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View Full Version : Quality of products sure has changed!



radkins
08-15-2015, 02:23 PM
I was installing brakes on an elderly neighbor's car and it was rather hot so I was sweating, noticing this he asked if I would like a fan? He then left to return with a box fan that immediately caught my eye, this thing must have weighed twenty pounds and looked kind of crude by today's standards but it was built like a tank! There was a metal GE tag riveted to the motor and not a piece of plastic in sight except for the switch knob which appeared to be well worn Bakelite (Spl ?), it ran flawlessly without any noticeable vibration and was very quite compared to the plastic POS sitting in my shop. I had to ask about this thing and found he and his wife bought it in 1959 at a local hardware store but he only laughed when I asked what it cost, he said he had no idea what the price was in dollars but it was probably rather expensive for the time. Anyway this thing has been used in their home every summer for 56 years and he said all they have done is to replace the cotton covered power cord and he had to, as he put it "oil the motor a few years ago"!

Sometimes there is a lot of truth to "they just don't make'm like that anymore"!

Daveb
08-15-2015, 02:33 PM
How would businesses survive if they only sold 1 fan/car/computer every 56 years? They don't WANT to make them like that anymore!

Frank K
08-15-2015, 02:38 PM
Well that's certainly true and if you're lucky maybe the neighbor will leave the fan to you when he passes. But just think about this: If that fan cost $25 in 1959 - a rather large but believable sum- it would cost $205 today. Would you pay that for a box fan? I certainly wouldn't. It's not just the greed of the manufacturers that have produced crap products, although it is a large contributor, but the fact that people just won't pay for quality products in our "don't fix it, toss it and buy new and better" society. Your neighbor hasn't had to replace that fan in 56 years. Imagine if cars were like that.

radkins
08-15-2015, 02:49 PM
I didn't intend to start a debate or to even say that things should not have changed, I just thought it interesting that quality was once expected but not any more. No need to educate me on why things are so different now as I am well aware of that and that was not the point, I just thought it nice to see quality built into even a common item that we just take for granted as disposable today, if you look at what I said I even mentioned that he said it was "rather expensive for the day".

J Tiers
08-15-2015, 02:52 PM
....It's not just the greed of the manufacturers that have produced crap products, although it is a large contributor, but the fact that people just won't pay for quality products in our "don't fix it, toss it and buy new and better" society. ...

And how did that come about?

Simple... Products became cheaper, partly because they were not MADE to be fixed.

Box fans of a past era had oilite journal bearings with a big oil-soaked pad, AND AN OIL HOLE. Later the exact same fan was made with NO OIL HOLE. Guess why.....? People USED the oil hole, and the fan lasted longer. No oil hole, fan fails faster, and only folks like me/us fix them by taking bolted-together motor apart, cleaning and re-oiling.

Later still, motor is pressed together, no screws, foiling even us fixit types...... If you CAN'T fix it, you have to scrap it.

radkins
08-15-2015, 02:59 PM
Guess I unintentionally opened up the proverbial "can-of-worms" but that could not be farther from my intent. I just thought someone might find this delightful old antique interesting and to remember how it once was done. There is no point in bashing anything or anyone as I think we all know why things are done differently today'

goose
08-15-2015, 03:13 PM
I think to an extent it's not quality but an example of cherry picking data. (Regardless of intentional or not intentional)
How many of those same fans shorted out when the cloth cord disintegrated? How many fell over and bent the blades and got tossed out? How many were deemed too dangerous for use around kids and were throw out? What you've got is a fan that sat around for decades in a residential environment and likely saw light, non-abusive use. You can do the same to many goods produced now.

Willy
08-15-2015, 03:17 PM
Yup, I have a mid 50's fridge in my shop that a friend was throwing out about 30 years ago.
It has been running faithfully every day since.
People tell me that such an old fridge can't be very efficient, I ask them how efficient is it bringing a 10 year old fridge to the dump.
The way I look at it this old thing has already saved me me 3 trips to the dump and to the store for a new one.

flylo
08-15-2015, 03:22 PM
I hate this "throw away society". Too bad the quality & pride era is about gone. Good dervice is on the way out too. Thanks for posting, I have a couple old GE desk fans still running well. Also have a 1928 GE fridge with the open coil on top, working great. Why was great quality bad?

J Tiers
08-15-2015, 03:23 PM
Oh, I think there actually IS a point.......

Who WOULD fix something today? Well, WE would..... Most people would not, because they do not know how. And of course because they are not "allowed to".

A product like the fan was made at a time when it was still considered good to make things last. Folks made an investment in a product, and they wanted it to last. They could replace the motor on many big box fans, because it was a standard motor with a pulley to drive the fan.

And, here's a point..... That fan, despite its clunky use of heavy materials, was a "green product".... made once, and has outlasted probably between 5 and 10 cheapo fans, which in total would weigh up to more steel etc than the old fan, clunky as it likely is. The materials did not need to be mined, converted, and put together in the last 56 years.... and when it DOES finally get past repair, it will probably be a lot more recyclable than the new fans which would otherwise have been bought and then junked when they stopped working.

The energy used to mine, convert etc the old fan is probably still more than what it used in energy over and above what the "newer, better" would have used. And they also needed energy to mine and convert etc materials into a fan, many more times.

Despite it's possible (but not certain) inefficiency vs new fans, it may well have saved energy overall vs the several cheap fans that would have replaced it.

I do agree, though about people and fixing.... I know of folks who sink 2 or 3 grand into a car, get it nearly fixed, and then balk at a minor couple hundred buck repair, as "the last straw'.... junking it and taking on more car payments for a new or newer car instead of paying a couple hundred to fix it.... When it was just about the last thing that was going to need fixed.

TGTool
08-15-2015, 03:49 PM
When I was in a machinist program 40 years ago, one of the videos they showed the class talked about modern manufacturing. It contrasted a local blacksmith in Africa making hoes with a progressive die and press making hundreds or thousands of parts an hour. The blacksmith could make maybe 20 or 30 a day. The speed of manufacturing allowed low cost products that people could afford which gave us the standard of living we happen to enjoy. If we had the same manufacturing of 56 years ago, with the attendant costs of those products in today's dollars, we simply wouldn't be able to afford and have all the STUFF we're surrounded with now.

Yes there's a trade-off. If we like the life we live, we accept that the products are made as low cost as possible. If our productivity were like that of the blacksmith, we couldn't afford more than what the blacksmith's house probably had in it - not much. A bed of lashed sticks, some straw mats, a couple blankets and several cloths, half a dozen cooking pots, a kerosene lantern and a flashlight that you saved the batteries on etc. We could actually live like that since millions around the world still do, but we probably wouldn't like it. That blacksmith probably wanted to move to a city, try to earn more money and live in a house with a tin roof, glass in the windows, electric lights in every room and a radio.

radkins
08-15-2015, 03:50 PM
I guess I am one of those who sees potential where a lot of others see trash, I guess I could be considered a "connoisseur of fine junk", but I have perfectly good examples I use everyday. Some of my farm equipment I actually bought from the scrap metal dealer but before anyone laughs I have gotten some very flattering comments on my fine old recycled junk! Sure I have a lot of time, sweat and effort under that fresh paint BUT this is time I enjoyed and it beats the dickens out of wasting one's life staring at an idiotic TV show!


BTW, I am old enough to well remember the era when that fan was sold new but at the time I had the same things on my mind as other 12 and 14 year old school kids, product quality was not one of them.

RB211
08-15-2015, 04:32 PM
I don't know about you all, but one of the reasons why I have a home machine shop is so I can build and fix things to the quality level I desire. Man, any of us could build a box fan, with tapered roller bearings, a 3 phase motor driving it, speed control via a VFD, make it visible on the internet, and control it via our smart phone. Just saying...

radkins
08-15-2015, 04:40 PM
When I was in a machinist program 40 years ago, one of the videos they showed the class talked about modern manufacturing. It contrasted a local blacksmith in Africa making hoes with a progressive die and press making hundreds or thousands of parts an hour. The blacksmith could make maybe 20 or 30 a day. The speed of manufacturing allowed low cost products that people could afford which gave us the standard of living we happen to enjoy. If we had the same manufacturing of 56 years ago, with the attendant costs of those products in today's dollars, we simply wouldn't be able to afford and have all the STUFF we're surrounded with now.

Yes there's a trade-off. If we like the life we live, we accept that the products are made as low cost as possible. If our productivity were like that of the blacksmith, we couldn't afford more than what the blacksmith's house probably had in it - not much. A bed of lashed sticks, some straw mats, a couple blankets and several cloths, half a dozen cooking pots, a kerosene lantern and a flashlight that you saved the batteries on etc. We could actually live like that since millions around the world still do, but we probably wouldn't like it. That blacksmith probably wanted to move to a city, try to earn more money and live in a house with a tin roof, glass in the windows, electric lights in every room and a radio.

Nor did anyone suggest differently, as I attempted to explain later the post was about a nostalgic old antique and was not an attempt to say methods were better back then nor that things should still be the same today!

Rich Carlstedt
08-15-2015, 05:17 PM
Lots of reasons for change.
Planned obsolescence is a real thing, but is not necessarily bad or a fault !
Lets look at that Fan that the OP mentioned as an example
Say the fan sold for 200 dollars ( in today's dollars)
The manufacturer is concerned about competition's fan which sells for 179.99 ( foreign ?) which has cheaper labor and also maybe raw material.
His motors were superb, but the foundry was shut down by the EPA, so he has to use a lighter weight motor without castings
The motor must also meet the " new" energy guidelines of the Energy Department and that means a redesign.
So for no fault or desire of his own, the newer fans must be lower in raw material costs and alternative design .
Then his design engineer tells him the future energy designs ill require even more change, so the manufacturer decides to
lessen the life, since the fan would not meet future energy guidelines anyway and would be replaced by the consumer.
For example, here is a US Government quote for AC units:
" Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, you may save 20% to 40% of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model."

So the manufacturer has to be concerned about (1) Sales -too high and no business (2) Competition, foreign and domestic (3)Government regulations, present and future(4) Labor Costs , (5) Raw Material cost and availability (6) General product improvement and change.

So if you "assume" that new products are not as good as old products, do yourself a favor and realize or at least appreciate all the factors that are involved with the evolution of goods. They are not all number 6 , and do not mean that the maker wants to screw the customer.

There is a economic theory that the cheaper a product is, the greater the sales potential, and more can share
If you applied it to houses for example, its the reason we have wood frame homes.
If everyone had to live in a Brick/stone house, home sales would diminish and perhaps 60 % of us could not own a home.
I stayed at a stone house when i visited England that was built in 1300. I doubt the average person could have afforded this back then.

Rich

JoeFin
08-15-2015, 05:26 PM
"Short Term Solutions with Long Term Consequences"


This is what has driven American Manufacturing and much of the American Economy into the hole we are now. Sure the CEO and the rest of his cronies on the board receive a hefty bonus based on that particular quarter's profits but all too often those same decisions ultimately lead to the company's down fall. Such as we saw in the banking community with the economic down turn in 2007.

But from a different angle -

The better made product should be considered a "Green Product" because it won't have to be replaced every 2 years. The carbon emissions won't be regenerated every 2 years as well.

Rosco-P
08-15-2015, 05:50 PM
We're polluting just as much or even more since most of the crap we buy doesn't last and doesn't get recycled because it's composed of so many different types of plastic. Pollution from manufacturing is probably just as high, it just isn't happening on the US or UK shores.

Rich Carlstedt
08-15-2015, 07:22 PM
Sorry Joe and Rosco, blaming CEO pay, plastic pollution and short term solutions just (all old hat) doesn't cut it !
If these were so, then tell me why you don't buy all B & S or Starrett inspection tools, or Aloris tool holders.
It seems all we see on this board are imports discussed and guys looking to skin a fat cat ?
The customers determine the quality..if it's poor, don't buy it !
Put the blame where it belongs

Rich

wierdscience
08-15-2015, 07:44 PM
I don't know about you all, but one of the reasons why I have a home machine shop is so I can build and fix things to the quality level I desire. Man, any of us could build a box fan, with tapered roller bearings, a 3 phase motor driving it, speed control via a VFD, make it visible on the internet, and control it via our smart phone. Just saying...

I have actually thought about building shop fans and selling them.A "good" I mean commercial grade 36" box fan is north of $600 these days and even those aren't that high quality.

J Tiers
08-15-2015, 08:06 PM
When I was in a machinist program 40 years ago, one of the videos they showed the class talked about modern manufacturing. It contrasted a local blacksmith in Africa making hoes with a progressive die and press making hundreds or thousands of parts an hour. The blacksmith could make maybe 20 or 30 a day. The speed of manufacturing allowed low cost products that people could afford which gave us the standard of living we happen to enjoy. If we had the same manufacturing of 56 years ago, with the attendant costs of those products in today's dollars, we simply wouldn't be able to afford and have all the STUFF we're surrounded with now.

Yes there's a trade-off. If we like the life we live, we accept that the products are made as low cost as possible. If our productivity were like that of the blacksmith, we couldn't afford more than what the blacksmith's house probably had in it - not much. A bed of lashed sticks, some straw mats, a couple blankets and several cloths, half a dozen cooking pots, a kerosene lantern and a flashlight that you saved the batteries on etc. We could actually live like that since millions around the world still do, but we probably wouldn't like it. That blacksmith probably wanted to move to a city, try to earn more money and live in a house with a tin roof, glass in the windows, electric lights in every room and a radio.

Beans.......

56years ago we had low cost mass production. Don't pull that on us old folks.

A hundred and fifty-six years ago, you would be more correct, but not 100% even then.

I bet that guy's hoes last longer than the mass produced stamped ones, so he serves his market with a product costing no more per hectare hoed than stamped products that last only a short time.

mike4
08-15-2015, 08:38 PM
Most consumers are only interested price and looks , the only time they even remotely show an interest in "fixing" anything is if the product fails during the warranty period.

I however will spend the extra money to purchase something that will last for a few years and not require constant maintenance, or buy a second hand unit and rebuild it how I want as I have the gear and knowledge to do so .

I may even purchase some used machine tools shortly as I have recently had a chance to inspect a friends CNC equipment , interestingly he has had good service from all of it since he made made the suppliers fit cabinet airconditioners to all of the control boxes , before then when the shop temperatures rose above 30 degrees centigrade all would start to shut down or run slower.

Manual gear just runs ,the operator sweats a bit more.

I would not mind CNC machines if there was the work to justify the expense but for around $250k I can buy more manual machines than just one CNC horizontal machining centre.

Michael

radkins
08-15-2015, 10:04 PM
Seems as if CNC would just take the fun out of it for a home shop?

Rosco-P
08-15-2015, 10:38 PM
Sorry Joe and Rosco, blaming CEO pay, plastic pollution and short term solutions just (all old hat) doesn't cut it !
If these were so, then tell me why you don't buy all B & S or Starrett inspection tools, or Aloris tool holders.
It seems all we see on this board are imports discussed and guys looking to skin a fat cat ?
The customers determine the quality..if it's poor, don't buy it !
Put the blame where it belongs

Rich

I don't buy cheap crap from china. I do buy Starrett, B&S, Lufkin, Scher-Tumico, etc. and American made machinery and cutting tools.

Paul Alciatore
08-16-2015, 03:25 AM
Yes, things are certainly made differently today than in days past. We ate out at a restaurant earlier this evening and I used the Men's Room. It was a nice restaurant, but the rest room stank; neither of the automatic, electronic flushing mechanisms were working. I washed my hands and tried to get a paper towel to dry them. Two automatic towel dispensers that were installed there within the past year were both not working so I could not dry my hands. They sure didn't last very long.

I think we may have gone a bit too far with these "improvements". I am sure some salesman made a case for those electronic devices on a money saving basis. Less water per flush. Fewer towels per user because they have a deliberate delay before a second towel will come out. But heaven only knows how much is being spent in repairing and replacing those modern, cost saving devices.

Perhaps the old way was not so bad.

oldtiffie
08-16-2015, 03:55 AM
For what its worth, I bought a 10" multi-speed oscillating fan from the "Main-land"- read Communist - shop in Hong Kong in 1959 - and it gave faultless service - and still is - to/for a friend on mine who likewise is very impressed with it.

I've bought a lot of "Chinese" tools since and having paid a premium for the quality I needed, I am very pleased with all of them.

Of course - like many others, I've bought a few here in OZ from "$2" (and similar) shops and by and large they have given good service - some with longer lives - others not - but better than most who buy them in the USA seem to get.

Nearly all out "house-hold" stuff is "Chinese" or Sri-Lankin (used to be "Ceylon") and we are quite satisfied with it.

Lew Hartswick
08-16-2015, 09:36 AM
Seems as if CNC would just take the fun out of it for a home shop?

Yes! I know it would for me. It seems that it should for all but those that are basically programers rather than machinists at heart. :-)
...lew...

John Stevenson
08-16-2015, 10:14 AM
Beans.......

56years ago we had low cost mass production. Don't pull that on us old folks.

A hundred and fifty-six years ago, you would be more correct, but not 100% even then.

I bet that guy's hoes last longer than the mass produced stamped ones, so he serves his market with a product costing no more per hectare hoed than stamped products that last only a short time.

But he still only has an income from 20 per day.

Mike Hunter
08-16-2015, 11:01 AM
It’s the Wal-Martization of America, and possibly the world.

Sell products as cheaply as possible, and quality be dammed. What is their motto: "nobody beats our price" ? I would much rather buy form a place who's motto is "Nobody beats our quality"

If there really was "truth in advertising" Wal-Mart's logo would be: " We search the world for the cheapest crap, and bring it to you"

And, unfortunately other retailers and manufacturers have to compete with that?

Back then when that fan was made, there was pride in manufacturing, and people took pride in their work. My brother in law worked at US Motors, 2nd generation employee, the first time he visited my shop, he saw the US Motors sitting atop the Bridgeport’s, you could see the pride in his eye, he remarked “Damn we built good motors”.

I’ve got three 1960s era Bridgeport’s, a 1952 Sheldon lathe, and a 2003 Grizzly 14x40 “High Precision” lathe. The motors on the Bridgeports and Sheldon are originals, The Grizzly is on its third motor; the first one replaced two months after purchase (under warrantee), a year later that replacement died, that motor was replaced with a Baldor (at my cost). I suspect that Baldor motor will outlast the machine.

A few years ago, I bought some articulating arm desk lamps; I have one at each station: work bench, buffing machines, sanders etc. I probably have 6-8 in the shop. Got the original batch from Lowes, 6 months to a year, two shorted out and caught fire… one while I was standing next to it. Scared the crxp out of me. They were all binned that day. I don’t think those crappy lamps met any kind of efficiency standards, and I’m pretty sure the UL tags were bogus too.
Replaced them with an American made lamp. I think I had paid $29 ea. for the import lamps, roughly $50 for the US made ones, I may eventually have to fix one but I doubt that I will ever have to replace one of them.

Quality products are still being produced (for now), and, I don’t think they are that much costlier than crappy made products.

Willy
08-16-2015, 11:45 AM
I think I had paid $29 ea. for the import lamps, roughly $50 for the US made ones, I may eventually have to fix one but I doubt that I will ever have to replace one of them.


Yes I think we've all been there.
Sad part comes when you realize that you actually paid $79 for the good ones. The first $29 was the cost of learning.

Danl
08-16-2015, 12:52 PM
If the below ad is anywhere near the same time period as the OP discussed, that $5 fan would now be somewhere between $40 and $50. By the early 1960's, throw away fans had become the norm and air conditioning was gaining in popularity nationwide.

Just sayin'.....
http://home.wavecable.com/~danlinscheid/GEfan5bucks.jpg

radkins
08-16-2015, 01:23 PM
How about products from other parts of the world? For instance how much, let's say, German built "junk" is there? but then on the other side of the coin how many German built box fans would we find at Wal-Mart? The thing is I suppose there is a good side and a bad side to everything and we need to accept the fact that a lot of this "cheap" stuff has made life a lot easier in a lot of ways because otherwise a LOT of it would simply be out of reach.

lwalker
08-16-2015, 01:50 PM
I would much rather buy form a place who's motto is "Nobody beats our quality"

What's stopping you?

There is lots of high quality stuff out there, but most people don't want to pay for it.

I am still using the All-Clad saute pan I bought in fall of 1998 and it's still bright and shiny after two decades of almost daily use. But I had to pay $75 for that single frying pan! I have Calphalon cookware from earlier than that that has no flaw other than the anodization wore off from me scrubbing it too hard and making very acidic sauces. OTOH, before spending real money on cookware, I used to go through pots and pans every few months. I had an old girlfriend that would drag me to Williams-Sonoma and similar high end stores all the time. I bitched loudly at the prices, but all the equipment I purchased from those stores 20 years ago is still working just fine.

I could have gone to Wal*Mart (and I am later today...) but I don't expect the cheap crap I get there to last. There's a reason it's cheap. Wal*Mart is great for kids clothes that they'll outgrow in a few months, though.

I could go on: 20 years ago I bought a Tektronix oscilloscope that was already 20 years old. I still use it today.

I don't mind paying a premium for well made stuff. What bugs me is when I pay a lot for stuff that breaks soon anyway.

Lyndon

Paul Alciatore
08-16-2015, 02:33 PM
Well, there still ARE some places that stress quality, albeit at higher prices. Unfortunately, they most often have the exact same products as Wal-Mart and the others who only stress price. I get tired of paying more and not getting the quality.

As one who is struggling to develop and market some products I can tell you that it is not easy to bring a high quality product to market at a price where anyone will buy it. They say they want quality, but when you deliver on it, then they say it is far too expensive and you get no sales. And don't tell me that most people here do not do exactly this. ?????????




It’s the Wal-Martization of America, and possibly the world.

Sell products as cheaply as possible, and quality be dammed. What is their motto: "nobody beats our price" ? I would much rather buy form a place who's motto is "Nobody beats our quality"

If there really was "truth in advertising" Wal-Mart's logo would be: " We search the world for the cheapest crap, and bring it to you"

And, unfortunately other retailers and manufacturers have to compete with that?

...<snip>...

Mike Hunter
08-16-2015, 02:49 PM
Radkins

I’m not sure how “Junk” helps us. Are you saying that we can now afford this stuff?

My question is How Can we affor the junk?

Thinking back:
When I first bought the ranch, I needed a chain saw. I bought a $120 Poulan from Wal-Mart, It lasted one season. I then again bought a Poulan from WM based on price. Not sure how long that one lasted, but not long. I then got smart (or smarter), bought a Huskavarna with a 20 inch bar for $350, and the following year another Husky with a 16 bar for $250. So far they are on their 14th and 15th years. Over the years I’ve have had to replace the chains and two primer bulbs (damn 10% gasohol).

So by my math, buying cheap would have cost me $1800 vs the $350 for the Husky over the same period.

Even worse with weed trimmers: Weed Eater, Toro, one or two other brands I can’t remember, all lasted about a season. So far the Echo has lasted 7+ years, not a hitch.

Vacuum cleaners: we’ve had Oreck, Hoover, Eureka, Dyson, and a Shark. The one that keeps working, the Kirby that I inherited from my mother 20 years ago; I will admit, the three year old Shark is still going well.

Don’t know how many microwaves we’ve gone thru in the 28 years of marriage (they last an average 5-7 years) but my folks Amana (1979 vintage) is still going strong.

I do a lot of power buffing and sanding in the shop, Went thru a Grizzly in about 2 years. A used Baldor is still going 7 + years.
Sanders: same thing; Enco, Grizzly and a B&D all toast, replaced by a Delta and Kalamazoo.

Dial indicators, DTIs, drills, taps, end mills, they all cost me money when I buy cheap.

5 years ago, if I had bought a quality washer instead of a Whirlpool, there would have been no post on this forum from Mike Hunter on washing machines.

Mike Hunter
08-16-2015, 03:57 PM
lwalker
Glad you reminded me about kitchenware. Kitchen knives use to drive me nuts, went thru a few sets of those, trying to sharpen those cheap knives was like trying to sharpen taffy, would never hold an edge. Think I may have gone thru 5-6 sets and at $50 to $100 a pop that got pretty expensive over the years.

Finally decided on a set of A.J.Henckles, with a couple of specialty Wustohf's thrown in. They weren't ghastly expensive; think I paid $250 for a five or seven piece set. What a joy to use, sharpen about once a month or as needed. I will probably never buy another set.

I believe it was (and may still be) Wal-Mart’s business model, move into a town; put the competition out of business thru low prices, and become the monopoly in that town.

One of the issues today is that what were once “Quality” brands, are no longer, just a name only. So, it’s getting harder and harder to determine quality makers.

I think that the Internet has helped out a lot; Henckle and Wustohf knives, nobody around here carries them; certainly not Wal-Mart. But I can shop Amazon, and have them here in 3-4 days.

That Speed Queen Washer I just purchased, I had no Idea Speed Queen was still in business; they are and still American made. Checking the SQ site, found an appliance store in a nearby town that I never knew about, who would price match Amazon, and deliver 30 miles away; after hours….and services what they sell; How so 1960’s is that?

Paul A, what are you making?

JoeFin
08-16-2015, 04:10 PM
Sorry Joe and Rosco, blaming CEO pay, plastic pollution and short term solutions just (all old hat) doesn't cut it !
If these were so, then tell me why you don't buy all B & S or Starrett inspection tools, or Aloris tool holders.



I do




The customers determine the quality..if it's poor, don't buy it !



If Cheap Chi-com is all that's available ... then who is deciding the quality ??


Everyone knows there is more profit selling items that need to be replaced readily

lwalker
08-16-2015, 04:48 PM
As one who is struggling to develop and market some products I can tell you that it is not easy to bring a high quality product to market at a price where anyone will buy it. They say they want quality, but when you deliver on it, then they say it is far too expensive and you get no sales. And don't tell me that most people here do not do exactly this. ?????????

Paul,
If you're talking about the PIC product you mentioned here a while back, the only thing I can offer is to suggest that you don't target hobbyists. Otherwise you'll get exactly the behavior you just said. With few exceptions, they only care about price. You can make a lot of money selling to hobbyists, but you have to really be prepared to sell in large volumes at low margins and as soon as your product becomes popular, the Chinese will copy it. I can't blame them either, I do the same thing. The only tools in my home shop that say Starrett or Scherr-Tumico or Brown & Sharpe were all bought at auction for pennies on the dollar.

I treasure the handful of industrial customers that I have. They don't care that I sell them an item at 10x what it cost me to build. They care that it works and that it's reliable and if it breaks, I'll fix it and rush it back out to them. If anything, my complaint is that I charge far too little!

J Tiers
08-16-2015, 04:58 PM
...

Thinking back:
When I first bought the ranch, I needed a chain saw. I bought a $120 Poulan from Wal-Mart, It lasted one season. I then again bought a Poulan from WM based on price. Not sure how long that one lasted, but not long. I then got smart (or smarter), bought a Huskavarna with a 20 inch bar for $350, and the following year another Husky with a 16 bar for $250. So far they are on their 14th and 15th years. Over the years I’ve have had to replace the chains and two primer bulbs (damn 10% gasohol). ...


A former neighbor lives in Vermont There are loggers up there. They buy Husquvarna and other good saws. the best they can get. ALL of them last for one season for them they replace the things every year.

And they need to.... The neighbor had 5 saws that he got from loggers free. All sorta worked, but to get ONE actually working saw, he needed parts from all of them, plus one or two new parts. They were just plain used up.

radkins
08-16-2015, 05:25 PM
Radkins

I’m not sure how “Junk” helps us. Are you saying that we can now afford this stuff?


I suppose I could have done a much better job of wording that, what I meant was there are a lot of items that some folks may be able to own because it sacrifices some quality to become affordable whereas a top quality version might be out of reach for most. An extreme example is one we can all relate to, imported machine tools. How many home shops could afford to own a new lathe if the only choices were new American/European lathes or mills? Obviously the Chinese stuff is on the bottom rung or close to it but were it not for them there would be nowhere near the number of hobbyist type lathe/mill owners as there are now, good used machinery would not nearly meet the demand and prices would be to high for most due to that demand. It all boils down to, at least in some cases, low priced mid-quality imports or nothing at all however the very bottom-of-the-barrel flea market type junk should not exist at all.

J Tiers
08-16-2015, 05:36 PM
Which is to say that low price may pay for (be acceptable as a trade for) less ruggedness, less features, less life in hard use, less precision, etc.

Low price NEVER compensates for failure to function correctly in the first place. Nor for a lifetime shorter than the actual need.

vincemulhollon
08-16-2015, 05:50 PM
An extreme example is one we can all relate to, imported machine tools.

I bought an American made (in California, anyway) milling machine, it arrived quckly in perfect condition, fit and finish were perfect, for way less than a kilobuck delivered. Oh and BTW unlike an import (and I have an import lathe so I know about that experience) you unbox the mill, and it works, its no parts kit and no rough edges like a Chinese machine. It has a UL listed motor that doesn't catch on fire like Chinese motors, and the speed control works perfectly. I haven't needed any serious replacement parts (it is American made not Chinese, after all) but add on / upgrade parts arrive a lot quicker from the factory in CA than China. I've had it for more than ten years but less than twenty and I have not found anything to complain about so far. The only real gripe is its kinda small, but what I work on is kinda small so I can't be motivated to care.

If/when we have a nice trade war with China its not like we're gonna give up metalworking entirely, its just our machine specs will shrink to about half size, which for most of us frankly won't matter.

This extends to the rest of the walmart debate.

True, we're only like one manufacturer away from having no choice in the market, but if they can just hold out till the Chinese crash...

RB211
08-16-2015, 10:37 PM
If I find a John Deere 140 tractor for sale locally, I am buying it

RB211
08-16-2015, 10:40 PM
I bought an American made (in California, anyway) milling machine, it arrived quckly in perfect condition, fit and finish were perfect, for way less than a kilobuck delivered. Oh and BTW unlike an import (and I have an import lathe so I know about that experience) you unbox the mill, and it works, its no parts kit and no rough edges like a Chinese machine. It has a UL listed motor that doesn't catch on fire like Chinese motors, and the speed control works perfectly. I haven't needed any serious replacement parts (it is American made not Chinese, after all) but add on / upgrade parts arrive a lot quicker from the factory in CA than China. I've had it for more than ten years but less than twenty and I have not found anything to complain about so far. The only real gripe is its kinda small, but what I work on is kinda small so I can't be motivated to care.

If/when we have a nice trade war with China its not like we're gonna give up metalworking entirely, its just our machine specs will shrink to about half size, which for most of us frankly won't matter.

This extends to the rest of the walmart debate.

True, we're only like one manufacturer away from having no choice in the market, but if they can just hold out till the Chinese crash...

Sherline or Taig? Not exactly Apples to Apples, but yes, they make nice tools.

oldtiffie
08-16-2015, 11:13 PM
And just what has all this grizzling, venting, complaining and narrow-mindedness and huffing and puffing achieved other than mainly "preaching to the converted"?

It seems to have or have got to(ward?) a long way toward developing into a "pile up" with a "mob" undertone.


Its all very (too?) one-sided too as others who may have a constructive alternative point of view with a lot to offer stay out of it perhaps as they will only get "swamped" by the "true believers"?

Its almost as if some here see themselves as self-appointed (Grand?) judge and jury of others - almost too getting to appear as an Inquisition where
"offenders" are held accountable as in the case of an Inquisition.


Just gotta get rid of them damned heretics - once and for all - and teach any other like-minded heretics a lesson to cause them to be dragged into line and "confess" their "sins" and to change their ways and become "true believers" as well.

R.Bolte.Jr
08-16-2015, 11:24 PM
The whole "import stuff = better living" argument falls apart at retail, unfortunately.

In my business, we use a lot of extension cords, for lighting when shooting on location. I like nice cord sets. I used to buy i think "Woods" brand at Lowes. They weren't cheap, but they stay flexible when its cold out, they coil nicely, they lay flat on the ground so they are less of a trip hazard, the indicator built into the end gives you an instant idea if the circuit breaker tripped, or in the light bulb is burned out. Because I like nice cords, they tend to disappear, as other trades on a shoot "accidentally" pack them up with their gear. Recently Lowes has quietly replaced the nice American made Woods, with imported cords, that look a lot like them, except the are really poorly made. The jacket is stiff plastic, the indicators die within a month...ect. The kicker is, the imports are EXACTLY the same price as the American made ones were. Now I have to buy them online and wait for shipment.

flylo
08-17-2015, 12:33 AM
I don't buy cheap crap from china. I do buy Starrett, B&S, Lufkin, Scher-Tumico, etc. and American made machinery and cutting tools.

You buy cheap crap from china just with the high price American name on it & don't know it. Products are not required to say madre in china as they once were & I got that ftom the federal trade comission after going round & round with an American company that went off shore 2 years befre without telling their vendors or customers.
I look at it tool by tool it's the only way to know.

J Tiers
08-17-2015, 12:46 AM
It's the issue of "false equivalence".....

That import you complain about is "exactly the same as" the original better part, but has a lower cost... See, that's the benefit of competition...... in the eyes of the purchasing agent. So it "should sell at" the same price, too.

Problem, of course , is the fact that is IS NOT "exactly the same as" unless you look no further than the basic item description. And that is where the purchasing agent (who may have no idea what an extension cord even is), stops reading.... "Same item description, lower price... I gotta do this".

The pricing person again looks at the description, sees that it is the same as the other one, and says "price it the same, it's the same thing".

The whole process is just like what Harbor Freight does. Or the "dollar store" for that matter.

Where Tiffie goes off the rails is that he doesn't understand that..... He has to some degree "bought into" the false equivalence, either not noticing, or not caring about the areas of non-equivalence. Or maybe what he gets over there has not been through the process of "cheapening to be competitive".

Besides, he "knows" that the chinese/Indians/maylasians "CAN make good products, so he says "what's the issue?"

And the issue is that while they CAN, those products all too often are never seen here. We see the cheapest, because that is all anyone imports. Small wonder we have a rather different attitude.

In reality, it is the marketing folks at the stores who are at fault. But to the consumer, it makes no difference, they have a choice of chinese junk from this store, or chinese junk from that store..... Both bought chinese junk, possibly from the same vendor, not wanting to pay (and have to charge for) better quality goods. If they DID buy better quality goods, the goods would not sell against the "same exact thing" that is cheaper at HD or wally world, etc. And the marketing person would be fired quickly.

The consumer sees only the same descriptive info that the purchasing agent sees..... Only later is the lack of performance, durability, etc. evident.

There is a reason why "consumer products" as a class are viewed as not being up to good quality standards.

flylo
08-17-2015, 12:56 AM
If I find a John Deere 140 tractor for sale locally, I am buying it Not if it's fairly new & you read consumer reports.

There hasn't been a real (not mower) American made tractor under 60HP made in the US in well over 25 years, John Deere included.

oldtiffie
08-17-2015, 01:47 AM
I buy tools etc. that are sufficient to my needs as regards performance and cost.

The warranty sees that the performance objective is met - i.e. if it lasts the 12 month period of the warranty and does all I need of it/them then I am not only satisfied but I've met my objectives.

A good support of the warranty is essential. I've only needed to invoke or use it three or four times over many years and many purchases. If I take a defective item back to my supplier/dealer he checks it for himself and when/if we are agreed he gives me a same or similar item right there and then - and we both remain satisfied.

Needless to say just about all - but not all - of the stuff I buy from two or three dealers is "Chinese" in the main or German which are excellent.

Rosco-P
08-17-2015, 06:54 AM
The whole "import stuff = better living" argument falls apart at retail, unfortunately.

In my business, we use a lot of extension cords, for lighting when shooting on location. I like nice cord sets. I used to buy i think "Woods" brand at Lowes. They weren't cheap, but they stay flexible when its cold out, they coil nicely, they lay flat on the ground so they are less of a trip hazard, the indicator built into the end gives you an instant idea if the circuit breaker tripped, or in the light bulb is burned out. Because I like nice cords, they tend to disappear, as other trades on a shoot "accidentally" pack them up with their gear. Recently Lowes has quietly replaced the nice American made Woods, with imported cords, that look a lot like them, except the are really poorly made. The jacket is stiff plastic, the indicators die within a month...ect. The kicker is, the imports are EXACTLY the same price as the American made ones were. Now I have to buy them online and wait for shipment.

Your company doesn't label all their gear? Lex Product http://www.lexproducts.com/ will build all your "extension cords", more correctly are called "stingers" if your in the Film and Entertainment industry. They'll even label them for free, protected under heat shrink tubing.

Rosco-P
08-17-2015, 07:15 AM
You buy cheap crap from china just with the high price American name on it & don't know it. Products are not required to say madre in china as they once were & I got that ftom the federal trade comission after going round & round with an American company that went off shore 2 years befre without telling their vendors or customers.
I look at it tool by tool it's the only way to know.

Yeah, no!
I'm aware that Starrett offshored some product, I don't buy them. I know where the cutting tool companies I buy make their products. I no longer by drill bits from Dormer, because the Sheffield steel claim is likely untrue of a product made in Brazil. Don't confuse be with oldstiffie or the other west coast Sino apologists.

Rich Carlstedt
08-17-2015, 10:37 AM
The consumer has to call the shots, and not sit idly by when purchasing goods !
( This is similar to the extension cord issue )
I used a specialty bulb in one of my lamps and they lasted two years.
A trip to my local supplier revealed they now used Chinese sources...at a increased price.
I went to the store manager and confronted him about (1) switching, and (2) the price.
He diverted the question by saying his "buyer" determined the source (1) and it was out of his control--yada yada yada
SO I asked him why he was getting product "now" for half the price and yet he set the price higher
and reminded him if he was buying off shore products for a higher price, his purchasing agent needed a slap in the head.
He then said "oh, we must have made a mistake"
I told him that was too bad as I was taking my business elsewhere since I didn't deal with stores that
I can't trust....and i would tell my friends......that got him upset
then I walked .
I am sure he got the message
Rich

boslab
08-17-2015, 11:07 AM
Yeah, no!
I'm aware that Starrett offshored some product, I don't buy them. I know where the cutting tool companies I buy make their products. I no longer by drill bits from Dormer, because the Sheffield steel claim is likely untrue of a product made in Brazil. Don't confuse be with oldstiffie or the other west coast Sino apologists.
The so called Sheffield claim relates to a rented analysis, they sell the rights to make to that spec, just like corten or whatever, Ssab were not willing to rent the hardox range, good on them.
Most of the ore to make Sheffield steel was from Brazil btw, giant ore carriers used to arrive weekly.
Things are designed with a life expectancy, just like people, they give up, old stuff used to have the claim that it will last a lifetime, from memory it went to court, and they actually used the biblical life expectancy! Amazing world we live in
Mark

J Tiers
08-17-2015, 12:07 PM
...
I am sure he got the message
Rich

And it is totally irrelevant if he did get it.... or not.

...because the folks up the chain didn't, and if he mentions it, will simply put a mark against him for failing to satisfy customers. There goes his promotion chances down the drain, he wasn't able to coax you into buying anyway.

As far as the purchasing agent is concerned, he/she is doing the job perfectly, as is the person who is getting the higher price for the cheaper product. What YOU think is of less than no consequence, there are lots more customers available, and most of them don't act like you.... Not even if they are told how they are getting ripped.

So no upside to acting on your "incoherent rant" (that's what they would interpret it as), and plenty of downside.... Don't hold your breath.

RB211
08-17-2015, 02:17 PM
Not if it's fairly new & you read consumer reports.

There hasn't been a real (not mower) American made tractor under 60HP made in the US in well over 25 years, John Deere included.
The John Deere 140 I speak of was made between 1967 to 1971? I'm not talking about the new junk

flylo
08-17-2015, 02:23 PM
The incident I had I called customer service & ask where it was made as I had called 6 distributers & was told by all it was made in the U.S. After about 10 minutes of avoiding the question he finally told me they moved production offshore 2 years before so I asked for the sales manager who called me back & chewed me up one side & down the other saying that didn't do anything illegal as they checked with their lawyers. I agreed it may not be illegal but it's still wrong not to tell your distributers & customers & let them think it's still made here. I called every distribibutor & first ask where it was made & then told them what they did. Then I called the Federal Trade Commission & was told it did not have to say where it's made like it used to. nSo Rosco you may be buying U.S. or not you & whomever you ask may not know.

Mike Hunter
08-17-2015, 04:25 PM
“I do not prize the word "cheap." It is not a badge of honor. It is a symbol of despair. Cheap prices make for cheap goods; cheap goods make for cheap men; and cheap men make for a cheap country.”
- William McKinley

partsproduction
08-17-2015, 04:42 PM
Google "planned obsolescence" and get a brain full of why American industry is so dishonest today, and European as well. I've been angry about this since I was 10 years old in 1959 and my dad, who worked in manufacturing, mentioned that word. I'll never forget it, it seemed dishonest because it IS dishonest.
There are three aspects of it, make products to break down after a planned point so people have to buy again, plastics are a big part of that as they outgas and change compositional properties, and heat and cold effect it adversely. That's a beautiful concept, instead of calling it old junky crap plastic call it "Polymer" and imply that it is high tech. It is high tech, sort of, as are many dishonest and harmful technologies, an earlier example was widespread use of Zamak, an alloy of zinc and copper and a few other metals, pure pot metal in the old sense of the word.

The second is in changing styles, so everyone will want a newer styling car, TV etc. I don't see that as being so harmful assuming the products are made to last a lifetime.

The third is actual technologically improved products which is also good, but not when it is married to poor product life. Computer manufacturers "improve" their operating systems so old applications and peripherals won't run on them any longer.
The first and the last are pure unadulterated greedy dishonesty.


I don't buy cheap crap from china.
Have you looked at drill presses made in America lately? Consumer level? mild steel tube columns instead of cast iron, lots of plastics, and "High tech" variable speed controllers that crap out after a few years.
Funny too, as Chinese "Crap" is made using cast iron, still built to last forever. In many ways they are true capitalists working for supply and demand. True market capitalism supplying demand with brand association can eventually make products again that last at minimum a lifetime.

SteveF
08-17-2015, 05:13 PM
Yeah, well I just had to fix the handle on my Craftsman table saw that moves the blade up and down. I bought it from the guy who bought it brand new and the stupid thing broke after only 67 years of use. Luckily the rest of the saw seems to be in good shape. ;)

Steve

oldtiffie
08-17-2015, 07:55 PM
Welcome to the reality of "what is" and "what is not".

Other than upset yourself needlessly, just what did the rants and charging into "behind the counter" and "demanding" reasons for your own benefit that were undertaken for "business" purposes?

That seems to be close to intrusion and breach of privacy.

I thought the Trader was very reasonable in the circumstances and you were lucky you never got the "bums rush".

boslab
08-17-2015, 08:16 PM
All country's are quite capable of making junk, stating that it's cheap Chinese junk is a little off really, it's junk that may well have originated there, but if you look closely you'll find comparable junk from England, India, USA, and anywhere else, it's all about money, factory's don't make lathes, steel, whatever, they are there to make money, the product is the means to that end, if they could just print the money and cut to the chase they would.
You only have to look at houses in the UK, they are building absolute crap, tiny crap btw, so they can make more, you guessed it money.
Deliberate restriction of supply to increase profit, they nailed that decades ago, reduction in quality to the minimum till sales decline, then pick it up a bit, walking a knifed get but that's how it's done, built in obsolescence, it's a science, product life cycle as they gloss it, market saturation, there are so many facets of manufacture it's amazing.
Even the size of shovels and spades were scientifically arrived at so as to not kill the labourer too quick
(Taylor in the Bethlehem ironworks, also his work in the Bell telephone factory was rather cruel too)
Quality is the minimum they can get away with, no more as it costs,
I think that's why most of us ended up with home shops, the result of repairing everything that can be, and remaking that which can't, keeps us busy
Mark

Rosco-P
08-17-2015, 08:30 PM
Have you looked at drill presses made in America lately? Consumer level? mild steel tube columns instead of cast iron, lots of plastics, and "High tech" variable speed controllers that crap out after a few years.
Funny too, as Chinese "Crap" is made using cast iron, still built to last forever. In many ways they are true capitalists working for supply and demand. True market capitalism supplying demand with brand association can eventually make products again that last at minimum a lifetime.

Who or what is forcing you to buy a drill press or other machinery at BusyBee, Canada Tire or Horrible Freight? Isn't there enough used American made machinery around? I have no trouble finding it.

Don't need to. My 22" swing Royersford, my 17" Delta, my 20" swing Charles Allen and my 15" Buffalo Forge are all working just fine. If and when I decide on a "new" drill press, it will be a 2 or 3 head gang drill drill to replace two of the standalone machines, but it won't be from china or india.

old mart
08-18-2015, 02:02 PM
When I worked in a factory making aircraft parts, we had a bench section of about six highly skilled fettlers to debur, and finish the parts off the cnc's and they used ,amongst other tools, Vallorbie Swiss files. Our new buyer thought she could save 50% on the cost, but the replacement files only lasted 20% of the good ones. We soon got Vallorbie back.

flylo
08-18-2015, 03:21 PM
That's why I try to buy older well kept American machines. I have the biggest Chas Allen drill press/tapper they made a 2 1/2 or 3, called the company & who answered but Chas Allens grandson. This thing is a beast 8' tall 3HP 3 phase. I traded a 2' stomp shear for it & he delivered it.

railfancwb01
08-23-2015, 07:45 PM
Remember "The Waltons" TV series? Didn't it have an extended family with three generations living in that house?

From a manufacturer's viewpoint that is horrible! One refrigerator. One or maybe two sets of bathroom fixtures. One sink. One stove. One set of living room furniture. One set of dining room furniture. Bedroom furniture might be more simply because of the number of people. Oh, yes! One house! One, possibly two motor vehicles.

Not much opportunity for consumer sales there. So the public was gradually convinced that multi-generation households were old fashioned and style crimping. Doubled, tripled, quadrupled the market for all consumer goods. As a bonus, older adults were shuffled into nursing homes instead of finishing their days in the presence of family. Yet more domestic product.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Juiceclone
08-23-2015, 08:33 PM
It isn't money !! It's GREED. The mfg WILL make money by producing the BEST product/service they can. It's just that they will make MORE money the less quality is put into the job. The big cheeses get more , the medium cheeses get a little more , and the guy who actually WORKS to do the job will be told to work faster so that he can get less hours, less insurance less vacation less real spending money and you know what else he'll get.

Frank K
08-23-2015, 09:27 PM
Its not the quality of the product that keeps companies in business. Its the stockholders perception of the company's future growth potential. Make it cheaper. Sell more of it. Lay off more employees. The stockholders are happy, the CEO gets his bonus and now we can worry about how we can make the stockholders happy next quarter. The hell with next year or five years from now. The only thing that matters is whether we meet the market's prediction of next quarter's profits.
Once the stockholders believe that their dividends won't be there they'll start dumping the stock and the company is doomed.

J Tiers
08-23-2015, 10:16 PM
What Frank K said........ double it.......

boslab
08-24-2015, 12:56 AM
I think they will probably understand more about the atom than what money actually is, I've been thinking about the nature of it for years and am absolutely nowhere nearer understanding it now as when I started, I reckon magnetism or light would be easier, A borrows off B pays more back after buying C, and so on, ok there's a product or service involved at some point, but then the money paid goes to buy more stuff to make more product and so on, I wish I could get a grasp on it, I don't think I can because from what I see, money doesn't even exist, it's just an abstract concept, not related to anything, it must be the only completely abstract thing that has units of magnitude ($,€,) that's freaky
It used to be that the quality was dependant on the price, not so, it also depends on availability I've found, take files for example, they have been mentioned I know, but getting a good quality file locally in the 21st century is nigh on impossible, you have to go onto the internet to buy, then the ones you get aren't as good as stuff from even the 60s, I had a box I bought in 1970s that I discovered, there were 6 x 8" files in the box, had a bit of brass to file, tried a new modern file, it cut but you could feel the file skating a bit, no bite, tried the 1960 bench file, it ate it, was a pleasure to use, I wish I had more of them!
Mark

JoeFin
08-24-2015, 01:41 PM
Its not the quality of the product that keeps companies in business. Its the stockholders perception of the company's future growth potential. Make it cheaper. Sell more of it. Lay off more employees. The stockholders are happy, the CEO gets his bonus and now we can worry about how we can make the stockholders happy next quarter. The hell with next year or five years from now. The only thing that matters is whether we meet the market's prediction of next quarter's profits.
Once the stockholders believe that their dividends won't be there they'll start dumping the stock and the company is doomed.


NAILED it !!

oldtiffie
08-24-2015, 08:45 PM
+ 1 Joe Finn.

And I'd bet that many here who have shares/stock directly or in their pension fund would agree too - as its a case of what return they are getting on their investment in that company - or not - as to whether they keep the shares/stock - or not - whether they are manufacturing in the USA - or anywhere else - or not.

The Board and directors usually have a large percentage of the stock and therefore notwithstanding their obligations to share-holders have a very substantial personal and financial interest in the company and its stock.

That's life.

Yer pays ya munney and ya takes ya chances.

Just make sure you have your life-jacket on and secure a seat in the life boat.

PStechPaul
08-24-2015, 09:55 PM
I took Economics in college, and although I think I understood microeconomics fairly well, macroeconomics (as in how the global economy works) rather baffled me. And I think it had to do with the abstract concept of money, which was difficult to grasp for an engineer type with a rather concrete view of reality. More recently, as I have learned more about the effects of peak oil and finite resources and expectations of unlimited expansion as an economic model, I understand better how supply and demand work along with lifestyle and more recent quick-turn business and investment models. I predict a necessary shift in the "business as usual" paradigm, and perhaps the recent stock market decline and deceleration of the Chinese economy is a harbinger of this new system of things.

It seems that capitalism has reached a point where it mostly serves the 1% or so who have perhaps 90% of the wealth, and they have no interest other than amassing even more. Years ago, the best way to make money was to establish a business, especially in manufacturing or energy, and invest in capital equipment and many workers who were needed to process the raw materials to sell to consumers. And the consumers, ultimately, were the many workers who were employed with good wages so they could afford what was offered. As necessities became cheaper to make, companies relied on slick advertising, especially on TV, to create additional demand for "optional" products that are now perceived as necessities, such as ever-more-powerful cell phones, massive data plans, entertainment devices, and newer, ever-more-powerful and luxurious vehicles.

As mentioned, lifestyles have changed from large extended families sharing a single house and a few appliances and one or two vehicles, to the norm of large, single houses where each adult and child has their own room, and the predominance of single parent families means a doubling of housing and otherwise shared items. Also, with more women pursuing high-end career paths, rather than stay-at-home partners in a nuclear family, there are less jobs available for the larger number of those in the job market. Automation and robotics have eliminated many traditional jobs as well.

So, in a predominantly capitalistic society, those who have all they really need still want more, and now they can get it by extending credit to those of lesser means but strong desires for more material goods. These goods can be produced using fewer workers with lower wages, especially when outsourced overseas to desperately hungry people who are willing to work hard for very little just to survive. Meanwhile, the population of the middle class remains constant (or grows), and the poor continue to expand their population in spite of decreasing opportunity for what they can offer on the job market.

Maybe this is not directly related to the quality issue of this thread, but the fact is that an increasing number of people cannot afford items of high quality, and most of us have accepted a throw-away mentality far different from the days of returnable soda bottles and tools meant to last one or more lifetimes. Most peoples' "tools" are now electronic devices that have an expected lifespan of several years, at best, and have becomje conditioned to pay high monthly rates for cable, internet, and phone data plans, as well as a paradigm of being forever in debt with mortgages and credit cards, or leases on vehicles, just to live what they have been conditioned to think is a better lifestyle and "necessities".

I think, eventually, we will need to invest in cooperative living situations such as intentional communities, which are much more efficient in terms of per capita resource consumption, but also encourage healthy interpersonal relationships and sharing. It is possible to become essentially self-sufficient, as demonstrated by the Amish and other communities, and it is even possible to do away with so much dependency on government-issued currency, and establish ones own. It is being done in many places, and it helps promote local businesses and a healthy economy.

flylo
08-24-2015, 10:05 PM
Remember "The Waltons" TV series? Didn't it have an extended family with three generations living in that house?

From a manufacturer's viewpoint that is horrible! One refrigerator. One or maybe two sets of bathroom fixtures. One sink. One stove. One set of living room furniture. One set of dining room furniture. Bedroom furniture might be more simply because of the number of people. Oh, yes! One house! One, possibly two motor vehicles.

Not much opportunity for consumer sales there. So the public was gradually convinced that multi-generation households were old fashioned and style crimping. Doubled, tripled, quadrupled the market for all consumer goods. As a bonus, older adults were shuffled into nursing homes instead of finishing their days in the presence of family. Yet more domestic product.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

GOOD NIGHT John Boy! :cool:

Tolerance
08-24-2015, 10:25 PM
Seems as if CNC would just take the fun out of it for a home shop?

This I would not agree with, I work in a machine shop 40+ hours per week running manual and CNC machines, programming requires an understanding of tooling choice, setup, feeds, speeds, chip formation and every other trick that you have learned over many years operating manual machines but you do not have to turn the handles and watch it constantly, which is nice.

I owned my own equipment and Machine Shop business for 20+ years then sold everything in 2013 and went to work for someone never having so much as touched a CNC lathe or mill until then. I am also an excellent CAD Jockey which helps with the programming part I suspect. They also make me run all of the old manual machines that they have as they don't scare me at all, although several probably should.

J Tiers
08-25-2015, 08:12 PM
I think they will probably understand more about the atom than what money actually is, I've been thinking about the nature of it for years and am absolutely nowhere nearer understanding it now as when I started, I reckon magnetism or light would be easier, A borrows off B pays more back after buying C, and so on, ok there's a product or service involved at some point, but then the money paid goes to buy more stuff to make more product and so on, I wish I could get a grasp on it, I don't think I can because from what I see, money doesn't even exist, it's just an abstract concept, not related to anything, it must be the only completely abstract thing that has units of magnitude ($,€,) that's freaky.
Mark

It is "stored work", and the value per hour varies with the uniqueness and difficulty of the work, at least theoretically. Doesn't really apply to Koch brothers etc, who take a cut of the labor of others (via capitalism).

mudnducs
08-25-2015, 08:31 PM
I hate this "throw away society". Too bad the quality & pride era is about gone. Good dervice is on the way out too. Thanks for posting, I have a couple old GE desk fans still running well. Also have a 1928 GE fridge with the open coil on top, working great. Why was great quality bad?

nice

About 20 years ago I had occassion to work on a large floating crane (called the Think Big) built on the west coast just prior to WW I...yes One. It was a great montrous thing that could pick some very heavy loads and move them very precisely. The boom raised and lowered by a great big lead screw that ran down the back of the crane...the screw had to be 6" OD and 40 ft long.
The operator stood in his cab about 40 ft above the water surface; working the crane with large levers that slid back and forth over his head while he stood and watched the riggers below.
I (thought) I had isolated and problem to a junction box in the cab....it was a limit switch with a black cast iron housing and an Oring seal. Judging from the outside dirt and funk that coated it I was positive I'd found the problem. I opened that thing up and it looked brand new inside...I was floored. That switch had been in operation on the waterfront for at LEAST 60 years and was still working fine.

It was made back when America stood for something....and Americans cared about that.


2 cents.

oldtiffie
08-25-2015, 09:34 PM
All of this "once upon a time" and "the sky is falling in" stuff is a waste of time and so far as I can see, solves no problems (if there are any) at all and is pretty well just a "vent" for or by some who are possibly unduly stressed about it all - or who perhaps are just griping for the sake or it and perhaps are just "feeding" off others complaints.

Whether I kike it or not really does not matter as I try and usually succeed in just accepting things as they really are and probably will continue to be for some time yet.

So long as I can get what I need at I price that I can pay and will perform to meet my needs I am satisfied as it fills the "value for money" in the real and present circumstances.

If either I don't have the money for it or don't really have the need for "it" I just simply go with out "it" (what ever it is) or perhaps find a "work-around" that fills the gap for a while at least.

wierdscience
08-25-2015, 09:56 PM
Where I work we have a machine and fab shop,also and industrial supply and a retail tool store all in one.
One aspect that hasn't been touched on here are the customers.2/3 of what we stock is import merchandise the other third is US made.I would love it if we could stock 100% US merchandise,but if we did we would be out of business.Customers will come in,moan and complain loudly about "all this ferrin made stuff nowadays" but the minute you offer them a US product with a US price on it,they become quiet as church mice.

Another thing I have noticed,is the average consumer,which is most of them will not buy quality regardless of where it is made,simply because they don't know what quality is.This is why we no longer sell the $350 cherry picker made from 1/4" wall tubing.They look at price only and buy the $179 11 gauge self folding HF special instead.

oldtiffie
08-25-2015, 10:23 PM
There are several levels of quality and several levels of pricing to suit.

Ultimately - and correctly - it is the customer who decides what level of each he will pay for.

If when the customer leaves with the product and the vendor has discussed what he has to offer and whether it meets the customers needs, if the customer chooses to not take the vendors advice and product and price the vendor has done his job and his "fitness for purpose" advice ignored or not taken, the customer may well have given up his "warranty" claim as the "not fit for purpose" claim may be rejected by the vendor if the product fails.

mudnducs
08-25-2015, 11:16 PM
Americans have ALWAYS voted with their wallets...what change to eradicate the work ethic and concern for being or doing the best? All this everything is OK stuff refuses to recognize a problem in our society and limps along on the same old "I cant do anything about it so I'll just accept it" paradigm. 'Made in America' can become a proud symbol for us again...but not until we want it to.

oldtiffie
08-25-2015, 11:30 PM
I didn't say "everything is OK" - at all.

It probably isn't but really identifying what it is or maybe is problematical and will/may vary between people for there own reasons.

But I just accept that there is a limit as to what if any real effect I can be toward influencing it along the path and in the time and manner that I might want it (to be).

At that point I Just get on as best I reasonably can with life in general.

PStechPaul
08-26-2015, 12:00 AM
It is really a much different world now compared to what it was during our "golden age" of manufacturing and technological superiority in the 50s and 60s. There are no longer many things that are expected to last any longer than a few years. This might be expected for mass produced electronic items like phones and computers, but it also applies to an increasing degree to more "durable" goods like cars and even houses and commercial buildings. In some cases this is because of the rapid advances in technology that produce "better" things, but I think much of the demand is fueled by unnecessary and harmful competition that benefits the CEOs and upper management but causes increased debt and stress for those of more limited means.

There is probably still a fair amount of skill and pride involved in high level engineering and technological development, but even there, the major impetus is often short term profits, and many companies rise and fall within five years or so. It's hard to follow a commitment to high quality and craftsmanship in such an environment.

People may still demand quality, but much of what they are attracted to is glitz and glitter and features that advertisers brainwash them into thinking they need. Most people don't purchase things like hand tools, machine tools, and precision instrumentation, where quality is more apparent. And many who do are hobbyists or retired people who have had experience with precision machining and other skilled operations that are no longer as much in demand. There is still much room for excellence in the fields of medicine and aerospace, but no longer in manufacturing for consumer goods. I don't see this situation improving anytime in the near future.

oldtiffie
08-26-2015, 02:29 AM
True.

But if people can't control their impulses and keep their (more?) money in their pockets ultimately it is nobody else's fault but their own.

If this practice all but encourages or guarantees "planned obsolescence" (as it seems to do) then you can hardly criticise industrialists, manufactures, wholesalers, retailers and last and by no means least - entrepreneurs - for taking advantage of the opportunities that they either saw and encourage or create/d.

https://www.google.com.au/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=&oq=planned+&hl=en-GB&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4IRFC_enAU360AU360&q=planned+obsolescence&gs_l=hp..1.0i3j0l4.0.0.0.11459...........0.wY8qc79 pO0o

PStechPaul
08-26-2015, 03:52 AM
The problem is that the end result is that those at the top eventually "win the game" by amassing most of the wealth and there are not enough good jobs for everyone else to afford to continue to support the expanding economy. Resources are limited and the population continues to expand, and people from traditionally poorer third world countries expect a much improved lifestyle (based on material goods and monetary wealth). Supply of labor far exceeds the demand so more people will be without (good) jobs and corresponding purchasing power. People with less money can afford only cheap goods and there is only so much planned obsolescence possible to keep producing more and cheaper items to maintain a rising or even stable amount of GDP, which is how the health of the economy is measured.
\
There is a concept called "velocity of money (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velocity_of_money)" that dictates that the economy can grow as money exchanges hands faster. A big and growing problem now is that most of the wealth has accumulated in the top 1% and they can't really spend it fast enough to help the economy, while those in the middle and bottom have less disposable income to spend on products. Much of their money goes into housing and payment of rent and mortgages and credit, which helps the financial industry, but not manufacturing and service industries where lower and middle-class jobs were traditionally found. The lack of spending during times of recession makes it worse because people are afraid, and "what we have to fear is fear itself".

Something to think about:
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/06/velocity-money-u-s-falls-time-record-low.html

partsproduction
10-04-2015, 07:13 AM
When I was a kid they talked down Japanese products, said they were junk, same way people who don't know better talk about Chinese things now.
#1. It isn't that Chinese people can't do work of as high a quality level as, say Massachusetts, it is simply that price point importers can actually find people to make cheap quality goods in China. BTW, things are changing very fast in China and even India, expect to see very high quality products soon as they become the new industrial leader.
#2. As China has become wealthier we will see cheap goods from fully automated factories, and the same factories can make extremely high quality products. For instance, most of the lathe chucks we buy now thinking they were made here were actually only assembled here. A very high quality product made in China to the same standards exactly as one made here will still have a lower price tag, until America becomes poor enough to work for a bowl of rice.

I sure wish I could afford Japanese machine tools.

Spin Doctor
10-04-2015, 08:52 AM
Plus if the average American consumer buys say a coffe maker or crock pot, whatever made in the US and it goes south in a couple of years who does he blame. GE or West Bend? The corporate suits that made the quality decisions? No, they'll blame the "lazy, overpaid morons" who assembled it. The build quality of an item can be flawless and the workmanship perfect. But if it is designed to be junk, priced to be junk and sold as junk. It is junk. In the end the people who take it in the shorts are a the ones at the shop floor and lower management level. It applys to everything from cars to tooth picks

J Tiers
10-04-2015, 09:42 AM
..... A very high quality product made in China to the same standards exactly as one made here will still have a lower price tag, until America becomes poor enough to work for a bowl of rice.


The chinese won't work for a bowl of rice anymore. That went out 20 years ago. They don't even want to work in factories now. And the workforce in china is shrinking fast due to population policies.

You are way behind the times.

Frank K
10-04-2015, 11:32 AM
If you flip over that shiny i-whatever you'll see the statement that it was designed in California and assembled in China. I doubt anyone will classify Apple products as Chinese Crap. Chinese factories will produce products at whatever level of quality the company selling the product requests. If the goal is maximum profit at lowest cost the result is crap. If the goal is absurdly expensive products at prices that people will line up days in advance to buy, well, you know.

A.K. Boomer
10-04-2015, 01:16 PM
Im still running my hover convertible model 70 built in 4 of 1970,
as long as I can still find bags I really don't see an end in sight,,, have a spare motor in case the original ever shoots craps but the spare has just sat on a shelf,,, just incredible testimonial to what was once the standard, and on a vacuum cleaner to boot - not an easy life with having to deal with all the dirt...
45 years of abuse and I got it around 20 years ago - and bypassed the attachment switch so the cleaner runs full bore wide open with a more powerful set of windings kicked in for just regular cleaning mode - something your not supposed to do, yet 20 years later it's still begging for more...

says right on the bottom of the machine "it beats as it sweeps as it cleans" :)

flylo
10-04-2015, 02:37 PM
I hate to think it but I think we're close or maybe "over the edge" of being a world manufacturing power or world power at all because of pure greed & the spineless people in charge. I remember that "opening the trade door with china" was promised as being a boon for our economy as we could export as much as we wanted to china, have you seen that happen? Then within weeks of the trade deal with china U.S. companies anounced plants closing, downsizing & moving production offshore & they had it planned all along. WWII brought us out of the last depression with manufacturing, what's going to bring us out of this one.

lwalker
10-04-2015, 06:17 PM
I remember that "opening the trade door with china" was promised as being a boon for our economy as we could export as much as we wanted to china, have you seen that happen?

Yes, actually. The company I just left is is increasing sales to China faster than in any other region. We made high-margin, technologically advanced products, not cheap crap.

J Tiers
10-04-2015, 09:40 PM
Yes, actually. The company I just left is is increasing sales to China faster than in any other region. We made high-margin, technologically advanced products, not cheap crap.

Good luck with that...

A former employer was selling several million dollars worth annually in china. Then the product was copied exactly... exact artwork appearance, outside details, inside details, our address, the circuit board manufacturer marks, stamps, etc. The only difference was asian semiconductor numbers, (2saXXXX etc vs 2nYYYY) We would have had trouble proving we did NOT make the product.

Instantly sales in china went to zero.

flylo
10-05-2015, 12:11 AM
Play with snakes long enough & you'll get bit. I have 2 Leupold labled scopes that cost well north of $1000 from Leupold. Thay say Leupold & fooled many people that had been Leupold customers for years so Leupold put out warnings & press releases. I bought them new on Ebay about a month ago as fakes for about $100 ea just to see & I can see how they fooled Leupold fans, they're that good. China is getting better. We cant build a warplane without chinese electronics & they send us poison petfood, drywall, etc, etc. Mistake I don't think so. Tell me how this is going to benifit the U.S. http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/russia-china-alliance-could-launch-new-world-order/523711.html

Mike Hunter
10-05-2015, 10:14 AM
“According to a report released by the U.S. International Trade Commission, intellectual property infringements conducted by businesses in China resulted in the loss of $48.2 billion in "sales, royalties and licensing fees" for U.S. companies -- and 2.1 million U.S. jobs.

And it's not just Chinese citizens buying counterfeit goods. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a total of $124 million worth of counterfeit goods was seized in 2010, two-thirds of which came from China.”

flylo
10-05-2015, 05:03 PM
I just heard on the radio jobs of American born workers went down 374,000 each the last 2 months but the total employment went up 334,000 each month so American workers are looking their jobs while companies are importing foreign workers who work cheaper. :mad:
Since 2009 foreign workers have been hired in the U.S. 4.5 times more than U.S. born workers.

MrFluffy
10-05-2015, 06:11 PM
I just heard on the radio jobs of American born workers went down 374,000 each the last 2 months but the total employment went up 334,000 each month so American workers are looking their jobs while companies are importing foreign workers who work cheaper. :mad:
Since 2009 foreign workers have been hired in the U.S. 4.5 times more than U.S. born workers.

Its not always about cheaper, in tech circles its supposed to be the same wage although thats a fallacy.
What it does give is the people employed have their job as a condition of their visa, and if you don't like the working conditions and want to change job, the company pulls the visa out from under you and your going home. So, h1b visa employees are effectively indentured servants because they have no labor rights and no possibility to change companies as the new visa application takes so long to process you are deported before it can happen.
Source, a relative who was in exactly this position originally from the UK, in a company that only hired visa based employees because they liked how "committed" it kept people. He said they were treated like crap because this was well known.
He did meet and marry a American gal after a few years, however that went bad a few years later still and he divorced, lost green card status automatically, and just packed up what he could into a packing crate and moved back to the UK with just a few hundred bucks and a box of possesions for years of work.

flylo
10-05-2015, 06:48 PM
Thanks, I knew all about the h1a visa's abuse but just don't understand why or where this is going to leave us, seems our "leaders" in Washington & heads of corperations have almost turned on the people that made them what they are. No one looks past the next quarter. Alot different than 50 years ago. Really sad.
It's not only the quality of ptoducts that have changed but quality of companies, government, people in general. I told you guys the classic rock songs now make sense. Maybe that's why there's a "Stairway to Heaven" & a "Highway to Hell"

boslab
10-05-2015, 08:08 PM
I know a few people who have gone to work in china, steel plants etc, they were increasing production at a rate of 5 Mt/yr over the last decade almost, most of the guys came back, once they had got the process working they weren't wanted any further, they learn quick and have better kit than most country's, they were buying one new steel plant a year, SSI found out the hard way in Teesside as they just had to shut their plant, the Chinese now have dozens of billet casters, and in fact make better steel than SSI was sending them, much cleaner due to big converters etc, to underestimate the Chinese will be suicide, al be it a slow version
The Russians and Chinese both have massive reserves of everything too
Mark

Mcostello
10-05-2015, 10:30 PM
Sounds like everyone has plenty of reserves- except us (or USofA).

DR
10-06-2015, 04:26 PM
In case nobody has mentioned it, cars are one thing that are far higher quality than back in the day. I would hardly give it a second thought to buy a used Toyota with 50 to 75K miles on it, the motors last forever.

Somebody mentioned Russia. When they were getting rid of a lot of military hardware as the cold war wound down one of my customers bought a quantity of servo motors. The motors were about the right size for a Bridgeport or a slightly larger mill.

I was given one of the motors to make mounts for a large mill. Mounts were made for three mills, a total of nine mounts in three styles. Delivered and paid for...

Then the customer calls to tell me the motors don't fit the mounts. Still having one I checked with an extra mount and it fit like a glove. Come to find the end bells of the motors had a mounting boss for location, apparently these had been manually machines and all were different diameters.

A little investigation with people who were more familiar with Russian quality, we found this was not at all unusual. They just don't have high standards for quality.

mike4
10-06-2015, 06:14 PM
I have a Canon Multifunction printer , which is now useless due to a high stress part being made of plastic.

It operates a cam to lock the toner cartridges in place when the main door is closed .

It seems that most if not all manufacturers do not want a product to last much past the warranty period , they and many consumers are only interested in having the latest piece of techno junk .

I also have hit a wall as far as obtaining any information about this machine , again another tactic of large corporations , do nottell a customer how to repair any thing.

They all seem to forget that not all "customers" are dumb advertising agents who cant think, I am going to replace the crap plastic arm with a steel one made on manual machines , not some 3d printed component which will look ok but breaks when stressed.
Michael

flylo
10-06-2015, 06:21 PM
IMHO Russians make some of the best rifles. They use cold hammer forged barrels. I have some Biathlon Basics which are toggle action 22lr & 22mag & they are one hole rifles which are Winter Olympic Biathlon barreled actions in sporter stocks. TOZ also are very good rifles as Winchester Wildcat 22 rifles were built by them. Remington model 5s were bult in what was Yugoslavia & is now the CZ99 & can be had for 169+shipping. I have some high end Anschutz that won't outshoot the Biathlon Basics. I had a Belarus 572 4wd russian tractor that was the best tractor I ever owned, built like a tank, 7' bucket, 8' double cut backblade, 72 engine hp, heated cab w/stereo. Russians don't worry about style but funtion. The tractor has a centifical oil filter. I'm sure they build junk but I had a chinese tractor & it was pure junk. I wonder what they're lathes & mills look like?

Toolguy
10-06-2015, 06:56 PM
The Stanko Russian lathes and mills are reported to be pretty good machines.

lwalker
10-06-2015, 09:47 PM
Good luck with that...

A former employer was selling several million dollars worth annually in china. Then the product was copied exactly... exact artwork appearance, outside details, inside details, our address, the circuit board manufacturer marks, stamps, etc. The only difference was asian semiconductor numbers, (2saXXXX etc vs 2nYYYY) We would have had trouble proving we did NOT make the product.

Instantly sales in china went to zero.

Yup, we've had trouble with the Chinese counterfeiting our products before. We make instruments and they were copying the proprietary supplies (where the real money is) that are used on our instruments. Since then we opened an engineering center in China in addition to the rapidly increasing sales. I don't think there's too much concern about the instruments themselves being copied: they are the approximate complexity of a small car (and around the size of an upright piano) and it would take a pretty large investment to copy them.
So far it's cheaper to buy than to copy.

Not that I care either way, my paychecks no longer come from that company...

radkins
10-10-2015, 12:30 PM
FWIW, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this very informative thread. I understand there is a lot of opinion mixed in with a lot of facts but for sure there is a ton of food for thought and if nothing else it has changed the way I look at imports these days. I think that in one sense we have benefited greatly by having "affordable" products such as electronics, etc that might have been stifled by production expense if built domestically but the downside seems to be the loss of quality and jobs. There is probably a middle ground that would give us the best of both situations but I don't know what that would be and likely corporate greed will prevent it from ever being the case anyway.


On another note I was again shopping for work boots this past week and looked a pair of Irish setters by Redwings, they had incredibly cheap looking glued-on plastic soles and that all-too-familiar "Made in China" label inside! I knew that the "Worx" brand of Redwings is made in China but I didn't know the entire Redwing line of what was once a premium work boot is now just Chinese junk but there it is for all to see!

lwalker
10-10-2015, 12:41 PM
Doesn't Redwing have a lifetime guarantee? Either way, I think they still have their big plant here in Red Wing, MN so they must be doing something domestically.

radkins
10-10-2015, 10:01 PM
Doesn't Redwing have a lifetime guarantee? Either way, I think they still have their big plant here in Red Wing, MN so they must be doing something domestically.

I'm not sure what they are doing there but the label sewn on the boot clearly says "made in China". I have never seen a shoe or boot with those glued on soles that would last very long at all, they all (the ones I have owned) have had the bond break long before the soles were worn out, not sure what Redwings calls a lifetime warranty but I an not about to pay $200 to $250 for a pair of boots with those cheap soles on them!