Skip to comments.Ontario [California] Flashlight Firm [Mag-Lite] Set For ‘Made In USA’ Showdown
Posted on 07/11/2012 3:54:16 PM PDT by BenLurkin
ONTARIO (CBS) These are tough times for Mag Instrument Inc., whose Maglite has defined quality flashlights in America for a half-century.
The companys 82-year old founder and president, Anthony Maglica, who still spends part of his day working in the tool, dye, and mold shop, told KCAL9′s Dave Bryan the tough times really hit home when he had to send out pink slips.
I should really reduce the staff down to between 400 and 500, but where are they gonna go? said Maglica. There is no jobs.
Maglica says theres more than the slow economy at work here.
For years, he has battled to gain the designation Made in the USA for his flashlights, which he says contain almost 100 percent American made parts and are assembled right here in Ontario all but a handful of parts, he says, that either arent made in America or are prohibitively expensive in the US.
California has the strictest standards in the country for companies that want the Made in the USA designation, and supporters of the law say the law should be strict because its a truth in advertising issue.
If its all made in the USA, then a company can say its Made in the USA, said consumer attorney Tim Blood. But if its only partially made in the USA, then a company is free to say, Partially Made or Mostly Made in the USA, or Assembled in the USA by American Workers, thats all totally fine.
In fact, the Maglite packaging does have an American flag in the upper corner with the words A USA Manufacturer, but Maglica charges that in the global economy of 2012, its almost impossible to have every tiny O-ring made in the US, where they cost 25 times as much as China.
All Im asking, to be equal to New York State, to Washington, anywhere where I can put Made in the USA, but I cant put it in California, where I make it, said Maglica.
But this month, an attempt to soften the California rules, which had already pass the Assembly with no dissent, lost by one vote in a state senate committee chaired by Sen. Mark Leno, from San Francisco.
Supporters of the tough statute argue that without it companies would take all kinds of liberties with Made in America.
If they want to be able to say, Made in the USA, and its worth it to them economically to say, Made in the USA, and theyre going to make money off it, they they can make that determination and they can actually have the parts made in the USA, said Blood.
Maglica says the Made in the USA designation would give him a slight edge over the cheaper knockoff flashlights made outside the country, but hes running out of time.
Im so frustrated, because its so unfair, that the guy that brings the stuff from China, all the junk, and I have no advantage over him at all, said Maglica.
But Blood believes the designation goes much deeper than simply a superficial sticker.
If its Made in the USA, it ought to be made in the USA, he said. Its a jobs issue, its a consumer rights issue, its good for the economy, its good for the market, and the way you keep markets clean is to keep fraud out of it.
Attempts to reach Leno and other lawmakers who voted against softening the state rules against the Made in the USA designation for comment were unsuccessful.
Loved mag lights. Carried two while on the EMS. Tough things. Replaced them with streamlites.
It’s tool and die. Idiots at CBS...........
If the o ring is the only thing made elsewhere I certainly can still consider Maglight an American made product. Still it would be even better if the O rings were made here. I can’t imagine they would add that much cost to the individual product.
He should strike camp and move the whole shootin’ match to Idaho. We love guys like this.
FWIW, I carry BOTH a Maglite on my belt and a Streamlight in my shirt pocket. Great products. Recently converted most of my Maglite colelction to LEDs.
The stupid California lawmakers should decide if they want this guy to keep his business as good as it is (in terms of units sold), by them giving him a break, by him moving production to somewhere like Texas, or by him moving production to Asia?
1. Maglite was and is still late to the LED revolution. Even today, LED-powered Maglites are the minority.
2. Maglite still hasn’t upgraded their light sources even on the non-LED models. They’re using old, old Krypton-filled bulbs when even cheap Brinkmann models have powerful Xenon light bulbs.
3. He continues to manufacture in CA, the MOST expensive state in the US to do manufacturing in.
4. You pay a premium for the Maglite name even over other US made lights.
I don’t feel sorry for him; all of his problems appear to be self-induced.
That hit me like a slap in the face. Did CBS fire ALL the editors? And this glaring error has been up there for two days.
Yet another attempt by California to drive the economy to its knees.
No doubt they won’t rest until all America is as bankrupt as they are.
But, hey, you can always sit on the beach and strum your guitar.
Until the instrument is repossessed, anyway.
Streamlight and many other companies make a better light, but I have a great fondness for the 4 cell Maglight I carried when working corrections. You could pop a crazed miscreant in the bean with that sucker and it would really get their attention.
ABC - Anywhere But California.
Exactly what I was thinking. There's a whole bunch of folks in Pocatello that would welcome his manufacturing operation with open arms. Buck Knife left El Cajon for Post Falls. We have vacant factory floors in properly zoned areas and plenty of skilled labor.
Streamlight has that meet and beat too: http://streamlight.com/product/product.aspx?pid=13
I am in agreement.
Maglites needed to move in a major direction. Either by producing a top of the line high intensity light or moving in the direction of “illuminated weaponry”.
They could have made a flashlight that would have a literal flash mode: generating temporarily blinding pulses of light at night. Or maybe combine their light with a less than lethal weapon.
All you guys that think that Maglite should move probably didn’t notice that the owner is 82. Moving his company across country (and leaving his grandchildren behind) is probably too much to ask of a man who doesn’t have that many years left. And it isn’t cheap to move. It would take years for him to recoup his expenses, even if he were willing — not that it wouldn’t be a good idea in the long run.
Nice... of course a small flashlight would do if I had the collapsible PR-24 I was issued.
Someone once asked me “Is that a club?”.
“No, it’s a baton.”
“What do you do with it?”
“I club people.”
That 6 D-cell light is a monster! I’ve grown to like Surefire, although they are pricey...Stevie666
Instead, they’re producing the same old stuff they’ve been making since the 80s. It was nice then, and it’s still decent build quality now - but they’re selling a 1927 Ner-A-Car (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ner-A-Car) in a market dominated by 2012 CBR1000RRs (http://powersports.honda.com/2012/cbr1000rr-new.aspx)
Maglite’s problem is that they *need* to move - either move the company somewhere else, move their product line into the present day (they are sorely behind the rest of the market - practically unchanged product lineup for the past 30 years) or possibly both.
They should have actually started doing this back around 2000, but they missed the opportunity then. Now they HAVE to do something or they will go under - and it will have been self-inflicted.
If I were the owner, and at 82, I’d be thinking about my legacy. Stay in Kali and end up with nothing but debt and bankruptcy, or - make one last big move and save the enterprise by taking it somewhere else. Easy? No. Expensive? Yes. But nothing offers a better opportunity to save something of your life’s work.
Seriously: are things going to get any better for Mag-Lite in California?
It is a little early to mention it, but around here the Lowes stores typically sell Mag-Lites for half price on Thanksgiving weekend. I don't know if that is just a local sale or national. Mark you calendars.
how many parts can there be in a flashlight???
i've got a full size MAG and several mini's and thought you could count the parts on two hands
If you want a great flashlight go with StreamLight.
Which is why I bought one for my daughter.
Just 10 miles from Mag_lite in Brea, CA, is West Coast Gasket Company, where they are doing gang buster biz and make every conceivable gasket or o-ring.
Since then, I use SureFire for light, and other more purpose-driven tools for more purpose-driven... purposes.
SabreLite 2010 LED Photoluminescent Flashlight is an excellent flashlight and is does well in water.
MagLite still hasn’t noticed that yet. They’re about to be the buggy whip makers of the flashlight world.
The guy either needs to get someone in that can innovate (if he can’t), move to get his production costs down, both (preferably), sell out to someone else or just close the place down. He really doesn’t have any other choices that won’t make it worse.
Call WCGC tomorrow and ask them where their Viton O-Rings are made. Here’s a hint: Most likely not here - most non-aviation-grade Viton (and other) O-Rings are made in China because of environmental and cost reasons.
I was just trying to source some for a project that could not afford to have the O-ring fail for a specified period of time. I ended up saying the heck with it and getting some from the Parker Hannifin shop at the airport.
Hey, we know the guy is doing it for max profits. However, what would be the cost of say, 5,000 small flashlight sized o-rings? What's he saving shipping from across the planet? $400?
I'd bet he's getting some kind of kick back, other than his puny saving, from someone, for taking this bit of biz to China. It just does not make sense, given the fact flashlight o-rings are easily made for cheap, once the mold is created.
Well, the O-rings I needed are about the size of the ones used in my old and now retired 4-D Cell Maglite, which is IIRC still their most popular model.
$19.00 per ring at Parker Hannifin. Qty 10,000 was only a 20% discount (I’d asked if there was any possible discount). And I couldn’t find *any* US made O-rings in the sizes I want - all the “we make seals here, honest!” shops all over the country that I called said that they had given up on making O-rings here and simply resold ones made in China and elsewhere overseas due to the ridiculous EPA (and in the case of CA, state) environmental restrictions.
Did you know the state of California says you can’t emit pure steam or pure water into the environment as a manufacturer? I didn’t until I started making phone calls and a couple of CA makers told me that.
Check again. If non-av grade O-rings are still made here, they’re damn hard to find - I spent a week calling around for some.
By the way, his O-rings have to be made of something that doesn’t bond to his anodized aluminum and are not just water but gas tight (so if you use his lights in an explosive atmosphere, you don’t start a fire). They’re a little more complex than “any old o-ring.”
The article says they cost 25 times as much as the Chinese made.
Baton = Noun.
Club = Verb.
LED lights suck!
LED lights as used in flashlights are brighter, use less power (and thus hugely extend battery life) and don’t automatically fail the first time you fire a longarm around them. Or drop them.
West Coast Gasket could easily have a mold made. They could punch out 10,000 of these every day or two. This isn't rocket science o-rings...We're talking flashlights here.
And how much would it cost them for CA/EPA permitting to handle the molten fluoroelastomers on site? How much would they have to pay per unit for continued compliance? How much would they have to spend on ridiculous and un-needed monitoring equipment and anti-pollution devices that the state and/or EPA will mandate?
Oh stop....They do all that. From their website..
West Coast Gasket products can be found in a variety of shapes and designs from recreational products, automotive, medical, aerospace and industrial, to specialty formed, sealable gaskets for demanding vacuum and environmental applications.
Materials and Services Silicone Neoprene, Nitrile, Butyl, EPDM, Natural Rubber, Viton TPR, TPE, Rubber Alloys, SBR, Conductive Rubber, Rubber to Metal Synthetics Fluoroelastomers All Types of Plastics Thermo and Thermoset Plastics Custom Applications Large and Intricate Shapes Quick turn-around on prototype and production molds
Flashlight boy from Ontario is a chump for dealing with Communist China. He really needs to remove the made in USA label IMO.
|Materials and Services|
|Neoprene, Nitrile, Butyl, EPDM, Natural Rubber, Viton|
|TPR, TPE, Rubber Alloys, SBR, Conductive Rubber, Rubber to Metal|
|All Types of Plastics|
|Thermo and Thermoset Plastics|
|Large and Intricate Shapes|
|Quick turn-around on prototype and production molds|
Yup. But they don’t say which are on site and which are contracted out or which are shipped in from overseas.
Many if not most such shops in the US will advertise products they offer that they don’t actually make on site. It’s much like Glock can’t make the metal parts of their handguns in the US - the Tenifer finish they use is not permitted to be applied in the US. Thank you, EPA.
Another illuminating item for you - why don’t you ask around to see how many actual chrome shops are left in LA. And why that number is the way it is.
That's the best one since Judge Lester accused George Zimmerman of "flaunting" the system by being quiet during his bail hearing.
I understand West Coast Gasket does most of their own stuff. It's a big operation doing big biz.
why dont you ask around to see how many actual chrome shops are left in LA.
Chrome shops are nasty places, much of which employ nothing but illegals, I would hope they all moved elsewhere. Like much of what's left of our manufacturing, the greedy employers like their illegal low wage help, which drags down everything around them.
You can tell the quality of these types of businesses immediately, just by looking at and speaking to their employees.
I have too much respect for my wrists to use a baton much, especially since there are many good alternatives, such as tonfa, snap and spring sticks, combat nunchuku, etc.
Though I am reminded of a short story by H.L. Mencken, of an officer who argued that it was not physically possible to hit certain perps on the head, with a baton, with excessive force. Despite his best efforts to do so.
Eventually investigated for a particularly effective clubbing of a perp with an impressively bony skull and bad attitude, though the officer was acquitted of any wrongdoing, he said that changing times had taken away much of the enjoyment to be found in detaining such recalcitrants.