Ten "American" Things That Are Not From America

America is associated with a lot of things we consider to be “American” by nature. But some of them are not from America at all.

1. American Flags

According to the Flag Manufacturers Association of America the United States, we imported almost $22 million worth of American flags from 2005-2009. The majority of these flags came from China. In 2001 we imported $51.7 million in American flags, including $34.8 in October (the first full month after September 11th) alone.

2. Apple Pie

The phrase “As American as Apple Pie” has become a cliché, but Apple Pie has been around long before the United States of America. Apple Pie dates back to the 14th century, and the largest major difference between the recipe used then and those used today is the addition of sugar, which wasn’t as readily available during the time of Chaucer.

3. Baseballs

I’m not talking about the origins of the game of baseball, which is hotly contested, but rather the actual balls used in the game. While 80% of the world’s baseballs are made in China, every ball used in a Major League Baseball game is made by one factory in Costa Rica. Furthermore, almost every single baseball in the world is made by hand.

4. Hot Dogs

Obviously Hot Dogs have their origins in German sausage, and most of the hot dog origin stories involve a German immigrant of some kind. But the fact is, German sausage served on a bun have existed in Frankfurt, Germany since the 13th century. It should be noted, by the way, that the term hot dog came from the (sometimes correct) belief that dog meat had been used to create the sausage.

5. “American” Cars

While GM, Chrysler and Ford are considered to be the “American” car manufacturers, many of their domestic models are currently made in Canada and Mexico. Furthermore, even among those cars assembled in the United States, several of the cars use parts, including engines and transmissions, that were made outside of the US.

6. G.I. Joes

G.I. Joe’s which were marketed in 1982 as “The Real American Heroes”, have never been fully made in the United States. While the original figures were built in the U.S., the original clothing was imported from Japan, Hong Kong and Okinawa. By 1982, production had moved to Hong Kong, and currently the toys are made in China.

7. American Girl dolls

You’d think a $100+ doll named “American Girl” would be made in the United States, but you’d be incorrect. Since the mid-80s the dolls have been made overseas, first in Germany and now in China.

8. The Statue of Liberty

Okay, I assume that most people know the Statue of Liberty was a gift to America from the French. However, it the entire statue was constructed in France, then broken up and shipped to the United States where it was to be displayed. The construction had many struggles with funding, including severe problems financing the base of the statue, which was to be provided by the Americans. Private donations eventually ensured the construction of the monument we know today.

9. Fireworks

I think most of us also know that most Fireworks are not made in the United States. While we celebrate our freedom on the Fourth of July with these explosions in the sky, it’s worth noting that in 2011 we imported $232.3 million in fireworks, almost all from China. That is more than the value of all the shipments of U.S. Fireworks.

10. and Justin Bieber

He’s from Canada.

So we have that going for us.

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