Rethinking "Made in China"

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Somebody wrote:

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During the 60s, I was involved with bearing applications for automotive electrical systems.
There are more basic 203 ball bearings manufactured than all the rest of the bearing sizes combined.
Had the guy representing Japanese bearings come calling with some impressive stats as well as very attractive pricing.
As a bearing supplier competitor remarked, "First the bearings, then the alternator, vacuum sweeper, etc."
Took about 15-20 years, but they got there.
Lew
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

The high quality Japanese stuff came a decade or more after the high quality German stuff. But then the Japanese did the thing that they do best, fiddling with the design to see what people like and what people don't like, and ended up eating the Germans' lunch--the Germans were so sure that they knew the _right_ way to do things that they wouldn't fiddle around with the design to compete with the Japanese. But the Germans still excel at optical design--Panasonic and Sony both use the Germans for lens design.
In some markets though that approach didn't work, computers being one.

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On 12/16/2009 5:56 PM, David Nebenzahl wrote:

Having owned German optics for many years I can attest to their superiority over the Japanese glass. However this comes at a staggering cost. A great pro medium-format wide angle lens from Japan may run around $2000 (or less). The equivalent Hasselblad Distagon (German optics) is well over twice that. You are way out on the right side of the price-quality curve where it goes asymptotic - you're paying double or more to get perhaps 5% better performance, and then only in the most demanding of cases.

These were- and are- wonderful cameras. They're even better when you throw away the coke bottle lenses (Ektars) that came with them and shove a nice German Schneider onto the snout of the camera :)
--
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Tim Daneliuk snipped-for-privacy@tundraware.com
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On 12/16/2009 4:26 PM Tim Daneliuk spake thus:

>

I disagree; I have a Crown with the Ektar 127mm lens, and it's sharp as a tack. The lens to stay away from here, apparently, and surprisingly, is the Xenar, which is usually a great piece of glass but for some reason the ones found with Graphics usually suck. The Optars that a lot others come with is just so-so.
What I'd really like to get my hands on would be one of Kodak's wide field Ektars (speaking of quality American-made stuff). Check these out on eBay--they usually sell for really big $$$. (Of course, a Super Angulon would be nice too ...)
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Switching to OT as the material has gone photographic ...
On 12/16/2009 8:04 PM, David Nebenzahl wrote:

Now that I think about it, you're probably right. It was the Xenar that was a dog. And, yes, the WF Ektars are still highly prized.

I have a modern 72mm SA XL that will cover 5x7 but I use it on a 4x5 field camera. A number of years ago I was shooting some of the bluffs in Zion National Park when another photographer asked if he could peek under the dark cloth. He was shaking his head and laughing when he stepped back and said, "You can see your toes with that lens." It's pretty amazing. From ground level I could capture the top of the bluffs (about 400-500 feet up) all the way down to the rocks in the foreground with enough movements to correct all the perspective I needed. The lens is, however, a beast, requiring a 95mm filter and bag bellows on the field camera.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

The Medalist was "pro" too. ___________

You forgot Asahi. The Pentax was/is under rated. ____________

Thank heavens they expired :)
--

dadiOH
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On 12/17/2009 5:01 AM dadiOH spake thus:

Why do you say that?
I still say that the Crown Graphic (which I have) is the single best cost-effective way for people to break into large-format (4x5) photography, even at this late date. They're still available on eBay for very reasonable prices, along with fantastic lenses. They may not be all one would want in a view camera: limited movements, no rotating back, etc. But compared to the Lexuses and Mercedes of LF cameras, relatively speaking, they're a great deal. And they were extremely well-made.
The next step would be a Busch press camera, also American-made.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

And after Graflex went under, Sakai bought the tooling and continued to make them for another decade or so in Japan as the Toyo Super Graphic.
I used to think that such things were quaint anachronisms until I found out what they could do. Never got into large format myself but one of these days . . .
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On 12/17/2009 1:27 PM J. Clarke spake thus:

And at some point in the US Singer (the sewing-machine company) bought up Graflex and made them (or had them made) under their name. Not sure how that worked out w/the Japanese co.

They're out there just waiting for you. Film and stuff is still available too.
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I have made this point on this newsgroup and elsewhere. At the time "made in Japan" meant junk, I lived in Japan. You could buy anything you could ever want. The quality ranged from junk to the finest quality you'd find anywhere. Lots of the technology in common use there had not even been seen in the US (at least not by Joe Average).What perpetuated the "Japanese junk" idea was the American importers. Junk was extremely cheap, so much so that, even with a substantial markup, they could still sell it cheap enough here that people would buy it. They (the importers) new that high quality was available but there was no moony in it. The Chinese are in the same position now. High quality is available in China but no one is bringing it into the US. There is no money in it.

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Apparently some folks are having trouble with the concept of the current global economy; and the history of our own manufacturing problems.
Today, there are relatively few items truly manufactured in USA, China, Japan, Mexico or anywhere. To slam a product just because it is made in Taiwan or China doesn't make sense anymore especially when you look at metal and woodworking tools sold by companies like Grizzly. Many of the parts and castings in "old American" products like Powermatic now come from the east. Much of the airframe and wiring in venerable aircraft like the Beech Bonanza and King Air are manufactured in Mexico and assembled in Kansas; avionics guts come from the east. Most electronic components used in fine old American TVs and audio components come from China, Japan or Korea.
On the other side, a complete lapse in U.S. quality control, during the 1970's, allowed the Japanese to to run completely over the US auto industry. But now look at Toyota. They are building cars, to high standards, at several U.S. facilities. This is probably good because the high cost of maintaining union demands has all but shut down Detroit and other auto manufacturing centers. This is doubly tragic because Detroit was finally starting to build some quality cars again.
The world is changing and made in ("anywhere") is a thing of the past. We have seen a strong trend toward survival of the fittest during the past year and those who can produce quality at a reasonable cost will probably win (or be taken over by government).
My job is to take care of my business by buying the best I can with what I have. If I can buy the same quality and function for 20-40% less the decision is easy.
RonB
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"RonB" wrote:
Much of the airframe and wiring in venerable aircraft like the Beech Bonanza and King Air are manufactured in Mexico and assembled in Kansas; avionics guts come from the east. ------------------------------------------ "Beech Bonanza", or as described to me by a pilot in Tulsa, "Split tailed doctor killer".
Lew
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On the bright side, lawyers fly too.
The old V-tail is a good airplane but you can't overcome perception so the went conventional.
The truth is, if anyone dies in an airplane, the manufacturer WILL BE SUED. Back in the late 80's I was told that the first $80K of any aircraft product price was built-in litigation expense. If you take off with a near empty gas tank, no oil, drunk as a skunk and fly into a box canyon; they still come after the manufacturer. We usually win those, but spent millions keeping up with it. Even military products collected lawyers.
RonB
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RonB wrote:

Parachutes the same. Somebody jumped over the Pacific, drunk as a skunk, had a good chute, and at 200 feet hit the quick-release that is intended to allow one to quickly detach a fouled canopy so that the reserve can be used. The lawyers contended that the chute should have had a label warning about use while intoxicated.

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"RonB" wrote:
--------------------------------- On the bright side, lawyers fly too.
The old V-tail is a good airplane but you can't overcome perception so the went conventional.
During the airline strike in the mid 60s, had to get from Cleveland to San Angelo, TX.
Almost an impossible task, but there was a solution.
Had a tech service guy who was rebuilding a "Banana" while keeping it in flying condition.
He became our airline.
Had a grass strip beside his house to allow him to keep the plane at home while he worked on it.
The plane had seen service in Alaska and thus had the big Lycoming engine in it according to the tech.
Cleveland to Memphis to Dallas to San Angelo.
Made for an interesting and very long Sunday.
Arrived in San Angelo to be greeted by newspaper headlines announcing that race riots had broken out in Cleveland on Saturday night.
Some very interesting tales to tell about that trip.
Among other things, learned about Omnis and how to use them.
Lew
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It is my vague recollection that the V-tail was one of the early civilian planes to have a flush riveted wing and was very "clean." As a result, an inattentive pilot would be flying along and get into a very shallow dive. Before he got any shuddering, noise or other indication of speed, he would have far exceeded the "do not exceed" speed of the airframe. Eventually, he'd notice that he was going like a bat out of h*ll, and would pull back instinctively on the stick. The wings would be instantly overloaded and he'd look up to see them fluttering away.
This is just a recollection from my own flying lesson days, and I can't say that I can vouch for the source.
--
Nonny

ELOQUIDIOT (n) A highly educated, sophisticated,
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On Wed, 16 Dec 2009 19:37:16 -0800, "Lew Hodgett"

"fork tailed lawyer killer" is another one.
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RonB wrote:

When a country taxes and regulates business to death, what happens? When labor unions become too big for their britches and so corrupt that their behavior holds businesses hostage to their demands, the business owners vote with their feet and go someplace else.
TDD
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wrote: I have a few tools that were made in China that I feel are very high quality.. Two jet lathes and several small power tools.. My feeling is that it's not WHERE they are made, it's the quality control of the company that the stuff is made for..

mac
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snipped-for-privacy@but.us.chickens says...

I'll tell you what MOST gets my goat: the materials science. Plastics made in China seem to have about half the lifespan of plastics made in Thailand. If that ... some stuff starts to crumble a week after it comes out of the box.
Generally this is not quite as much a problem with stuff designed in XXX and made in China, because they tend to do QC, but it happens still. Our Bosch washing machine, when delivered, turned out to be manufactured there. Within a week, two switches had disintegrated. Our friend bought the same model, and found herself holding the plastic handle for the door in her hand inside the first month.
Tools made from what can only be described as potmetal ... ok, the Chinese don't have the Exclusive on that one, but they excell at it. I've had Chinese 'stainless' go rusty 3 weeks after unpacking and removing the gel-packs. Chrome plating turning into a razor edged hazard in a space of weeks or even days...
I used to laugh at some Chinese made knives - they obviously had been copied as a design by people who had no idea of the intended use. Cutting edge blunt and 1 mm wide. I've seen a lot of that sort of thing in fact. Mimicry without understanding the functionality of the item.
I'm perfectly well aware of the Japanese example, and I fully expect the same thing to happen with Chinese made goods. Just as it happened with the Taiwanese and the South Koreans. I've no problems buying Japanese or Taiwanese made, somewhat more weary of Korean stuff still, except electronics.
But clearly, the Chinese are not there yet. And with their sanctioned policy of 'saving face is more important than dealing with problems or addressing the issues' this may take longer for China to get up to speed and communicate reliably with the rest of the world. There's been a lot of shit happening this last year in industrial relations between China and Australia and New Zealand, because neither side understood how to bridge this cognitive dissonance.
Some time in the last couple of years we had a German engineer & family as a Servas guest and he'd just come off a tour of duty in China, as an adviser on building up a car factory (I think, for local production of VWs) there. We asked him if he would buy one of those Chinese built cars. He went "<cough><cough><cough> maybe not just yet". Lol.
Personally, I shall await such time as ... for the time being I avoid them as much as possible, even if I have to pay 20 times the price, and no kidding.
f.w.i.w. -P.
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