10 Things You Thought Were Made in America (but Aren't)
Baseball, apple pie, and hot dogs are almost synonymous with "American," but you may be surprised how many things that you think are "made in America" are actually manufactured overseas.
For example, let's start with baseballs. The official ball manufacturer for Major League Baseball is Rawlings, one of the sporting goods brands owned by Newell Brands (NYSE: NWL). Early on, it was an American-made product, but today Rawlings baseballs are shipped in from Costa Rica. At least the Louisville Slugger is still made in Kentucky.
Below are nine more items you might have thought were made in America, but really come from somewhere else.
1. American Girl and Barbie
Barbie is about as iconic of an American doll as you can find, and American Girl dolls, as their name suggests, focus on telling the stories of girls throughout American history. But owner Mattel (NASDAQ: MAT) hasn't had a U.S. manufacturing facility since 2002, and today both dolls are made in China (prior to being sold to Mattel, American Girl dolls were manufactured in Germany).
2. G.I. Joe
Just as quintessentially American as Barbie, Hasbro's (NASDAQ: HAS) G.I. Joe was the world's first action figure, and it originally represented the four branches of the U.S. military. Its name came from the movie about U.S. war correspondent Ernie Pyle, The Story of G.I. Joe. But like Mattel, the toymaker relies on manufacturing facilities in China, as well as India, for many of its toys -- including G.I. Joe.
The epitome of capitalist games, Monopoly has a rich history dating back to the early 1900s, though the version we play, with its Atlantic City-themed properties, is popularly credited to Charles Darrow. Parker Brothers bought the rights to it, but the company was subsequently acquired by Hasbro, and it manufactures the houses and hotels -- you know, the pieces that make your opponents go bankrupt and flip the board over in rage -- in Ireland.
4. Craftsman tools
Sears Holdings (NASDAQ: SHLD), owner of the self-named chain of mall anchor stores, sold the Craftsman tool line to Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE: SWK) earlier this year for $900 million. While these tools were long touted as being made in America, Craftsman tools are now made by One World Technologies, a China-based subsidiary of Techtronic Industries (NASDAQOTH: TTNDY), which Sears had to sue to make it keep producing the tools. Stanley, however, says it will move more of its Craftsman manufacturing back to the U.S.
5. Black & Decker tools
While Stanley Black & Decker does have several dozen U.S. manufacturing facilities, and the company notes it has "continuously manufactured in the U.S. since 1843," most of its tools are made in China. Black and Decker did recently announce it would be opening a new manufacturing plant in Texas as part of a broader plan to move more production back to the U.S.
6. Dell computers
Michael Dell may have started off making his namesake computers in his garage, but today Dell Technologies (NYSE: DVMT) produces them in China. The company closed its last U.S.-based factory in North Carolina in 2010 before shipping production overseas.
7. Levi's jeans
Although denim was originally made in Italy, Levi Strauss & Co.'s mass production of them in the late 1800s caused the cotton fabric -- and the Levi's name -- to become closely associated with the U.S. But in 2003, Levi Strauss closed down its U.S. manufacturing plants and moved production to China, Vietnam, Turkey, and other countries.
8. Radio Flyer wagons
The red wagon that went on to become the iconic Radio Flyer we know today was originally made in Chicago from wood, and it was called the Liberty Coaster in honor of the Statue of Liberty. Following the example of the auto industry, the company began making the wagons out of steel, and after the world's first transatlantic telegraph message was sent, and Charles Lindbergh flew nonstop to Paris, the wagons were rechristened Radio Flyers. Today, the little red wagons are made in China.
9. American flags
While there remain a number of U.S.-based flag manufacturers, the Census Bureau says we imported $5.4 million worth of stars and stripes last year, 98% of which came from China. As a side note, the Census Bureau also notes $27.8 million worth of flags were exported in 2016, with 94% of them going to Mexico.
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