Hello: The manufacturers respond to market forces. Collectively, we have voted with our dollars and told them in a clear voice that purchase price is the most important consideration. Heaters cost little more now than they did in 1925. However, back then, the tank could be had in solid copper and could easily last for fifty years.
Manufacturers back then competed on the basis of quality rather than price. As we begin to opt for more efficient or more versatile heaters, the manufacturers will provide them, rather than lose market share. Now I’ll step down off the soapbox 😎