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1950s – Unparalleled Growth

After the War, Americans were starting families and building houses. The company was
growing too to meet demand. It added sales staff to cover the country along with a rigorous sales training program headed by Tom Fallen in Buffalo.

National Gypsum found and developed a gypsum deposit in Shoals, IN, and built a new plant. It also built wallboard plants at Medicine Lodge, KS; Burlington, NJ; Westwego, LA; Waukegan, IL; Lorain, OH, and paper plants at Pryor, OK, and Anniston, AL. It opened the Halifax quarry and dock as well as the Tawas quarry and dock. To top it off, the company purchased tile companies and formed American Olean and purchased the Huron Cement Company.

"Ten percent of our population is now in uniform. When the war is over, they're going to want homes – we need to prepare for maximum production." -- Melvin H. Baker

The company established an employee stock purchase plan. It contributed 15 cents for each dollar any employee contributed to buy National Gypsum stock at market prices. Twenty percent of the employees became stockholders.

Company began the conversion to computers and a special room was constructed in the basement of the Buffalo Headquarters to house the equipment. IBM technicians reported every morning as if they were company employees. Up to that time, everything was created manually.

Company developed the flash calcination process to drive off water from the ground gypsum ore in a continuous process. This process replaced the conventional batch kettle process.

New lime plant – Gibsonburg, OH

Under military contracts, opened and managed two bomb plants – Parsons, KS and Wahoo, NE. These operated until 1969.

Built wallboard plant at Medicine Lodge, KS.

Pryor, OK, paper plant – constructed -- $5 million

 

A rigorous sales training program was established at the Buffalo Office for everyone in the Sales organization. Training was an annual regimen and was headed by Tom Fallon.

 

Research & Development constructed -- $545,000 Tonawanda, NY – near Buffalo

 

June 30 – Shoals – Constructed -- $8 million
December 31 – Halifax Quarry & Dock – Constructed -- $6.8 million

 

April 30 -- Westwego – Constructed -- $6.4 million
July 31 – Burlington – Constructed -- $8.7 million
August 1 – Second bulk carrier – Melvin H. Baker (did not take the name Melvin H. Baker II) was commissioned. It featured automatic self-loading conveyors.

 

September 30 – Anniston – Constructed -- $7.3 million

June 30 – Tawas Dock & Quarry – Constructed -- $7.1 million, six miles from Lake Huron; four miles from the National City Plant

National Gypsum purchases The Olean Tile Company and combined it with two other companies to form American Olean Tile. This gave the company 15% of the tile market.

May 31 – Waukegan – Constructed -- $7.3 million.

Company purchases Huron Portland Cement Company for one million shares of National Gypsum stock. Huron had the country's largest cement plant, located at Alpena, Michigan.

March 30 – Lorain – Constructed -- $7.2 million.

 


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