Inside the Louisville Slugger factory.
Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) coordinators Michael Mitchell and Meghan McKeefry recently toured the Louisville Slugger Factory in Louisville, Kentucky. Here's their account...
The tour starts with a walk through the museum, which features lots of hands-on learning tools and people flashing their cameras. Once inside the factory, we are instructed to turn off our cameras. The smell of sawdust lingers in the air and friendly smiles greet us. The factory is small, clean, and busy. The noise from the machinery is there, but we can hear the tour guide explain the history of manufacturing America’s baseball bats, since 1884. The bats are “Made in the USA” from either White Ash or Maple trees. The trees come from New York and Pennsylvania where they are cut into 10-14 foot lengths and then cut into cylindrical “billets.”
Each year 40,000 trees supply the logs for the bats; trees are at least 80 years old. Only 10% of the logs are of sufficient qality to become billets for major league bats. The rest are made for minor league and recreational bats. Inside the factory, workers explain how the bats were once carved by hand and would take hours to complete. Today, the factory floor is buzzing with machinery to increase production speed and improve quality. There is a great sense of pride from the workers; there are United Steelworker signs passionately displayed.
We are impressed and educated when we head out of the factory to the gift store. There the line for purchasing an American-Made bat is constant. The idea of making something in America wows everyone as they leave, bats in hand.
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