During the latter part of the nineteenth century and up to the middle of the twentieth century the main industry in Pontardawe was steel and tinplate, with a number of steelworks and tinplate works exporting all over the world. None of the heavy industry remains; on the
site of the Alloy works there is now a small industrial estate of a number of small engineering firms, motor maintenance,
building supplies and a health centre for the area.
Attractions in the town include Swansea Canal and Pontardawe Arts Centre. The Cwmtawe rugby sevens competition attracts entries from far and wide. On a hill overlooking Pontardawe is the local golf course which has magnificent
views of the Brecon Beacons and Bristol Channel from the 16th hole. The old stone bridge was built by William Edwards of Pontypridd, a famous bridge builder. He also built the bridge at Pontypridd, which was the longest single-span bridge in the world when it was constructed, and the bridge at Cenarth in west Wales. He was also responsible for the design of Morriston in the Swansea valley for Morris, a local industrialist.