14 Great Products Still Made Here
Think very little is made in America? Think again—not only are there plenty of wonderful products manufactured here in the US, there’s reason to believe American manufacturing will increase in the years ahead. A 2014 survey by The Boston Consulting Group found that 16% of large American companies are in the process of bringing production previously done in China back to the US…and an additional 20% are considering doing so in the near future.
American-made items are worth seeking out. Companies that make things in the US do so partly because it makes it easier to ensure that their products will be of consistently high quality. Buying American also supports American workers…the American economy…and American communities—a single manufacturing facility can breathe life into an entire region.
Bottom Line/Personal wrote about great American-made products a few years back. Here’s a look at even more…*
• Stylish, colorful dinnerware. The Homer Laughlin China Company has made Fiesta Dinnerware in West Virginia since the 1930s. This popular ceramic dinnerware is glazed in a range of beautiful, distinctive solid colors. It comes with an impressive five-year guarantee against most chipping or breaking. Fiesta dinnerware is reasonably priced—dinner plates cost $12.99 apiece, for example. It’s available through retailers including Amazon.com, Kohl’s and Macy’s. It’s collectible, too—vintage Fiestaware in discontinued colors sometimes sells for significantly more than it originally cost. FiestaFactoryDirect.com
• Cast-iron cookware. The Lodge Manufacturing Company has made Lodge Cast-Iron skillets and other cookware in Tennessee since the 1890s. Prices are very competitive—a nine-inch cast-iron skillet costs $22…a five-quart cast-iron Dutch oven, $60. Lodge products are available at retailers including Amazon.com, Target, Walmart and Williams-Sonoma. Cast iron is heavy and expensive to ship, so it’s generally best to purchase it locally or through an online seller that offers free shipping. LodgeMfg.com
Note: Lodge manufactures all of its seasoned cast-iron products in the US, but its enameled cast-iron products are made abroad.
• Drinking cups. The Tervis Tumbler Company, headquartered in Florida, has been making high-quality plastic tumblers, mugs and drinking bottles since the 1940s. Tervis Tumblers maintain beverage temperature better than most cups and protect furniture by minimizing condensation. They are pricier than other plastic cups—a clear 16-ounce tumbler costs $11, for example—but they also are much more durable. Tervis products can be found on Amazon.com and at Bed Bath & Beyond. Tervis.com
Shoes and Apparel
• High-end men’s shoes. Allen Edmonds has been handcrafting classically styled men’s shoes in Wisconsin since the 1920s. These shoes are pricey—expect to pay $385 for a pair of dress shoes—but the leather quality and workmanship are exquisite. AllenEdmonds.com
• “Barefoot” sneakers. Colorado’s SOM Footwear manufactures sneakers (and other shoes) that make their wearers feel almost like they are not wearing shoes at all. Prices are similar to those of other footwear of comparably high quality—SOM’s SP-L3 Classic all-black leather shoe sells for $138, for example. SOM’s products currently are available only direct from the company or through a small number of Colorado shoe stores. SOMFootwear.com
• Women’s fashion. More than 90% of the clothing made by designer Karen Kane is manufactured in the US, mainly in California. The Karen Kane line is known for producing women’s garments—including dresses, sweaters, tops, skirts and pants—that manage to be both casual and luxurious. Many pieces are priced in the $90-to-$150 range. Kane’s clothes are available at many department stores including Bloomingdale’s, Dillard’s, Macy’s and Nordstrom. KarenKane.com
• Sweats. Massachusetts-based Goodwear makes sweatshirts, sweatpants and T-shirts from American-grown and spun cotton. Prices are competitive for garments of this quality—Goodwear’s Heavyweight Hoodie sells for about $53, for example. Goodwear.com
• Pocket multitool. The Leatherman Tool Group has been making Leatherman Multitools in Oregon since the 1980s. Multitools are comparable to Swiss Army Knives, but with pliers built in. A range of varieties are available, such as the Leatherman Wingman, which features 14 tools and costs $39.85. Leatherman tools are sold at retailers including Amazon.com, Kmart, Lowe’s, Sears and Walmart. Leatherman.com
• Hammers and hatchets. The Illinois-based company now known as Vaughan & Bushnell Manufacturing has been making tools in the US since the 1860s. Its Vaughan-brand hammers, hatchets, handsaws and pry bars are sold at retailers including Amazon.com, Grainger, The Home Depot and Walmart. VaughanMfg.com
Similar: Illinois-based Estwing manufactures hammers, hatchets, axes and pry bars in the US as well. They’re available at Amazon.com, Grainger, The Home Depot, Sears, Walmart and elsewhere. Estwing.com
• Pliers and wrenches. Illinois-based Klein Tools, a company that dates to the 1850s, continues to make the vast majority of its products in the US. Klein offers more than 3,000 tools and accessories, including drill bits, cable and bolt cutters, and more than 100 varieties of pliers. Klein products can be found at retailers including Grainger, The Home Depot and TrueValue. KleinTools.com
• Flashlights. All Maglite flashlights are designed and manufactured in the US by California-based Mag Instrument, Inc. The company offers a full line of flashlights ranging from a pocket-size $20 LED flashlight up to a $210 643-lumen LED rechargeable flashlight used by many police forces. A 600-lumen flashlight is like a portable spotlight. Maglites are sold at Amazon.com, Lowe’s, Target, Walmart and elsewhere. Maglite.com
• Building toys. About 75% of the components of K’nex construction toys—including all of the bricks, rods and connectors—are manufactured in the US. The Pennsylvania company recently purchased the well-known Lincoln Logs and Tinkertoy brands and returned the production of most of their components to America as well. Some K’nex products, including the 52 Model K’nex Building Set and the Tinkertoy 100-Piece Essential Value Set (each $34.99) are 100% US-made. The company’s toys are available at Amazon.com, Target, Toys “R” Us and Walmart among many other locations. Knex.com
• Crayons. Most Crayola crayons and markers are made at the company’s Pennsylvania factory. Helpful: Some Crayola-brand products—including most Crayola plastic toys—are made overseas. Look for “Made in the USA” on the label or search for American-made products on Crayola’s website.
• Riding toys. Ohio-based Little Tikes Company has been making its Cozy Coupe in the US for 30 years. The hugely popular red-and-yellow ride-in toy sells for $54.99. Little Tikes makes hundreds of other toys in the US as well, including the Lil’ Wagon ($26.99) and TotSports Basketball Set ($24.99). Little Tikes products are available at Amazon.com, Target, Walmart and elsewhere. LittleTikes.com
Helpful: Certain Little Tikes toys are not US-made. Click here to find a listing of its American-made products.