19 Iconic Products That America Doesn't Make Anymore Read more


Provided by the Business Insider November 1, 2010:

Another American icon has bit the dust: Pontiac.

GM is canceling the 84-year-old brand after winding down production over the past few years. Like other American automakers, it is restructuring and rebranding to compete with foreign companies.

Pontiac joins a long list of iconic products that aren’t made anywhere in America.

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.

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: Oct. 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.

*We know there are other shirt manufacturers in America. They do not produce in large quantities or supply major brands.

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.”

Note: The Buy America Act requires government mass transportation spending to use American products.

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.

Note: The Buy America Act requires government mass transportation spending to use American products.

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: Oct. 2004

Five Rivers Electronic Innovations was the last American owned TV color 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.

After studying the websites of cell phone companies, we could not identify a single phone that was not manufactured primarily overseas.

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 are 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.

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, said analyst Ashok Kumar.

Canned sardines

Last production date: April 2010

Stinson Seafood plant, the last sardine cannery in Maine and the U.S., shut down in April. 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 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: Sept. 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.

Note: A reader pointed out that the Osram/Sylvania Plant in St. Mary’s, Penn. is still producing light bulbs to fill old and international contracts. However, the plant has announced plans to wind down incandescent production.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: