These days, it’s hard to find things that are still made here in the States. Even brands that sound patriotic usually have some fine print further down past the eagles on the packaging saying they’ve shipped things from China or somewhere similar.
I’ve been on a hunt the past few years to find companies I can support that make their products here still. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. After all, as the saying goes, they just don’t make things like they used to, but here are a few places that do.
I wouldn’t call myself a good guitarist by any stretch, but I do a very good run through of the 4-chord classic rock canon. This company makes a bunch of guitar straps from old car upholstery and seat belts, which couldn’t really be any cooler. They do belts and wallets, too, all out of CA and for very reasonable prices. Glad to give them my business for men’s accessories.
Darn Tough (what a name, right?) is a sock company from the tiny state of Vermont. They make socks that are guaranteed to last forever. Now, they don’t actually last indefinitely, and I’ve worn through a pair or two myself. They last for years, though, and when they get holes, you can bring them back to the store to swap them for some fresh ones. I don’t always do that, mostly because I’m pleased with the service they give me, and I like to support a good business instead of taking advantage of them. Highly recommended in the hosiery department, folks.
When I take my cars out for a road trip, the first thing I grab is my Duluth Pack. These bags last forever, much longer than cheap Chinese luggage. You pay a small fortune up front, but it’s well worth it over the long term, trust me. They’re heavy-duty leather, with solid metal clasps and rivets. Indestructible, and they’re something you end up just holding to appreciate the quality.
Whenever it gets cold, there’s nothing better than a good wool blanket, right? I don’t know how much more to say about Pendleton besides that they make sweaters and mittens as well. Just good simple wool products from here in the heartland.
As I’ve written many times, I’m a classic American eater. Nothing too fancy, just good home cooking. When I get to making supper for my wife and I, I generally use a cast iron pan. They’re pretty near bullet proof, and they’re the only thing you could possibly use for southern cooking. Lodge is a family company making cast iron here in the Appalachians.
I don’t color much anymore, like most guys my age, but when I was out buying Christmas presents for the grandkids, I got the urge to take a look at the box, and lo and behold, everyone’s favorite crayons are still made here! Well done, Crayola.
Guitars: Fender, Gibson, Martin
Guitars are one of the most distinctive pieces of American manufacturing after cars, I’d say. These three big makers all make their instruments here, although Gibson imports their Epiphone instruments and Fender has a few different offshoots made in Mexico or Asia. Still, when it comes to premier sound, pretty much every artist buys one of these three brands, which is a big victory for our craftsmen
Fuel injector cleaners, additives, and spare car parts
The more I’ve gotten involved in restoring and repairing my fleet of vintage cars, the more I’ve learned that when it comes to where the best mechanical products and parts are made, some things don’t change.
Pretty much every single tool, solution, or additive I use in my garage is from right here in the states. I get all my fuel injector cleaners, fuel additives, wrenches, and spare parts here. All my upholstery in the redone interiors is US vinyl, too. I mean, you couldn’t ruin a perfectly beautiful American vehicle with cheap Chinese junk, could you?
So, not only do we still make the best cars in the world (I think that’s indisputable since Ford got their act together last decade), we still make all the things you need to keep them running like the best in the world.
There you have it-my list of American companies you should give your patronage. If you’ve got any suggestions for additions, please let me know in the forum. I’d be interested to see what I’ve missed. Let’s hear it for American manufacturing.
Until next time.