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.
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.
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