We are frequently asked why we do not put the country of origin of all tools in the catalog description. Right now, we note only those that are made in the U.S. or Canada. Occasionally, we will mention other countries of origin when it is significant to the tool. A good example is the set of Chinese scissors we sell; they have been made by the same process and to the same style for the last 300 years in China. This is relevant information.

But for most products, the country of origin is not as closely related to the style of the product, and, much more important, is often impossible to determine. A few examples will make this clearer.

There is one factory in France that keeps a stock of marking dies of a wide range of countries so that they might stamp a product with a country of origin that the buyer wants. This practice began when reduced control within the European common market made it possible. The day we were in the plant, they were producing a line for a German company and cheerfully stamping every one "Made in Germany". They asked if we would like to have ours stamped "Made in Canada". We declined.

Some years ago, when plug cutters first started coming in from China, someone noted that a line coming out of Austria had all the machining idiosyncrasies of the ones coming out of China. A spectroanalysis of the steel (a form of metallurgical fingerprinting) showed that the alloys were exactly identical, indicating that it was almost certain that they were made from the same batch of raw material. Given the other matching features, it also indicated that they were being made in the same factory. Either the Chinese were buying theirs from Europe or the Europeans were buying theirs from China and remarking them. You can imagine which was the case.

For some years now, it has been impossible to correctly identify country of origin of goods coming out of Asia. Often "Made in Taiwan" and "Made in Hong Kong" really meant "Made in China".

Very seldom do you see this sort of mis-marking in North America and it is for this reason (plus the fact that buyers want to know which products are domestic) that we regularly note only these countries of origin in our catalog copy.

– L.L.
04/98


 

 
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