– Cindy Hammond

With the economy as bad as it is, now is a good time to start buying American made products. In fact, it should be a number one priority. If you’re like me, you’ve noticed that almost everything for sale in the big box stores is made in China. I’ve compiled a list of companies that manufacturer products in our country, the United States of America. Purchasing American made products not only help to keep Americans employed, but keeps American businesses in business so American employees can continue to work there. Show your support American, and Americans, by buying American made! Here are just a few products and companies worth checking out.

Artifact Bag Co.
Artifact Bag Co. began February 2010 in the owner’s basement with a vintage commercial sewing machine found on Craigslist. In December 2010, Chris Hughes left his job to run Artifact full-time. It may be the best decision he’s ever made. All Artifact products are handmade in Omaha, NE using the finest waxed canvas and leather. Lifetime Guarantee – Artifact Bag Co. stands behind their materials and workmanship.
Hamilton Carhartt initially established a furnishing business which would continue to drive his ambition to succeed and lead him to create his own products.After talking with a railroad engineer, he created an overall garment specifically for the railroad worker which had never been made before. Hamilton Carhartt founded his namesake company in 1889 and began making work wear with a single goal in mind: Set a standard of excellence to which all others would aspire. With entrepreneurial vision and determination, Hamilton Carhartt established a brand that has stood the test of time.

“From the mill to millions” was their motto and was reflected in their operations which included cotton production, denim mills and apparel manufacturing facilities. Carhartt Master Cloth was designed and woven especially by their mills for use in Carhartt garments and was pledged to be the best cloth that could be produced. Today, Carthartt’s company remains a family owned operation committed to the mission of providing Best-in-Class apparel for the active worker. 

 Johnson Woolen Mills
“We’re native Vermonters. We go back to the 1790s” said Stacy Barrows Manosh. “The family came over here from England and settled in Irasburg, VT. My great-great-grandfather is buried there. They were farmers and then my great-grandfather became a retailer and he owned a store in Woodsville, NH. About 1905, this great-grandfather bought a half interest in the Johnson mill from its owner I.L. Pearl, and in 1907 he bought Pearl out altogether and changed the name to Johnson Woolen Mills to better represent what the company did. And now, over a century and a half and four generations later, Johnson Woolen Mills continues making world famous products, integrating old world values with new world ideas, all with a very bright eye to the future.

The Levi’s® brand epitomizes classic American style and effortless cool. Since the invention and patent of riveted clothing by Jacob Davis and company founder Levi Strauss in 1873, Levi’s® jeans have become the most recognizable and imitated clothing in the world – capturing the imagination and loyalty of people for generations. And while the patent has long since expired, the Levi’s® brand portfolio continues to evolve through a relentless pioneering and innovative spirit that is unparalleled in the apparel industry. Our range of leading jeanswear and accessories are available in more than 110 countries, allowing individuals around the world to express their personal style. 

L.L.Bean, Inc., has been a trusted source for quality apparel, reliable outdoor equipment and expert advice for 100 years. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company began as one-man operation. With L.L.’s firm belief in keeping customers satisfied as a guiding principle, the company eventually grew to a global organization with annual sales of $1.44 billion. Our company headquarters are in Freeport, Maine, just down the road from our original store. As they mark their 100th anniversary in 2012, a satisfied customer is still their most important goal. They’re proud of their heritage and values, and they invite you to celebrate with exciting events and activities throughout the year. 

The handsewn moccasin goes back hundreds of years to the native Passamaquoddy of Downeast Maine. Handsewing was employed to create moccasins, bark containers, even their sleek and seaworthy birch bark canoes. In 1909 Harry Smith Shorey resolved to rise above his affliction with polio (like a summer resident across the Bay of Fundy, FDR) and start a business making footwear with handsewn moccasin construction inspired by the native craft. His customers were local shoe purveyors (like LL Bean) and hunting and fishing guides who appreciated the comfort, durability, and natural feel of a true moccasin construction shoe.

By the mid twentieth century, Quoddy had become synonymous with the lasting quality and beauty of Maine handsewn footwear. In the 60’s the Ringboot became an icon of the whole earth culture that emphasized handcraft and harmony with nature. Today the Quoddy workshop is located in Lewiston, the historical home of Maine shoe manufacturing. The headquarters and heart of the company remains in Perry, on the shores of Passamaquoddy Bay.

In the early 1930s, at the Bradford Country Club in Bradford, Pennsylvania. George G. Blaisdell watched a friend awkwardly using a cumbersome Austrian-made lighter. The lighter worked well, even in the wind, due to the design of the chimney. But its appearance was utilitarian. Its use required two hands, and its thin metal surface dented easily.

Late in 1932, he decided to refashion the Austrian lighter. Mr. Blaisdell fabricated a rectangular case and attached the top of the lighter to the case with a hinge. He retained the chimney design which protected the flame under adverse conditions. The result was a lighter that looked good and was easy to operate. The first Zippo lighter, currently displayed at the Zippo/Case Museum in Bradford, was produced in early 1933 and sold for $ 1.95 each. And, from the very beginning, they were backed by Mr. Blaisdell’s unconditional lifetime guarantee – “It works or we fix it free. ™” The name “Zippo” was created by Mr. Blaisdell. He liked the sound of the word “zipper” so he formed different variations of the word and settled on “Zippo,” deciding that it had a “modern” sound.

Now that you’ve read this far, you’re on your way to buying American made products made by Americans. Show your patriotism by buying as many products made in the good ole’ U.S. of A.!

And here are just a few resources, lists of places you can buy American made, just to get you started.
A Continuous Lean
American Made Matters
American Manufacturing
The Made In America Movement