Iconic brands still Made in the USA

Home Inside FCNews Iconic brands still Made in the USA

April 27/May 4, 2015; Volume 29/Number 2

By Ken Ryan

Bringing manufacturing back home has been one of the biggest trends in the Made in the USA comeback story. But some brands never left America’s shores. Here are 10 of the most recognizable brands that are still made in the U.S.

 Company: 3M

Product: Post-it Notes

Made in: Minneapolis

Invented by 3M employee Art Fry in 1974, the Post-it Note first hit stores as “Press ‘n Peel” in 1977 before getting its trademark name in 1980. Though knockoff versions have been produced since 3M’s patent expired in the 1990s, Post-it Notes are still made at a plant in Cynthiana, Ky., and 3M still calls Minnesota home.


Company: Steinway & Sons

Product: Pianos

Made in: New York

Steinway’s grand pianos have been mass manufactured by hand in New York since 1853 but came to life in 1836 when cabinetmaker Heinrich Engelhard Steinway built the first in his kitchen in Germany. He built nearly 500 in the next decade and in 1850 used the proceeds to move his family to the U.S. In 1853, his family changed its name to Steinway, founded Steinway & Sons in a Manhattan loft on Varick Street and remained in the city ever since.


Company: Louisville Slugger

Product: Baseball bats

Made in: Louisville, Ky.

Today Louisville Slugger employs 155 people at its 100,000-square-foot factory in Louisville. The company has survived fires and floods to remain one of the most popular suppliers of baseball bats. Of the 1 million bats it produces a year, 60,000 go to pro ballplayers.


Company: Gibson Guitar

Product: Guitars

Made in: Nashville

Orville Gibson started the company that would produce the genre’s signature item, the electric guitar. Gibson launched Gibson Guitar in 1896 in Kalamazoo, Mich., which released its first electric guitar in 1936. After the original Kalamazoo plant closed in 1984, the headquarters of Gibson moved to Nashville. Gibson makes 2,500 guitars a week at its Gibson USA plant and employs 500 workers who help to hand craft each guitar.


Company: Poof-Slinky

Product: Slinky

Made in: Hollidaysburg, Pa.

The toy was first launched at Gimbel’s department store in Philadelphia in 1945. The makers were unsure of how the toy would sell, but the first 400 sold out within 90 minutes and the rest is history. More than 300 million Slinky toys have been sold since its introduction in 1945. In 1966 Slinky moved its production to Hollidaysburg, Pa., where the toys are still made.


Company: Hershey

Product: Candy

Made in: Hershey, Pa.

Around the turn of the 20th century, Milton Hershey began experimenting with candy manufacturing. After two unsuccessful business ventures, he found success with Lancaster Caramel, but Hershey’s true interest was chocolate; he sold his caramel company in 1900 for $1 million and manufactured the first Hershey’s chocolate bar soon after. Today the company makes candy in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Illinois. The main facility and headquarters remains in Hershey, Pa., a.k.a. the “Sweetest Place on Earth.”


Company: Wiffle Ball

Product: Wiffle balls

Made in: Shelton, Conn.

It may not be considered the national pastime, but since the early 1950s wiffle ball has been an American staple. Started in 1953 by David N. Mullany, Wiffle Ball has changed very little since it released its original products. In fact, the Wiffle Ball bat and ball still have the same dimensions as when they were first sold, with the same artwork on the box. Today the company still manufactures its products in Shelton, Conn.; it remains a family-run company with just 12 full-time employees.


Company: Wilson

Product: Footballs

Made in: Ada, Ohio

Since 1955 Wilson has made every football used professionally, including those used in the Super Bowls, at its Ada factory. Today the small town, located 80 miles from Columbus, Ohio, produces 4,000 footballs a day and 700,000 a year. It remains the only dedicated football factory in the world, employing 120 full-time workers averaging 23 years of work experience.


Company: Crayola

Product: Crayons

Made in: Easton, Pa.

When Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith won a gold medal at the 1900 World’s Fair for a dustless chalk product, they were simply responding to the needs of local teachers. It wasn’t until three years later that they would create their iconic product: a set of safe and affordable wax crayons. Crayola has not moved far from its original production center in Pennsylvania. Since 1969 the company has manufactured its popular crayons at its Easton and Bethlehem, Pa., factories. The Easton factory has produced over 1 billion crayons.


Company: Harley-Davidson

Product: Motorcycles

Made in: Milwaukee, Wis.

For the past century, the Harley-Davidson name has been linked to motorcycles. Started in 1903 by two sets of brothers, the Harley-Davidson company grew out of a wooden shed in Milwaukee, where childhood friends Arthur Davidson and William S. Harley began to experiment with a combustion engine that would fit into a bicycle. The company sold its first motorcycle in 1903. Today Harley-Davidson headquarters is still in Milwaukee.

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