Ordnance is the catch-all name for military material, such as weapons, combat vehicles, ammunition, and equipment. In 1886, the Washington Navy Yard was designated the manufacturing center for all ordnance in the Navy. At the turn of the 20th Century, ordnance production included the manufacture of armament for the Great White Fleet and the World War I Navy, including the 14-inch railway guns used in France. By World War II, the Navy Yard was the largest naval ordnance plant in the world. Ordnance designed and produced here was used in every war combat vehicles, in which the United States fought until the 1960s. Everything from small components for optical systems to enormous 16-inch battleship guns and 26-inch air guns were all manufactured here. In December 1945, the Washington Navy Yard was renamed the U.S. Naval Gun Factory. Ordnance work continued for some years after World War II before these operations were phased out in 1961.
An inspector in the photograph here examines small caliber cartridge cases before they are sent on to the next stage of production.