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Buy American

bovide_4 Member Posts: 161
Dear Burnham (and other US boiler companies):

I use Burnham on most of my installs for many years. Today I noticed that the malleable fittings shipped with the gas valve assembly are stamped "CHINA".

Excuse the irony, but if you wrap your company image around the US flag, including "usboiler" in your web address, I think you should have a "Buy American" policy.

I back up what I say with my purchasing. I forego profit (short term) by buying American to the point of my supplier receipts being tagged "SHIP DOMESTIC FITTINGS ONLY", so the men in the warehouse know what to ship to me.

I am loyal to your US company through my purchasing, but I would appreciate your loyalty in return by paying it forward with your US purchasing.


  • bovide_4
    bovide_4 Member Posts: 161

    I wasn't expecting a revolution in our nation's trade policy with my post, but I am disappointed that with 187 views, no one has posted an opinion on what I think is a relevant issue that affects all of us. With a clear example of what I think we should refuse to accept. In my lifetime I have seen our manufacturing base get decimated by the rest of the world. I am very worried about the long term economic survival of my country. This is not a political left-right issue.

    Perhaps my communication skills need work, or maybe I'm paranoid.

    Or maybe this is an example of the apathy that brought us into this situation.
  • HDE
    HDE Member Posts: 225
    How it tends to work

    If you were expecting a manufacturer response, they typically won't here because they have for the most part been instructed by their management not to post responses and be drawn into a potential negative bashing.

    The use of lower cost materials to manufacturer equipment can be mostly be blamed on the supply channels. Homeowners looking for a lower price, contractors shopping boiler prices, distributors looking to be competitive and lastly a manufacturer running lean and implementing cost cutting measures in order to move product and stay afloat.

    You have no doubt already supported overseas by purchasing products with imported cast iron, sheet metal, controls, tanks, or entire boilers so why should a 3/4 elbow cause so much grief?

    With all that said what response were you expecting?
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    Buy American ! Or buy cheap

    The problem is that those fittings, even though having been shipped thousands of miles, are still cheaper than the domestic fitting-because the American Consumer demands the lowest price! Quality of manufacture is rarely an issue, and as we have seen here, the desire for a low price continues into the shoddy installs we have seen on display here, as we try to diagnose various problems with badly/cheaply installed systems.--NBC
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    Buy American cannot be done at all, sometimes.

    A few decades ago, AMTRAK and a few other railroads needed new electric locomotives to replace the old ones that had been run for years after their design life had ended and could no longer be repaired.

    They went to General Electric, that had been the last US manufacturer of electric locomotives, some of them very good. But they had not made any in a long time. They came up with the E-60 that turned out to be lousy. It could not manage curves at speed, so they had to run it slower than designed. And running it too slowly caused it to overheat, among other problems. They later had to buy ABB (Swedish) and Alsthom (French) machines because the Americans could not design good locomotives anymore.

  • bovide_4
    bovide_4 Member Posts: 161

    "Why should a 3/4" elbow cause so much grief?"

    Tell that to a factory worker who lost his job to a foreign country who plays by a different set of rules.

    This boiler has two gas valves. There were several fittings stamped "CHINA".

    I am also not referring to items we cannot make efficiently anymore.

    Why can't our boiler manufacturers use Stockham, Anvil, or Ward?

    I am not a business genius by any stretch, but I have a backbone. My supplier receipts show I buy American when I can.

    You don't find China on my pipe, valves, and fittings. My proposals also point this out.

    I pay more for this, and will be willing to pay more for a boiler that uses only US parts to keep our people working.

    My point is if a company uses our flag in their advertising, you should not find CHINA around the said product.
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    buy American

    When I worked with my last company in nyc my old boss insisted on American fittings just like yourself.I have since moved and am living on Long Island. I would think 80% of their material is Chinese in my current supply house.I asked them to order Ward etc and they would not do it,response was American economy actually makes more money through importing material than producing it.However true I dont know.I understand your frustrations but I am sure Chinese manufacturing companies could produce quality material but as a previous post stated it all comes down to what the consumer wants to spend.If you buy a Dodge,Gmc etc how many imported products are in their cars?.
  • HDE
    HDE Member Posts: 225
    Losing battle

    Given that the gas valve on that American cast iron boiler was made in Mexico you have been losing your buy American battle for years.

    Sorry but true
  • SpeyFitter
    SpeyFitter Member Posts: 422
    Who makes made in USA or Canada fittings in Steel?

    I'm just wondering who are the major players that make steel pipe and fittings North of Mexico in the sch 40? I've heard of Ward, someone mentioned Anvil but I seem to recall using some Anvil Sch 80 fittings last year that were made in China? Did I remember that wrong?
    Class 'A' Gas Fitter - Certified Hydronic Systems Designer - Journeyman Plumber
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    edited June 2013
    Big picture

    When our economy went global. So did buying American. Remember Ross Perout, and the giant sucking sound he described for our future well this is it.

    You can say you buy American if you buy a Chevy, but how much of the Chevy is foreign when parted out. It's only assembled in the U.S. , and Mexico but then so is a Nissan. So if one buys a Nissan is that buy American?

    This is all sad , but the harsh reality of the global economy we now live in.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,442

    You know I'm only a homeowner and I've only installed a few iron fittings (steam header and NG piping) but I can say what I noticed.

    I used Ward fittings on all of the steam piping and 90% of the gas piping.  There were a few I forgot and had to buy locally and the threads on the Chinese fittings were NOTHING like the Ward fittings.   With the Ward the fittings screwed onto the pipe smooth and several threads before any resistance was felt.  With every single Chinese fitting you didn't even get a whole turn before it binded bad. 

    I ripped out 99% of the galvanized water piping in my house and replaced it with copper.  Only remaining piece is the run out to the road which I have not done for obvious reasons.  I used type L pipe and almost every copper fitting was made in Canada.   Why?  Because I couldn't find any made in the US but once again the Canadian ones are much heavier than the Chinese ones found at home improvement stores and the fit seemed better and more consistent.

    The problem is people see a lower price tag and go only on that.  They don't realize that more often than not they are actually getting less product for the money.

    If things keep going the way they are pretty soon it won't matter how cheap something is, no one will have money to buy it.  Unemployment only lasts so long and it only pays so much.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,471
    I was lucky

    My boiler (Smith) and my gas gun (Carlin) were both made about 50 miles from where i live , but God knows where the parts were made.

    I think Ross Perot was our last chance to straighten things out, our kids will curse us for not listening to him. The real problem with allowing manufacturing to go offshore is that within a couple of generations we will lose the ability to manufacture here even if we wanted to because the skill sets will be nowhere to be found. The engineering jobs will disappear next because the people who manufacture want the design team close by. We are becoming a barbell society, fast food servers on one hand and and MBA's on the other. If I had kids in high school I would encourage them to look at the trades, those jobs can not be outsourced.

    Henry Ford understood he had to pay his workers enough to buy the cars they made. The current trend is to pay them as little as possible and don't let them work enough hours per week to qualify for benefits.

    Shakespeare's quote should be modified to include MBA's as well as lawyers, there is nothing they won't do to shave costs if it improves the bottom line in 90 days. If the company goes under in 3 years they will just move on and do the same thing to the next company.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Larry (from OSHA)
    Larry (from OSHA) Member Posts: 716
    yes, we've done it to ourselves

    I believe the Walmartization of America has been coming for some time.  It seems to be our natural tendency to want what ever it is at the lowest, cheapest cost.  I found an old (very old) pair of jeans that had a made in USA Union label.  You just won't find that any more.

  • knotgrumpy
    knotgrumpy Member Posts: 211
    What Chris J said...

    I'm a homeowner as well.  On my current redo of my heating system I have done what I can to avoid Chinese fittings.  Especially cast iron fittings.  A local old-time hardware store sells Anvil brand fittings and I make the trip and pay a little extra to go there to pick up what I need.

    The extra cost is worth it.  I have tried black iron crap from Menards and I am amazed anyone can work with the stuff.  The Chinese can not even thread the fittings in the same plane end to end.  If you try to use a straight coupling from China to connect two lengths of Chinese black pipe, get ready for a trip.  What angle do you want them to join at?  It's a straight coupling, right?  Nope.  Just give the pipe a turn and you can watch the free end go through a big arc.  Variable angle.

    I finally give up and pull out my old set of threading dies and make my own nipples by cutting up the junk stuff, but even that is iffy.  The coating on the imported stuff is not a black oxide, it is cheap lacquer that flakes off.  Anyway, give the scrap straight fitting to the local metal collector and go buy an Anvil coupling.  Better.

    It make me very sad that this is where we are at.  I am taking apart about 2 miles of older iron pipe with Ward fittings and once you break the threads lose they turn as smooth as butter.  We are losing our way.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,835
    And the "Everyday Low Wages"

    are forcing many WarMart workers to go on govt assistance to be able to raise and support a family.

    So the tax payer is getting a double wammy, crappy products built in dangerous sweat shops overseas, and we the tax payer supplement their payroll.

    Small local manufacturers and suppliers to the big store wait 90 - 120 days to get paid, and accept anything that they chose to send back, plus the freight cost! Quite a business model.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • bovide_4
    bovide_4 Member Posts: 161
    Good Points

    I agree with every post so far, and appreciate the responses.

    This point has not been addressed, though:

    (sorry for being a pain, but it is an important issue for me)

    *Manufacturer selling high $$ products advertises with the US flag. "USA, USA" all over their marketing. Product deliveries through the roof with Superstorm Sandy damage.

    Do these companies really need to buy foreign components when the same items are available from the country whose flag is all over their advertising?

    We, as purchasers of these products, need to protect our trade and hold the decision makers of the companies we purchase from accountable. If they want to use China parts, let them put a Chinese flag as the background in their advertisement.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,442

    Its hard but I think the only option you have is to both write them a letter stating why you will not buy from them anymore and then proceed with not buying from them until they change.

    If everyone did this things would change. They would have to.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Roland_18
    Roland_18 Member Posts: 147
    Buy American

    Yes indeed! Vote with your wallet.
  • smklin
    smklin Member Posts: 69
  • knotgrumpy
    knotgrumpy Member Posts: 211
    Oh no

    Not the maple kind!

  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    In the end

    America won't be taken over by a war. It will be bought, and owned by countries across both ponds....mostly the left one. Draining the consumers wallets with subpar products.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546

    Think bean counters. Every boiler they make if a few dollars can be saved, and the boiler sold for the same price as all American parts is money in the pocket. They count on the people who don't care if every part is made in America, or the fact that it just goes unnoticed which both obviously are unlikely. That's your answer, and good luck in swaying a bean counter.
  • Jason_13
    Jason_13 Member Posts: 304
    edited June 2013
    Selling in China

    They were one of the few boiler manufacturers to sell there product in China. Not sure they still are or not. I remember seeing the chinese literature. actually remember Russian literature but i know that stopped due o Russian economy. Maybe it was part of the deal. Scratch my back I'll scratch yours kinda deal.

    You never know what goes with the deals.
  • fixitguy
    fixitguy Member Posts: 91
    That's why they call it the Home Defect!

    The only thing cheap anymore is quality. When my customers start paying me in Yen, Renminbi, Euros, Pesos etc, I'll be happy to buy their products. They opened a LL Bean store near here last year and guess what? EVERYTHING in the store was from China. Disgusting.
  • bill_105
    bill_105 Member Posts: 429
    While were bashing China...

    Look at it from their point of view. Every day they wake up the trillion dollar plus of US debt, they bought, is worth less everyday. But they're still buying. So things do come around full circle:).
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546

    See my post "in the end". How long do you think they will take buying trillions in worthless debt before the want tangible items to cover it? Say land.

    A foreign conglomerate owns part of the Indiana toll road system.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546

    Anyone Remember when Levi's were stiff like a board, and you had to wash them just to wear them.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Shrink To Fit

    Hot water and even bleach, yes.  The days before stonewash.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    Tough skins

    Were Sears Tough skins made in the USA? My family could never afford Levi's.

  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    Only got

    2 pair Rob. Point is the sears brand were still 10 times better than the Levi's today. I out grew them before they were wore out. Today bean counters think about how many more pairs they can make by lightening the thread weight a little each year to the point where people will still buy them, and keep buying them, and charge more. If I remember I think Levi's in my day were 12.99 a pair. Today they are 40-45' and don't last as long.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,471
    No quality anymore

    I installed a GE over the range microwave in 1982, unfortunately it died last week after 31 years. I've been researching a replacement and the new GE's are junk and most of the other brands are not a lot better and the price charged makes no difference. Several brands are noted for turning themselves on and causing fires.

    They have cut the quality of design and construction so much they don't work any more and I'm sure it's the bean counters that run the companies these days. They have put themselves exactly where the american auto makers were in the 70's but now because of globalization it appears there very few alternatives except to buy something that is long in the tooth design wise.

    There is nothing these **** won't do to shave a nickle and the saving's don't go to the companies stockholders, they go straight to the executive suite. A pox on all of them!
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    Striaght leg or Bell Bottoms

    Dont forget the fringe after wearing them in was cool then to.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Bell Bottoms

    Were out by the time I was doing my own laundry.
  • SpeyFitter
    SpeyFitter Member Posts: 422

    Take your standard Sch 40 or standard wall black iron 90 as an example - if you were at the wholesaler and you had an area with American made Ward fittings, and the Chinese variants, and it was clear as day what was what, and the price difference, do you think more tradesman or contractor types would select American made fittings? If there was a clear example of the differences in quality of the American made fittings, and there was an equal stock of both, that more guys would pick them? I've seen Chinese black fittings split, and pinhole, right out of the box. As was mentioned, sometimes you run into a couple that just don't thread very nicely. Do you think, if wholesalers plainly asked you if you wanted American made fittings, or Chinese made fittings, when you ordered them, that more would make what we consider to be the right choice?
    Class 'A' Gas Fitter - Certified Hydronic Systems Designer - Journeyman Plumber
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
    The Point

            Much talk about Americans demanding the cheapest prices. Well, none of the manufacturers that use to make their products here have ever lowered their prices when moving production offshore.I admit, when they first started the "Buy American" campaign, I was like...yeah right. We also use to hear things like" they want to eliminate the middle-class in this country and , I was like....yeah right.

            Well, here we are in this country with flourishing stock markets that no longer reflect the health of this nation and its economy.Our elected officials have decided that we need to become part of the "Global Economy", and sign trade agreements that give middle-class jobs away. Unemployment is through the roof.The former middle-class in this country have become the working poor.

           The wealthy, including those in politics, have no desire to fix this. It benefits them. The only time it was adressed, openly, was Obama's last campaign.That's why he was elected, but the powers that be will not allow it to change. Remember......He was going to re-write the trade agreements, and bring the jobs back. I don't think he knew what he was up against.

           I love this country, but it needs fixing, right now.

This discussion has been closed.