American Products: Famous, But Offshored

I found this list in an email sent to me by Anika Anand and Gus Lubin, but it seems they did not originate it either. Whoever assembled this list, it is really frightening to realize that the US manufactures almost nothing anymore. Why not? It appears that successive legislatures as well as individuals have all agreed on ONE OVER-RIDING PRINCIPAL: PROFIT UBER ALLES. Profit comes before anything.
As for the rest of us, each closing has been well-publicized, each briefly mourned. But, finally each little wound has managed to bring  the colossus down to its knees where we are now.

Here are 18 Iconic Products That America Doesn’t Make Anymore:

Rawlings baseballs:Last production date: 1969.
Rawlings is the official supplier of baseballs to Major League Baseball. The St. Louis
shop was founded in 1887 by George and Alfred Rawlings. In 1969 the brothers moved the
baseball-manufacturing plant from Puerto Rico to Haiti and then later to Costa Rica.
Etch a Sketch: Last production date: 2000.
Etch A Sketch, an iconic American toy since the 1960s, used to be produced in Bryan,
Ohio, a small town of 8,000. Then in Dec. 2000, toymaker Ohio Art decided to move
production to Shenzhen, China.
Converse shoes: Last production date: 2001.
Marquis M. Converse opened Converse Rubber Show Company in Massachusetts in 1908.
Chuck Taylors- named after All- American high school basketball player Chuck Taylor- began
selling in 1918 as the show eventually produced an industry record of over 550 million pairs by
1997. But in 2001 sales were on the decline and the U.S. factory closed. Now
Chuck Taylors are made in Indonesia.
Stainless steel rebar: Last production date: circa 2001.
Many forms of this basic steel product are not available domestically. Multiple waivers
to the Buy America Act have allowed purchase of rebar internationally.
Note: The Buy America Act requires government mass transportation spending to use American
products.
Dress shirts*: Last production date: 2002 .
The last major shirt factory in America closed in October 2002, according to NYT.
C.F. Hathaway’s Maine factory had been producing shirts since 1837.
*Other shirt makers are still producing in the U.S., but only in very small quantities.
Mattel toys: Last production date: 2002.
The largest toy company in the world closed their last American factory in 2002. Mattel,
headquartered in California, produces 65 percent of their products in China as of August, 2007.
Minivans: Last production date: circa 2003.
A waiver to the Buy America Act permitted an American producer of wheel-chair accessible minivans
to purchase Canadian chassis for use in government contracts, because no chassis were available from
the United States. The waiver specified: “General Motors and Chrysler minivan chassis, including those
used on the Chevrolet Uplander, Pontiac Montana, Buick Terraza, Saturn Relay, Chrysler Town & Country,
and Dodge Grand Caravan, are no longer manufactured in the United States.”
Vending machines: Last production date: circa 2003.
You know that thing you put bills into on a vending machine? It isn’t made in America, according to a
waiver to the Buy America Act. Neither is the coin dispenser, according to this federal waiver.
Levi jeans: Last production date: Dec. 2003.
Levi Strauss & Co. shut down all its American operations and outsourced  production to Latin America and Asia in Dec.
2003. The company’s denim products have been an iconic American product for 150 years.
Radio Flyer’s Red Wagon: Last production date: March, 2004.
The little red wagon has been an iconic image of America for years. But once Radio Flyer decided its Chicago plant was
too expensive, it began producing most products, including the red wagon, in China.
Televisions: Last production date: October, 2004.
Five Rivers Electronic Innovations was the last American-owned  color TV maker in the US. The Tennessee company used LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) technology to produce televisions for Philips Electronics. But after Philips decided to stop
selling TVs with LCoS, Five  Rivers eventually filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Oct. 2004. As part of its reorganization plan, the company stopped manufacturing  TVs. Now there are ZERO televisions made in America, according to Business Week.
Cell phones: Last production date: circa 2007.
Of the 1.2 billion cell phones sold worldwide in 2008, NOT ONE was made in America, according to Manufacturing & Technology publisher Richard McCormick.
Railroads: (parts including manganese turnout castings, U69 guard bars, LV braces and weld
kits):
Last production date: circa 2008.
Here’s another standout from dozens of waivers to the Buy America Act: railroad turnouts and weld kits.
Manganese turnout castings used to widen railroad tracks, and they were used to build our once-great railroad system. U69 guard bars, LV braces and Weld Kits, along with 22 mm Industrial steel chain are  basic items that were certifiably not available in the US.
Note: The Buy America Act requires government mass transportation spending to use American
products.

Meanwhile, plenty of beer is still made here, but many of America’s most-iconic
beer brands, including Miller, Coors, and Budweiser, are owned by foreign
companies. In 2008, Anheuser-Busch, the St. Louis-based company that has a
nearly 50 percent market share in the U.S., was sold to InBev, a Belgium-based
conglomerate run by Brazilian executives. In the accompanying video, Julie
McIntosh, author of
Dethroning the King: The Hostile
Takeover of Anheuser-Busch, an American Icon,
discusses the deal with Yahoo! Finance economics editor Daniel
Gross.

Dell computers: Last production date: Jan. 2010.
In January 2010, Dell closed its North Carolina PC factory, its last large U.S. plant. Analysts
said Dell would be outsourcing work to Asian manufacturers in an attempt to catch up with the rest
of the industry.
Canned sardines: Last production date: April, 2010.
Stinson Seafood plant, the last sardine cannery in Maine and the U.S., shut down.  The first
U.S. sardine cannery opened in Maine in 1875, but since the demand for the small, oily fish
declined, more canneries closed shop.
Pontiac cars: Last production date: May, 2010
The last Pontiac was produced last May. The brand was formally killed on Halloween,
as GM contracts with Pontiac dealerships expired. The 84-year-old GM brand was famous for
muscle cars.
Forks, spoons, and knives: Last production date: June, 2010
The last flatware factory in the US closed last summer. Sherrill Manufacturing bought
Oneida Ltd. in 2005, but shut down its fork & knife operations due to the tough economy.
CEO Greg Owens says his company may resume production “when the general economic climate
improves and as Sherrill Manufacturing is able to put itself back on its feet
and recapitalize and regroup.”
Incandescent light bulb: Last production date: September, 2010
The incandescent light bulb (invented by Thomas Edison) has been phased out.
Our last major factory that made incandescent light bulbs closed in September 2010.
In 2007, Congress passed a measure that will ban incandescents by 2014, prompting
GE to close its domestic factory.


One thought on “American Products: Famous, But Offshored

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