30 American Made Designs We Love
In our American Modern issue out now, we feature 20 new designs manufactured stateside. Last year, we also rounded up classic and contemporary US-made products ranging from lighting to tableware to furniture to building materials. If you missed that issue, find select stories online here and see the 30 items below.
It takes 27 mechanized steps to crank out a General’s Test Scoring pencil. One of them is laying the hot graphite into the California incense cedar shafts; another is applying the five layers of paint that coat the sturdy stick’s exterior. We hope Scantron appreciates the effort.
Produced not far outside New York City, Ducduc’s Dylan crib is just the flexible nest for your budding modernist. The crib converts to a toddler bed and then a daybed as your child grows, making its design as varied and long-lasting as it is sublimely simple. The average Dylan crib is handmade by a team of eight skilled artisans out of entirely American materials.
Viking keeps its manufacturing lean by only building what’s already been sold, and the manufacturing process is equally refined. From start to finish, the average Designer Series range takes about six hours to complete in Viking’s Mississippi factories.
Imagine a fly swatter from the 19th century, and you’ll likely picture this Amish-made bug smasher from the Ohio-based “old-fashioned, non-electric merchandise” emporium Lehman’s. The handsome head is made from one-eighth-inch-thick, hand-sewn cowhide, and you can rest assured no machine helped form the 15-inch wire handle.
Not only made in America, the Swell Seating Collection and its pieces are nearly all made in Pennsylvania. The specialized sewing necessary to produce the slings that make up the seats is done at Schultz HQ in Palm, Pennsylvania, in a converted glove factory. Even the vendor who makes the cardboard boxes for shipping this outdoor furniture is just down the road.
Each Kingstown barstool is made from sustainably harvested hardwood sourced from forests in the Midwest and on the East Coast. The stool’s production marries traditional handcrafting techniques and modern machining methods, and the structural cross between the legs is made from castoffs and remnants of Studio Dunn’s other products.
The mountain pine beetle has ravaged broad swaths of our northern forests, killing millions of western pines nationwide. The wood of the trees they effect, however, takes on a handsome bluish cast, and the folks at Greeno mill the dead wood into usable flooring.
Though Domestic Aesthetic is based in Brooklyn, its undulating Bamboo tray is handcrafted in Detroit. Its makers had previously worked supplying metal parts to the auto industry but have branched out into other materials. Made using a CNC router and then hand-sanded, the Bamboo tray is a prime example of American manufacturers moving into new territory to stay vital.
Made to fit your standard six-pack, designer Patrick Long’s handsome canvas sack has its priorities straight. Long and his “nuts-and-bolts studio run by multitaskers” in Portland, Oregon, produce around 1,250 bags per year. They make them of fabric that is dyed and finished by a family-run business in New Jersey.
Like organic Capsela constructions hovering over the dining table, Lindsey Adelman’s Branching Bubbles chandeliers have a Brooklyn-born brand of industrial expressionism. The one-off quality of the handblown globes and rigor of the handmade arms express Adelman’s marriage of wabi-sabi and modernist tendencies.
We love Sausalito, California–based Heath Ceramics for carrying the torch of mid-century design and California manufacturing. For their drinking glasses, they linked up with an 80-year-old glassblowing workshop in West Virginia. Each glass is touched by no fewer than ten artisans—who blow and finish every piece by hand—before it heads to market.
Oregon’s Pendleton Woolen Mills produces a small group of colorful blankets inspired by America’s great open spaces that are a fitting and cozy ode to our great national parks.
Before you got into urban homesteading, before you were drinking obscure Vermont microbrews out of them at the off-campus co-op, even before your grandmother started keeping her leftovers in them, Ball’s Mason jars were a near perfect example of food storage.
As potent today as when the Great Bambino swung one. Nothing screams “America” louder or with such verve as a Louisville Slugger. They’re still made in downtown Louisville, and from Jeter to junior, they still provide that blissful crack of the bat.
No, your Ray-Bans won’t get you laughed out of the barbecue, but if the aim is to look like, you know, an actual pilot, you can’t go wrong with the glasses Randolph Engineering makes for the military.
Ask a child to draw a picture of a picnic basket and you’ll get something rather like this handmade holder of outdoor treats. Best of all, a wooden divider on the bottom protects that apple pie from undue jostling, though it won’t stave off Yogi Bear.
Though the residents of the last working Shaker village may have set aside their tools, you can still get your fix of elegant simplicity from the replicas produced by Shaker Workshops. The slightly splay-legged form and low back of the Enfield dining chair would work well in any interior.
Made since 1896 and refreshingly unattached to any celebrity chef, the 12-inch skillet from Lodge Cast Iron is a built-for-the-ages stalwart of American-made cookware. Perfect for baking, braising, and bashing any unwanted intruders.
The purest expression of what American mailboxness is and ever will be, the Gibraltar ALM 11000 is a poem in smooth finished aluminum. Pick one up at any big hardware store for under $20.
A bellwether in America’s shift in taste toward modern design, potter and artist Russel Wright’s 1937 American Modern line of dishes and tableware has all the clean, expressive warmth you’d want on the dining table. And yes, that even goes for the creamer.
At Mattermade, nothing is more important than capturing the exact specifics of a design, which means that the best results are achieved without the use of machines. An actual person bends and welds the steel cages that support the Circus shelves, and the rift-cut, Forest Stewardship Coucil–certified oak is also finished by hand. Here, production methods never alter a design; instead they steadfastly serve it.
The clean lines and warm finish make the Evans table a good fit for trads, mods, and those who can’t make up their minds. The family-run metal fabricator Bell Manufacturing makes the steel bases; the process of machining, grinding, hand-welding, and painting takes about a day to complete. Room & Board then assembles the tops and bases.
The average 736 TR spends about eight hours on the production line, but it’s the 5 to 24 hours spent on test runs that assure the quality of this Energy Star–rated appliance. Pieces and components come from all over the world for this fridge—wiring harnesses from Mexico, electronics from Japan—but the aluminum and steel are all American-milled and the plastic sheets that make up the interior are all
vacuum-formed on-site in Phoenix.
The Portland Cement Co. makes these tiles out of a proprietary concrete, which is cast in a wedge-shaped seven-inch-hexagon mold and left to dry overnight, then for a few weeks on a baking sheet.
Made using 288 recycled plastic milk jugs, the Racer rocker zips down the fast lane of sustainable design. Reuse is a big part of Loll’s production ethos: All its products are made at the Hawks Boots Sustainable Manufacturing Facility, which for nearly 80 years prior to Loll’s purchase was a concrete plant that made culverts, burial vaults, pilings, and the like.
Made to order in the heart of Los Angeles from luxurious foreign fabrics, the 600-thread-count Sei duvet cover is cut and sewn at Matteo’s factory, which is adjacent to its design studio. From there the finished product is garment dyed (a rarity among bed linens because it produces slight variations in color between batches) just miles away in downtown L.A.
Simple lines, rich materials, and elegant craftsmanship are the hallmarks of Seattle’s premier custom kitchen shop, Henrybuilt. Made with FSC-certified wood by the 20 craftspeople in the company’s downtown workshop, these eye-catching islands and comely counters keep the kitchen at the center of the home.
Expert metal fabricators construct the modular Icon Wall System. One or more covers a process that includes laser cutting, precision bends (made using tools more common in military and automotive work), and finishing while another handles the final assembly. Each box in the system takes a little over an hour to complete, which means the southern New Jersey factory can make just six per day.