Starting in the early years of the last century, Toledo Ohio was a major glass manufacturing center. They called themselves, with a mix of pride and self hucksterism, “The Glass Capitol of the World.” They developed safety glass, Corningware, automated light bulb manufacturing, created fiberglass insulation and more. In 2006, looking back on those days, Toledo built a museum celebrating glass. A beautiful museum, with curving glass exterior walls and displays of glass throughout history.
The beautiful glass walls? Made in China. There wasn’t a U.S. company that could build them.
I was reminded of that when I heard the news report about the new Martin Luther King memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C., located between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. The stone carving of Dr. King? The 1,600 tons of marble used? Made in China. The artist did the work in China and then a team of Chinese stone masons accompanied the blocks to Washington where they oversaw the final assembly.
I don’t know if there was a U.S. artist who could have done the work, or if there is a U.S. quarry that could have provided the stone. I only know we outsourced it to China, making it the first Communist made memorial on the National Mall.