"The World Takes—Trenton Makes” was selected as the winning city slogan in June 1910 by the Trenton (NJ) Chamber of Commerce, which awarded its prize of $25 to S. Roy Heath. The slogan emphasized that Trenton was a leading city in the industrial revolution in the United States. In 1935, “TRENTON MAKES—THE WORLD TAKES” was installed in large lettering on the Lower Trenton Bridge.
Trenton’s manufacturing has lessened and American factories have relocated to China. The saying “China makes, the world takes” has been cited in print since at least 1992 and was the title of a long article by James Fallows in the July/August 2007 issue of The Atlantic. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke mentioned both the Trenton and China slogans in a January 2011 speech.
“God made heaven and earth, and the rest was made in China” is another saying about China’s industrial production.
Wikipedia: Lower Trenton Bridge
The Lower Trenton Toll Supported Bridge, commonly called the Lower Free Bridge, Warren Street Bridge or Trenton Makes Bridge, is a two-lane through truss bridge over the Delaware River between Trenton, New Jersey and Morrisville, Pennsylvania, owned by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC). It is known as the Trenton Makes Bridge because of large lettering on the south side reading “TRENTON MAKES THE WORLD TAKES”, installed in 1935. In addition to being an important bridge from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, it is a major landmark in the city of Trenton.
As one goes downstream, this bridge is the last free vehicular crossing of the Delaware. Although it is owned by the DRJTBC, no toll is collected. All downstream vehicular crossings are tolled.
The “TRENTON MAKES THE WORLD TAKES” sign on the south side of the bridge was installed in 1935 and first replaced in 1981. In 2005, the sign was replaced with one featuring higher-efficiency neon lighting, with better water proofing than the old sign, to help reduce maintenance costs. The slogan was originally “The World Takes, Trenton Makes” and came from a contest sponsored by the Trenton Chamber of Commerce in 1910. S. Roy Heath, the former Heath Lumber founder and New Jersey State Senator, coined the phrase.
18 June 1910, Trenton (NJ) Evening Times, pg. 1, col. 2:
CITY’S NEW SLOGAN “THE WORLD TAKES—TRENTON MAKES” BY S. ROY HEATH
COMMERCE CHAMBER PRIZE
WON BY LOCAL TALENT
Two Other Trentonians Among the Best Four
Submitting Advertising Catch Lines from
All Parts of the Country and Abroad --
Wide Publicity Has Been Gained
“The World Takes—Trenton Makes,” submitted by S. Roy Heath, has been selected by the Publicity Committee of the Trenton Chamber of Commerce as the winner of the slogan contest conducted for the purpose of securing an advertising catch-line to spread the industrial and commercial fame of New Jersey’s Capital to all parts of the globe.
U.S. News & World Report
Oct 1, 1992
Pg. 90, col. 2 photo caption:
China makes, the world takes. Assembling cameras in Shenzhen, on the booming south coast
29 October 2001, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Pace of change startling in China’s latest revolution,” pg. C1:
That China makes and the world takes isn’t news, of course.
22 January 2002, Centre Daily Times (State College, PA), “Life after NAFTA: Foreign Competition has forced garment makers to move overseas,” pg. 1E:
“China makes it, and the world takes it. You have to go with the times.”
The Atlantic (July/August 2007)
China Makes, The World Takes
A look inside the world’s manufacturing center shows that America should welcome China’s rise—for now.
By James Fallows
Half the time I have spent in China I have spent in factories. At least that’s how it feels—and it’s a feeling I sought. The factories where more than 100 million Chinese men and women toil, and from which cameras, clothes, and every other sort of ware flow out to the world, are to me the most startling and intense aspect of today’s China. For now, they are also the most important. They are startling above all in their scale.
The Jubak Picks:
50 stocks that will rebuild your wealth and safeguard your future
By Jim Jubak
New York, NY: Crown Business
Ride the train through Trenton, New Jersey, and you will pass an old steel bridge across the Delaware River emblazoned with the slogan “Trenton Makes—the World Takes” in huge neon letters. In 1910, when the Trenton Chamber of Commerce adopted the motto, this slogan was literally true. Trenton churned out steel, rubber, wire, rope, linoleum, and ceramics for markets around the world.
A century later that’s no longer true. Today China makes. And so does India. And Vietnam. And Brazil. The developing economies of the world have become the world’s factories.
The New Yorker
The Financial Page
The Frugal Republic
by James Surowiecki
December 7, 2009
“China makes, the world takes.” For decades, that has been the motto of the Chinese economy, which is built on providing an endless supply of goods for the rest of the world to buy. But these days there’s a palpable sense that this needs to change.
The way we’ll live next
By John D. Kasarda and Greg Lindsay
New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
The Chinese may or may not have a saying: “China makes, the world takes.” But they have run their economy this way for thirty years.
China Law & Policy
Gary Locke’s Take on U.S.-China Relations – “Trenton Makes the World Takes”
By Elizabeth M. Lynch, January 13, 2011
I used to think I was the only one who noticed the huge, weird, angry sign “Trenton Makes the World Takes” plastered on the Delaware Bridge just outside the New Jersey city of Trenton. So imagine my surprise when this slogan was featured in Commerce Secretary Gary Locke’s speech about U.S.-China relations before the U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC) on Thursday. For Locke, the manufacturing center of Trenton during the early 20th Century is China today; it’s China that now makes and the world takes.
Apple Store in China Pelted With Eggs After Suspending New iPhone Sales
By Ben Johnson and Slate Staff
Posted Friday, Jan. 13, 2012, at 3:59 PM ET
The old saying is “China makes and the world takes.” But the story of the growing appetites of the country’s consumer class was brought into sharp relief when a giant mob gathered in front of a Beijing Apple store for new iPhones turned ugly upon the announcement that sales would be halted.