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  • Starrett Tools

    I just got a Rutland sale catalog. Starrett has EXACT Dial Calipers and Dial Test Indicators for sale. Description reads; "This world class ---- is made in China to the specifications and the precise tolerances of the LS Starrett Co." Caliper lists for $99.00, sale price $64.95, indicator list $99.00, sale $64.95.
    Maybe I am the last to be aware of this, but what a disappointment to see Starrett go Asian, and not only that to sell the crap at top dollar.
    The last catalog I have (2001) was proud of the fact that the Starrett dial caliper was only one manufactured in USA.

    Jim H.

  • #2

    I hate to break it to you, but the Chinese are very capable of making top quality gear. Not all of thier products are top quality, but then, there is crap made in the USA too. I'll bet your computer is made with Chinese components.
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    • #3
      It's nice to champion the idea of only-made-in-USA, but I expect Starrett came up against the economic reality that they could either start selling imports or be remembered as that fine American company that went out of business because it refused to compromise.

      And Evan's right -- the Chinese are pefectly capable of building any level of quality you want. We see a lot of Chinese junk because a lot of companies want the lowest possible price. If a company puts the priority on quality, rather than low price, they'll get a higher price.
      Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
      Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
      Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
      There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
      Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
      Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


      • #4
        The more items US manufacturers have made in China, the more jobs are lost here, and the more US dollars are leaving this country and going to China. Period. Those jobs are now being performed by some government subsidized 12 year old. They are gone, and will not come back.
        The fact that computer parts, for instance are made in China is immaterial. That industry was lost years ago when we weren't paying attention.
        Quality seems to be lacking in anything I have seen from China. Wilton, a good American name, imports tools the same quality as Harbor Freight, paints them different, prices them higher. Many appliances, electronics, utensiles and other items look good, but are throw-away quality. Use it until it breaks, and buy another one-no problem, it's cheap.
        Sorry, but I don't feel anything good is ever going to come from this loss of our businesses and jobs.
        If anyone who has lost his job to Chinese imports would like to contest my opinion, I would like to hear from him. Those who are still employed, wait until your job is gone and then let us know your feelings.
        Jim H.


        • #5

          You are absolutely correct.

          We in the US have done it to others, now we don't like it happening to us.

          The problem is really the same old thing, buying on price alone. It has been done forever, but it still doesn't work all the time. But it works enough that people do it, out of choice or necessity.

          Any business whch has labor costs and no need to be located anywhere in particular is in potential danger. it isn't as likely to move to china if high volume isn't there, or if trained people are required.

          The average factory worker in china truthfully isn't a prisoner, they have probably come from a distance and stay in the company dormitory (normally upstairs in the same building).

          They do not normally have a mechanical background, and this shows up in the manufactured goods, workmanship issues, etc.

          The better class of workers are starting to get pay raises. They also are starting to be enticed away from one factory to another with better pay.

          The reason they are working factory in the first place is to get better pay than at home, so they can buy things like fridges and TVs.

          These are good trends, since they tend to raise wages, and wage expectations. A skilled worker cannot be replaced as easily in china as here.

          But the fact is that most labor-intensive jobs are gone and not coming back.

          The main factor that can stop the problem is merely folks not buying the cheapest, and refusing to buy chinese goods. I don't expect that to happen widely, but it might happen in enough areas to keep some industry here.

          Don't be fooled, europe is getting the same ain't just us, although it IS a chicom government tactic to "get" the US. I think that can be guaranteed.

          The good news is that I think it is getting away from them. The government of china is NOT in control of the economy anymore. They can't stop what is going on without turning into a N Korea.

          The bad thing is that we are becoming a third-world economy. By that I mean we send raw materials out, cheaply (lumber, scrap iron, even oil) and buy them back after the value has been added elsewhere.

          That is a bad trend, and something needs to be done about it.


          • #6
            It is not only labor intensive jobs,but also intellectual jobs that are starting to go to the lowest bid. I remember reading a N.Y Times article a few years ago about how the insurance industry was saving money by outsourcing it claim centers to Ireland by trunked phone lines. English speakers at half the salary with their benefits payed for by the Government. Now the same thing is happening to the Tech industry only these jobs are going to India and other Pacific Rim nations. Thanks to our skill at making the telecomunications and computer/internet so efficient,work can be zapped around the world in seconds. Why pay a programer 40-60K here when you can get the same work for 15-20K and they were probably educated right here in the good old U.S. of A. I know that for a fact, as it has put my brother out of a job. It went to Singapore. All this is done to make the short term stockholders happy. So until we ALL wise up, this will continue util we are just as poor as they are. Maybe we should add MBA's to the "Kill all the lawyers" line.

            [This message has been edited by ARFF79 (edited 10-05-2003).]


            • #7
              It all boils down to who is going to buy the $40,000 car or truck, or $150,000 home on a walmart or mcdonalds pay. Eventually it will come around to bite the big boys in the ass, and they can only blame their self.


              • #8
                Speaking of crap made in the USA, I recently picked up a pair of Starrett digital calipers (6 inch, full function with output, carbide faces). What a major league disappointment. The beam is probably 20% thinner than my Mitutoyos, they are not absolute even though they are current model. It has a poor quality case with cheesy little buttons. On top of all that, it does not do a good job of maintaining zero and any stress on the beam will take it off zero. The Mits were about $99 while the Starretts are around $170-ish. I got them for $20 (the Starretts) and they are about as good as the $19.95 special I bought some time back on Ebay.

                I try to buy Starrett as much as possible but these really are going to make me think twice about any newer technology from them.


                [This message has been edited by nheng (edited 10-05-2003).]


                • #9
                  I cried the day I dropped my Japanese hardened stainless steel 6" calipers. Boy did that suck. I bought some new ones, of course. They are not as good.
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                  • #10
                    As I sit her with my Starrett model 722 in my hand, the finest digital caliper ever made in my opinion. After 18 years, it still reads in tenths (.0000) and serves me well.

                    Evan..If that was a MIT 550, you can take out the damaged rack, file one end, and reverse it and reinstall it to get more life.

                    nheng..Are you sure you didn'tget one of those Chinese Starretts ? and how did you just pay 20 bucks for them???used ?


                    • #11
                      I too have a 6" starret digital calipers...I can't stand them...I don't know why I bought them...I paid 165.00 for them and I only use them when my battery goes dead in my mititoyo's...when I finally get a new battery for the mititoyos, the starret goes back in the case and back in the drawer for a whole year...batteries last a year on my calipers...I might be trading them for a 0-1/2" starret micrometer...beautiful little mic...



                      • #12
                        Which Mitutoyo caliper do you guys recommend? I am in need of another set. There are several models and I want to get the most bang for the buck.
                        Location: North Central Texas


                        • #13
                          <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JCHannum:
                          If anyone who has lost his job to Chinese imports would like to contest my opinion, I would like to hear from him. Those who are still employed, wait until your job is gone and then let us know your feelings.</font>
                          I'm a USA citizen. I'm here in New Zealand (temporarily) making $15/hr, because I lost my USA job in the electronics industry making $50/hr. Fact is, I was overpaid in the USA.

                          Fact is that wages are largely determined by the end customer. So long as the customer has the right to buy wherever he wants, at the the price he's willing to pay, jobs will move towards the lowest cost, most efficient producer. Right now, that's in China, for a lot of low AND high quality electronics and machinery. These people moaning that "something ought to be done" don't realize that the remedies they propose generally involve limiting consumer choice and forcing consumers to pay more than they need to - in effect involuntary servitude.

                          Incidentally, the USA is already one of the world's worst offenders for trade restrictions. USA customers are often prevented from getting the best possible world price for goods (especially food, but also steel, etc) because of arbitrary USA restrictions on trade that benefit a few people with political power, at the expense of the many. Fact is, tightening the screws on USA customers will only make things worse and force them to spend more money for fewer goods. That's what it means to have a declining standard of living.

                          Those people insisting that jobs "shouldn't be exported" because "nobody in the USA will have enough money to buy anything" really need to take a couple of beginners' courses in Economics. It doesn't work that way. The value of the USA dollar would decline to market clearing value. Goods don't normally pile up unsold unless government screws up economic policy with artificial restrictions on trade.

                          The real problem has nothing to do with job losses to low cost countries. It has to do with the relative decline in USA productivity and inventiveness. Ultimately, fixing the problem this means correcting the "dumbth" that passes for education in public schools these days. It means better infrastructure, allowing higher rewards for good investment, tort reform, reducing scandalously unwarranted salaries for top corporate officers, reducing wages for unproductive union jobs, rational tax policies, stronger families. It means fixing a lot of stuff that's gone wrong with American culture in the past 30 years or so.

                          Of course, it's easier to blame the Chinese for "taking our jobs"...

                          [This message has been edited by NAIT (edited 10-06-2003).]


                          • #14
                            Rich: They came from a local, small pawn shop which I check every few months for an odd tool which appears. They did come from a legit plant closing nearby and were in good shape. The guy was too lazy to get a battery for it so I talked the price down to the $20.

                            They are model 721, current model with carbide faces and full function (5 buttons with output port). My Mitutoyo 6" is model "CD-6" CS" and cost $99 at a sale a while ago. They are like night and day in quality.

                            Rich, please try this experiment ... close the calipers and zero them. Hold the jaws shut and flex the beam a bit front to back. I can get +/- 0.001 to 0.002 or more depending on the pressure. Absolutely no movement on the Mitutoyos and they also seem to hold the zero forever. They are also absolute reading but that is a matter of feature set and not build / design quality.

                            Gotta correct the price info ... the Starrett is $275 list, $268 from Nemic tools (generally pretty good). I'd be sick if I had paid that.


                            [This message has been edited by nheng (edited 10-06-2003).]


                            • #15

                              I agree with every word you said. I also am a US citizen as well as Canadian. The US is one of the worst offenders in protectionist trade policy. The current softwood lumber duties imposed on Canadian wood products is clear proof of how the US government is being controlled by big business interests to the detriment of everyone else, both American and Canadian.

                              [This message has been edited by Evan (edited 10-06-2003).]
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