American-Made —- or Not

On a recent news series done by World News with Diane Sawyer, several journalists visited the home of a normal, everyday family to find out how many items in their household were made in the U.S.A. The parents and their two children looked under furniture, bedding, decorations and small kitchen appliances, only to find most of those items were made outside the United States. They were sent out of while the journalists and a team of workers removed everything from the house that was not made here. When the family returned, they were surprised that they didn’t have a refrigerator, oven, microwave, or even beds. The journalists worked with the family, going to stores and making phone calls to many manufacturing companies to find products made only in America. They were able to replace most of the items that had been removed with products made here. The reason for the series was to try to get consumers to buy American-made products, which would bring more jobs to our country.

I started to wonder what I might find going through my house, and I want to start buying all American-made products. I know most of my furniture was made in North Carolina, as were my bedding and most of my towels. Some towels were made in Pakistan, and all potholders were made in China. My hairbrush, comb, Conair blow dryer, alarm clock, blender and Rival crock pot, and all my dinnerware were made in China. My flatware is Oneida, made in the United States before the company was bought out by Pearl Revolution. The factory here in the states was closed in 2005, but there is an Oneida factory in Canada. All of my soaps, shampoo, hairspray and perfume are made here in the States.

I was a quite concerned to find that my Rival crock pot is no longer made in the U.S. and is made in China. I became more concerned when I learned that the ceramic dish inside the crock pot has lead in it that leaches when heated to over 80 degrees, and I use my crock pot quite often. Hamilton Beach claims their crock pot does not have lead in it, and there are some crock pots that use stoneware instead of ceramic, so I’ll have to do some more research before replacing my Rival.

In doing research to discover what I can buy to replace other items in my home, I discovered there are still quite a few companies that manufacture household items here in the U.S. Amana Woolen Mill, Brahms Mount Textiles and Celia Rachel make bedding, comforters and baby blankets, and Advanced Eco Tex of Parker, Colorado makes antimicrobial towels. Emerson Creek Pottery of Bedford, VA makes a wide variety of handmade bathroom accessories, while Essence makes nylon bath rug sets that can be found at Target stores. Arizona Sun, Burt’s Bees, Kiss My Face and Crabtree & Evelyn make natural and organic skincare products here. Companies such as Niagara China, Niagara, NY and The Vermont Bowl Co of Wilmington, VT offer American-made dinnerware, while Diamond Craft of Indianapolis and Kitchen Craft of Wisconsin offer American-made pots and pans. Anchor Hocking, of Lancaster, OH still makes glassware, ovenware and storage containers in the U.S.

All major brands of toasters and toaster ovens, such as West Bend, Waring, Hamilton Beach, Kitchen Aid, Black & Decker, Oster and Sunbeam are no longer made in the U.S.A. The only coffee maker that is made in the U.S. is made by Bunn. The only blow dryers that are made here are for professional use and not available to consumers. The list goes on and on, and doesn’t even take into consideration where our clothes, shoes and outerwear are made.

Some people believe that buying products made in other countries cost less than what would be paid for American-made products. However, with the cost of fuel rising, shipping charges increase, and that in turn will increase (and already has increased) the prices the consumer pays for everyday products. With more and more people purchasing American-made products, shipping costs would decline, and therefore product pricing could be lowered. In the long term, the demand for items made in our country will give rise to more jobs. Even if we replace a few items at a time, the end result would be more jobs and fewer people on unemployment. It’s what America needs now.