Apple, educational toys, denim, and baseball all scream all-American to people in and outside of the country. They are popular items that are synonymous with America and the lifestyle of the people. But you may be surprised how many popular bands that might seem like they are made in America are actually manufactured overseas.
How can a major league baseball be made anywhere else but the States? Well, they’re actually produced in a central Costa Rican town. How about American Girl dolls? American is literally in the name of the product, yet, they’re made in China. Keep scrolling to learn about some iconic all-American brands that are actually made abroad.
Chuck Taylor All Star
In the 1960s and 1970s, Chuck Taylor All Star’s were the go-to sneaker for basketball players. They were even worn by celebrities like The Rolling Stones and Kurt Cobain. But once other styles hit the shelves, Chuck Taylor’s were thrown aside, and in 2001 they went bankrupt.
Nike then purchased the brand in 2003. All production was swiftly moved overseas to Indonesia, where production and labor costs are much cheaper than in the United States. Chuck Taylor’s then made a come back in the 90s and early 2000s when punk bands were becoming popular in mainstream music. The ‘American brand’ continues to be produced overseas.
Ray-Bans are known to be one of the most popular sunglass brands. While this all-American line of luxury eye-wear is famous among celebrities and normal folk alike, the company is not actually based in America. While the brand was formed in 1936 by Bausch & Lomb, an American company, it was sold in 1999.
The once American based sunglass brand went from being produced in New York to being sold for $640 million to Luxottica Group, an Italian company. The wayfarer and Aviator sunglasses are now manufactured out of Milan, Italy, as well as China. American-made Ray-Bans are now considered vintage!
American Girl Dolls
American Girl Dolls were released back in 1986 by Pleasant Company. The dolls were a variety of ethnicities, social classes, religions, as well as from different time periods. Since their release, the toys have been deemed a high-end collector’s item, with many leaving the American Girls in their original boxing.
It wasn’t until 1998 that Pleasant Company became a subsidiary of Mattel, a multinational entertainment and toy manufacturing company. With the merger, American Girl dolls were produced overseas in China, as are many of Mattel’s products. American Girl’s director of public relations, Julie Parks, says, “The majority of the world’s toys are made in China, and we are no exception.”
While New Balance is known to be a brand of all-American athletic gear, it is not actually made in the United States. The company is a private firm that was founded in 1906 and is based out of Boston, Massachusetts.
And although its headquarters are in the US and some products are made here, the majority are manufactured overseas in Asia. If you have your heart set on New Balance shoes ‘Made in America,’ just keep in mind that the price tag is going to be much higher than those made in Asia.
Monopoly Game Pieces
Monopoly is a popular board game among Americans and is best known for starting arguments among friends. The game can be traced back to 1903 when it was originally used as an educational tool to explain the dangers of monopolies. It was published in its existing version by the Parker Brothers in 1935, an American toy company.
It wasn’t until 1991 when Hasbro absorbed the company, that Monopoly pieces began to be manufactured abroad. Today, the game pieces, as well as the plastic houses and hotels, are made in Ireland.
The American flag is one of the national symbols of the country, having a majority of people believe that it is produced in the United States. While that is an educated guess with sound reasoning, the flag is actually manufactured outside of the country.
The thirteen stripes and 50 stars on the flag are put together overseas in China. This is because it is a lot cheaper to mass-produce products than in America. Considering most families have at least one flag, it makes more sense to go to another country for production.
The Fender Stratocaster guitar is a popular instrument made more famous due to its use by American rock legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Buddy Holly. The model of the electric guitar was completed in 1954 and has become the most-often mirrored guitar shape.
While the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation is based in America, the majority of its products are made in Mexico. This is due to pricing and affordability. A standard guitar can run around $599, while an American version will be upwards to $2,000.
The Barbie doll swept the nation when it first hit the shelves in 1959. The doll portrayed the ‘perfect couple’ with Barbie and Ken, her male counter-part. It’s said that this Mattel toy transformed the business, allowing for related merchandise, such as friends of Barbie, Barbie’s Dream House, as well as other clothing and accessories.
Although this doll has been popular in America since the late 50s, it is made virtually everywhere but the United States, like most Mattel toys. During the first ten or so years, Barbie was made in Japan. Then, they were produced in Mexico and Hong Kong.
Beats By Dre
Beats By Dre was founded in 2006 by producer and rapper Dr. Dre as well as Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Love. The line consists of speakers and headphones, the majority being wireless. In 2014, Apple Inc. bought the company for three billion, the largest transaction in the smart electronics company history!
And while Beats is headquartered are in California, they are not made in the US. Once upon a time, the product was developed in-house, but after Apple acquired the company, all manufacturing was moved overseas.
Gerber Baby Food
Gerber Baby food is the all-American food for little ones of the country that gained national recognition in the late 1920s. The food is known for the cherub-cheeked infant on the products, a face that was selected from various painting and sketching submissions to the Fermont Canning Company, later re-named Gerber Products Company in 1941. They wanted to find a face that would best represent the product.
Today, the company is part of the Nestle franchise, a Swiss company best known for its chocolate products. Gerber Products Company sold the rights to its line of baby foods for $5.5 billion! So, everything is now produced in Switzerland.
Major League Baseballs
Baseball is considered to be the national sport of the United States. So there are probably more than a few people who believe the equipment for the sport is all made in the USA. Plot twist: major league baseballs, specifically Rawling baseballs, are not made in the States.
There is only one factory in the world that is authorized to produce the MLB ball, and it is located in central Costa Rica. The materials are imported from the United States to Costa Rica, where they are hand-stitched – as an automated process has never been successful.
L.L. Bean is an American retail company that prides itself on being ‘American.’ The company was founded back in 1912 in Freeport, Maine, USA, and specializes in outdoor apparel and equipment. Many of the products are manufactured in its founding town in Maine, such as the popular L.L. Bean Boots and canvas boat and tote bags.
But that doesn’t mean all of its merchandise is produced in-house. In 2017, it was revealed that some of the products from the highly-trusted chain were actually produced in China. The ‘secret’ didn’t board well with many Americans.
Levi Strauss & Co.
Nothing says America quite like a good pair of denim pants, shorts, or a jacket. The company Levi Strauss was founded in 1853 in San Fransico, California, and is considered one of the most all-American denim brands on the market.
While the headquarters are still based in California, only one style of denim is made in the States, in Texas using fabrics from North Carolina. All of the other Levi products are made in various countries around the world. Typically, the jeans are produced in Latin America, Haiti, as well as all across Asia.
Radio Flyer Wagon
Radio Flyer is a toy company that is known for its red wagon, although they make other products such as tricycles, bicycles, and scooters. It’s hard to go to an American BBQ and not see at least two of the four-wheeled wagons stationed at a picnic site. While the outdoor toys had been manufactured in its founding town of Chicago, Illinois, it has since taken its products overseas.
Now, Radio Wagon toys are made in China. According to a 2018 Forbes article, two-thirds of the company’s merchandise is made in China while the rest is produced in Wisconsin.
The Ram 1500 is arguably one of the more popular pick-up trucks in America. It’s considered family-friendly and has been awarded a Consumer Best Buy for 12 years running. Even though this truck is considered to be an all-American vehicle, it’s actually not manufactured in America, but rather, south of the border.
These pick-ups were originally manufactured in Warren, Michigan, but are now built in Sterling Heights, Michigan. And, since 1995 and NAFTA, others are put together at FCA’s Saltillo Assembly Plant in Coahuila, Mexico.
The Ford Fusion is a mid-size sedan manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. Although the company has been around since 1903, the Fusion was not put on the market until 2006. The car is known to be an all-American family vehicle that is eco-friendly. The thing is, this best-selling car isn’t produced in the United States.
The Fusion is manufactured at the Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly plant in Sonora, Mexico. Even though this car is vastly popular, Ford announced in 2018 that they were planning on discontinuing the model in a few years.
iPhones and iPads
Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad are such a staple in America that it is hard to believe the products would be made anywhere else but state-side. Macintosh products were advertised as Made in America until the 1990s; now, they’re mostly all made in China.
According to a New York Times article, “It isn’t just that workers are cheaper abroad. Rather, Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories, as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers, have so outpaced their American counterparts that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.”
The razor company Gillette is well-known in America. It is even the name of the stadium where the New England Patriots play football. The personal care instrument has been on the market since 1901 when King C. Gillette founded the company. According to truthinadvertising.com, Gillette has been making claims that their products are made in the USA, when, in fact, they’re manufactured overseas.
The site states, “Most of these products are entirely made in foreign countries, such as China, Poland, Brazil, and Mexico, while others contain non-U.S. components.” Since the company received a formal warning regarding their advertising, they have taken down multiple ‘deceptive origin’ social media posts.
Fisher-Price is an educational toy company that was founded in 1930 by Herman Fisher, Irving Price, Margaret Evan Price, and Helen Schelle. Although this company is known by a majority of Americans as one of the predominant toy manufacturers, the products are not made in the USA.
The company is headquartered in East Aurora, New York, but its merchandise is produced overseas in China. The switch over to international manufacturing occurred in 1993 when Fisher-Price merged with Mattel, a company that is known for its overseas ventures.
Under Armour is one of the more popular brands utilized by athletes, considering they specialize in gear as well as casual apparel. Although this brand is often regarded as an all-American company, they have multiple offices around the world, and its products are produced mainly outside of the United States.
Offices range from the global headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland, to across the pond in London. Under Armour merchandise is produced in Central and South America, Asia, and Mexico, as it is cheaper to mass produce the athletic gear.