Holston Ordinance Works Newsletters, 1952-1954


Title: Holston Ordinance Works Newsletters

Collection Number: Kingsport Community Manuscript Collection (KCMC) 432

Physical Description: 1 folder

Creator: Unknown

Repository: Archives of the City of Kingsport



Provenance: The provenance of the collection is unknown, the materials were found in the archives in April 2009.

Access/Restrictions: There are no restrictions on use of this collection for research purposes. The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Processed by: This collection was processed by Brianne Wright and opened for research in April 2009.



This collection should be cited as:

Holton Ordinance Works Newsletters, 1952-1954. KC Manuscript Collection 432, Archives of the City of Kingsport, Tennessee.



Holston Ordnance Works (HOW) sprawled over 6,000 acres along the HolstonRiver in Sullivan and HawkinsCounties around Kingsport, manufactured a powerful explosive for the military during World War II. Construction of the munitions plant, at an original estimated cost of almost $77 million, began in 1942 and was not completely finished until January 1944. Managed by Tennessee Eastman Company (TEC), the Holston works produced Composition B, a highly explosive amalgamation of RDX (cyclonite, or Research Development Explosive) and TNT (trinitrotoluene), which was used by the Allies in detonators and as an ingredient for bursting charges in bombs and projectiles. RDX was too sensitive to be used alone and the combination with TNT created a more stable substance.

Holston Ordnance Works was fully operational by mid-1943 and the following year became the largest maker of high explosives in the world. At its peak, HOW employed nearly seven thousand people, 40 percent of them women. In 1943 TEC and HOW were awarded the coveted Army-Navy “E” for their contributions to the war effort. Employee morale was high at the Holston works, and the facility recorded only three work-related deaths between 1942 and 1945, none of them due to explosives.


***Information obtained from the Tennessee Encyclopedia entry on Holston Ordinance Works by Susan L. Gordon.



The collection contains 10 issues of newsletters produced by Holston Ordinance Works. The first edition in the collection was named “Here’s How.” It appears that in 1953 the newsletter changed its name to “Holston Highlights.”



a. December 1952

b. June 25, 1953

c. July 9, 1953

d. August 20, 1953

e. September 10, 1953

f. February 4, 1954

g. February 18, 1954

h. June 25, 1953

i. July 9, 1953

j. February 18, 1954