Building An American Icon


Mag Instrument has always been headquartered in the U.S.A. The company’s only flashlight production facilities have always been located, and it is now expanding them.

Every Maglite flashlight was personally designed in the U.S.A. by Mr. Maglica, whose watchful eye Mag Instruments engineering staff in Ontario, California, still works constantly to improve and refine Mag Instrument’s products and develop new ones.


Every production employee on the Mag Instrument payroll lives and works in the U.S.A. Of course, Mag Instrument employs sales personnel in the other regions where Maglite flashlights are sold, but all of Maglite’s flashlight production facilities and employees are in the U.S.A.

No matter where it ends up, every Maglite flashlight comes from a factory located in the U.S.A. and is staffed by American workers.

Many companies in Mag Instrument’s position would succumb to the temptation to “outsource” their flashlight manufacturing. Some would lay off their American manufacturing workers and move their factories to low-wage countries, becoming importers into, rather than exporters from, the United States. Other flashlight companies would lay off their American manufacturing workers and would quit the problematic field of manufacturing altogether: They would choose instead to be mere marketers and middlemen, taking orders from customers on one hand while, on the other hand, giving orders to contract manufacturers in low-wage countries to make flashlights for them. Those flashlights, made “offshore,” would then be purchased from a foreign company and imported into the United States to be bought at retail by those Americans fortunate enough to have jobs still.

This scenario is anything but far-fetched. Every supplier of flashlights with a significant U.S. market share now manufactures all or most of its flashlights outside the United States. Everyone, that is, except Mag Instrument.

Among significant suppliers of flashlights to the U.S. market, Mag Instrument is unique in its commitment to U.S.-based manufacturing.

“Mag Instrument is busy exporting flashlights
from the United States.”

While its competitors in the flashlight industry are exporting flashlight manufacturing jobs from the United States, Mag Instrument is exporting flashlights from the United States.

Why? The answer, again, comes down to one man’s abiding commitment. To “outsource” flashlight manufacturing jobs — to take those jobs away from American workers and send them “offshore” — would violate Tony Maglica’s philosophy in several ways.

For one, it would offend against his faith in the American free-enterprise system and against the spirit of giving back. Mr. Maglica knows that Mag Instrument got where it is by being an American company. And he profoundly believes that Mag Instrument could not have happened anywhere but in America — that nowhere else but in the U.S.A. could somebody who started with as little as he had ever built from scratch a company such as Mag Instrument become. He also understands the importance, for the well-being of the people of this country, of encouraging entrepreneurship and maintaining a vibrant industrial base. That is why he is proud to be counted as a leader in the current renaissance of American manufacturing. And it is why he has dedicated himself to proving that U.S.-based manufacturing can excel in the global marketplace by using technology to improve quality and reduce costs continually. It is also why Mr. Maglica has been as active as he has in efforts to ensure a “level playing field” for American manufacturers.

To “outsource” flashlight manufacturing jobs would also offend Tony Maglica’s commitment to quality. There is a reason, he believes, why Mag Instrument has been able to maintain its world-renowned product quality. That reason is his vigilance, which requires all of Maglite’s flashlight manufacturing to be kept in one place where he can personally watch it happen. His approach to continuous product improvement entails walking the factory floor — observing, teaching, listening to suggestions, praising what is done right and correcting what is not, constantly handling and inspecting product as it is being manufactured, nipping quality problems in the bud, being on the lookout for any small way to improve efficiency further, avoid bottlenecks, or cut waste of time or materials.

Mag Instrument’s continuous quality improvement needs to be practiced up close; it just would not work at a distance. Mr. Maglica knows the difference between sound quality and excellent quality, and he knows what makes that difference — an abiding commitment to honest, true product excellence. Further, he understands that quality is not a goal but a process; not an endpoint but a dogged, relentless pursuit — every day.

To “outsource” Maglite’s flashlight manufacturing, to move it to a place where Mr. Maglica could not personally watch it happen, would, in his view, put cost control and quality at too much peril. To do that would be to risk the end of excellence.