1925 First Ammonia Made

The Belle, W.Va., plant was established in the West Virginia coal country as part of a post-World War I effort to produce ammonia. DuPont spent $27 million on a highly complex production facility with huge atmospheric compressors that was producing 25 tons of ammonia per day by 1926. Extremes of heat and pressure took a heavy toll on equipment and operating costs mounted. Although production reached 220 tons per day by 1929, it was another 10 years before Belle showed a profit.Show more

Belle’s high pressure ammonia technology yielded a host of collateral benefits. Methanol was manufactured on a small scale at first and then rapidly expanded to 1 million gallons a year. By 1935 Belle had become DuPont's largest facility. Its more than 80 different chemical products included the first synthetic urea used in fertilizers and plastics. In 1939 DuPont began producing nylon chemical intermediates at Belle, and by 1944 the plant was producing 30 million pounds of nylon salts a year. Expansion of nitrogen and nylon intermediate production at Belle continued after the war, and new product lines were introduced regularly. In 1969 Belle began producing Benlate, a highly effective fungicide. Belle produces products ranging from crop protection chemicals to Dymel® aerosol propellants.