Having just swallowed the bitter pill of a New York City manhole cover with “Made in India” on it, I gained instant relief as I drank in the Feltraiger store in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.
Started by two brothers in 2010, Feltraiger is a U.S.-made menswear brand “driven by an idea of American rebellion, while individual collections gather inspiration from specific American sub-cultures.”
We definitely need more rebellion against imported products. So Feltraiger is among the U.S.-made brands or products that I’m highlighting in advance of the holiday shopping season. (Click here to learn about other domestic products that I have featured in the past couple of years.)
LODGE CAST IRON
Joseph Lodge opened his first foundry in 1896, and more than a century later his great-grandsons serve as CEO and president of Lodge Cast Iron. The only American maker of full-line cast iron cookware, Lodge nearly doubled its production capacity with a recent expansion in South Pittsburg, Tenn.
OK, so David Essex is a British guy, but his 1974 hit “Rock On” name-checked American icon James Dean and included the line, “blue Jean, baby queen, prettiest girl I’ve ever seen.”
Blue jeans are pretty American, and the number of U.S. makers numbers in the double digits. They include Baldwin Denim & Collection, Detroit Denim, Imogene + Willie, Jean Shop, Left Field, Raleigh Denim Workshop, Rogue Territory, Roy Denim, Telleson and 3sixteen.
No brag, just fact. It’s OK to call yourself “America’s Flatware Company” if you’re the only U.S. maker of flatware. That’s the case for Sherrill Manufacturing’s Liberty Tabletop brand, based in Sherrill, N.Y.
What goes better with a pair of U.S.-made jeans than a pair of boots manufactured in America? Among your options are Red Wing, Danner, Chippewa, L.L. Bean boots, Carolina, Gorilla USA, and Boston Boot’s Lewiston model (full disclosure, my brother-in-law owns Boston Boot.)
CRAZY AARON’S THINKING PUTTY
Aaron Muderick is crazy all right — crazy like a fox. A website designer, he was always on the lookout for the “ultimate desk toy.” He convinced his colleagues to go in on 100 pounds of bouncing putty.
The rest, as they say, is Crazy Aaron’s history. Some of Crazy Aaron’s putty is magnetic, some of it changes colors, and all of it is made in suburban Philadelphia.
An estimated 2 million tons of single-use plastic bottles end up in landfills each year, according to Boulder, Colo.-based Polar Bottle. A reusable, insulated Polar Bottle is a good alternative. What’s more, it comes with a lifetime guarantee and free cap replacements. And you can get 30 percent off your first bottle by signing up for the company’s newsletter.
LUKE’S TOY FACTORY
These retro-looking toys also are environmentally friendly: made from sawdust left over from furniture manufacturing.
From the company’s website: “We believe that [kids’] toys should of course, be fun. But we also believe they should be made responsibly and sustainably using only the highest quality materials available, with attention paid to the smallest detail. And we believe they should be made in the United States where quality and safety can be ensured throughout the production life cycle.”
M.N. DAVIS & SON
When I delivered newspapers as a child, I had a zippered red bag that I put my money in. M.N. Davis’ zippered pouches remind me of that bag. The Brooklyn company’s printed cotton-canvas totes and bags feature silkscreen designs meant to look like vintage feed sacks.
If after all of the preceding you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, or if you’ve really gotten the bug about buying American made, then there’s Norton’s USA in Barrington, Ill. Opened in 2007 in a former livery barn, Norton’s offers more than 4,000 products from 500-plus manufacturers. Of course, Norton’s is available online 24/7.