Ray-Ban sunglasses were founded by Bausch & Lomb in 1937. The sunglasses have become another iconic American brand and became especially popular after they were worn by Tom Cruise in the film “Risky Business”. But despite gracing American faces for so many years, Ray-Bans are not even made in America.
Bausch & Lomb sold the company to Luxoticca in 1999, which moved the production of Ray-Bans to an Italian factory. Gradually, more factories were opened outside of Italy, including locations in China. Today, the best way to make sure you have American-made sunglasses is to buy vintage Bausch & Lomb frames.
Made Overseas: Dirt Devil
The Dirt Devil hand vacuum was created in 1984 by Royal Appliance Manufacturing. For decades, Americans have relied on this powerful vacuum to keep their homes clean. Now they have likely moved on to Roombas and iRobots. Dirt Devil is based in Charlotte, North Carolina but was bought by the Chinese manufacturer TTI in 2013.
China reportedly makes most of TTI’s products, including Hoover and Dirt Devil vacuum cleaners. So, though the headquarters might be in the U.S., today, the vacuums are most certainly made in China. They have several competitors in the industry, however, they are all made in the same place.
Made Overseas: Nike
Nike is certainly one of the most popular and iconic brands for both athletes and non-athletes alike, and in recent years it has even become more popular, with sports clothes becoming another word for casual. While the products have represented American style and athleticism for decades, China is making most of them.
Most of Nike’s shoes are made in overseas factories located in China and Vietnam. But when outsourcing labor overseas, it can be difficult for an American company to ensure ethical workplace standards outside of the United States. Most recently, it was reported that Nike products were being made under forced labor at one of their Chinese manufacturing plants.
Made Overseas: iPads and iPhones
You are sure to have at least one model of one of these two at home. Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Apple is certainly one of the most beloved brands in the United States and worldwide, and it is also one of the most associated brands with America. But the brand that started in the U.S. actually has China manufacture its iPhones and iPads.
While inexpensive labor may be a factor for Apple’s overseas production, they also have their products made there for a very unusual reason. Reportedly, the creation of iPads and iPhones requires rare earth elements (such as copper, gold, and silver), and China controls 97% of the earth’s supply of these elements.
Made Overseas: Tesla
Tesla, the pioneer in American electric vehicles, has been applauded for its brilliance in both green technology and design. The company is headquartered in the United States, but the CEO, Elon Musk, decided to create a production factory in Shanghai, China.
Tesla still maintains its production plant in Fremont, California, and although it has been touted as one of the “most American” cars, only about 50 percent of the parts are made in America. As of today, Tesla is worth more than $650 Billion, making it one of the biggest American names that are made outside of the United States.