engineering and Make-Ready.
  September 22nd Estimate is submitted to the Cleveland Ordnance District – total cost $72,600. Estimate is
  December 20th Construction contract awarded after several firms declined to bid on a lump-sum basis for the
work and new bids were sought on a fixed-fee basis.
1945 March The last piece of major equipment is delivered for the third target line. Late delivery due to an
inability to obtain better than AA3 priority.
1945 March 16th First targets are produced on the third line.
  April 5th The third target line goes to two shifts a day.
  April 23rd The third target line goes to three shifts a day.
  April 27th The Ordnance Department reduces the schedule for May from 7.5 million targets to 6 milli
targets, and monthly schedules for the balance of the year to not exceed the 6.5 million targets
a month basis.
  May 14th The Findlay Plant goes to a two-shift basis in view of reduced schedules.
  July 23rd The U.S. Government notifies Remington that all contracts for targets and traps are cancelled
as of July 31, 1945.

Page 30 2nd Quarter 2009

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