TELL BERNA, General Manager of the National Machine Tool Builders Association, expressed a real American thought in a recent communication to us:
“I agree with all that you say and I can only express the sincere hope that the dealers in used and rebuilt machinery should become more active in the foreign market, so that more of the capacity of the machine tool builder could be devoted to putting new machines in American industrial plants instead of industrial plants that at the end of the current war are going to be in competition with us in world markets.”
In recent years export business in machine tools has taxed the capacity of machine tool builders. And, in view of rather poor domestic demand, it was only natural for machine builders and merchants to welcome and accept this foreign business. The surplus and used machinery market was also thoroughly scoured by buyers creating an export demand which was unparalleled in the history of the used machinery industry.
Foreign buyers who purchased rebuilt or used American machine tools found their initial orders so satisfactory and so economical that they kept coming back for more. This further stimulated the market and made “export” business a high percentage of the sales volume throughout the entire used equipment industry. This action in itself is a conclusive demonstration of the quality of our machines, plus the positive ability of used machinery dealers as rebuilders of them.
Whether the used machinery merchants are aware of the economic and patriotic angles of this situation or not we do not know. We do know, however, that as long as the export demand continues, the used machinery industry will endeavor to meet it.
Much of the equipment shipped abroad was sold at prices less than they might ordinarily bring in an active domestic market. Many dealers too were very reluctant to ship extra quality machines out of the country. With domestic demand still lagging and export business to be had, used machinery merchants were filling foreign orders—and are continuing to do so. Stated in its simplest terms, it was a case of accepting these “export” orders—or go begging.
After all, a warehouse full of used machinery is not very appetizing!