Tag Archives: made in USA

Made in the USA: Dishes, dinnerware and serving pieces

When my  husband and I moved halfway across the country last year, we decided to leave our old dishes behind and buy new ones. It was important to me to buy lead-free dinnerware made in the USA. The shopping process proved harder than I’d expected. Not many companies sell dinnerware manufactured in the United States. I did find one whose plates I liked, however: The Homer Laughlin China Company. It’s been making dishes in America since 1871. The company is best known for its Fiesta line of dinnerware, which comes in a rainbow of colors.

I bought my Fiesta dinnerware from Macy’s. For online shoppers, the store seems to have the best prices and selection. Wait for one of their sales, and you’ll get very competitive prices. Fiesta’s dinnerware line offers you serving pieces and accessories, including platters, pitchers, salt and pepper shakers and cream containers. You can also buy baking dishes, flatware and glasses. While the company is best known for its solid-color dinnerware, it also offers diner-style and Christmas patterns. Plates are dishwasher, oven and microwave safe.

What about other manufacturers? Here’s what I’ve found:

Corelle: According to its parent company, World Kitchen, all Corelle dinnwerware are made in Corning, New York. However, the company indicates some of its dishes with decorations contain “low-lead enamels.” The company has not answered the email I sent a week ago asking whether its entire product lineup is made in the USA or only its dinnerware.

Pickard calls itself “America’s oldest fine china company” and says it has manufactured in the USA since 1874. The company’s china patterns are a mixture of understated and color options. While beautiful, they may not be an option for those on a tight budget. The company told me, “We use a low lead glaze system that is fully FDA compliant.”

Lenox says its fine bone china is made in Kinston, North Carolina. The company’s Made in America Web page features a dozen patterns with classic styles.

HF Coors says its dinnerware is lead-free, with all products made in the USA. While cheaper than Lennox and Pickard, its dishes seem to be more expensive than Fiesta.

Pfaltzgraff did not respond to my email asking where its dinnerware is made, but a variety of online sources indicate the company stopped manufacturing in the United States in 2005.

All Louisville Stoneware products are made in Louisville, Kentucky. The company has been in business since 1815 and bills itself as the “oldest handmade pottery dealer in the USA.” Its product lineup includes 19 dinnerware patterns, and a representative assures me all its products are lead-free.

Do you know of another source of dinnerware and accessories made in America? Please leave a comment so others can learn of additional options.

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Finding running and athletic shoes made in the USA

In my last post, I explained why I’m trying to avoid products buying made in China. If I can’t find a particular item made in the USA, I hope to find a version manufactured in a country other than China. This is especially tough when it comes to running shoes.

Calling myself a “runner” might be a stretch–according to my mile times, I am more of a “jogger.” Either way, I need to wear shoes designed for running when working out because they offer extra protection as I pound the pavement. I learned the hard way what happens when you run in shoes not designed for jogging. The protection offered by running shoes subsides the longer you wear them, so I recently set out in search of running shoes made in the USA.

New Balance is the only company I could find that offers athletic shoes made in America. Not all New Balance models are made in the USA, but if you search for “made in USA” on the company’s website, you’ll get a list of its USA-made running and athletic shoes.
Update: A May 4, 2014, website posting by New Balance states that the company defines “made in the USA” as a shoe that has a “domestic value” of at least 70 percent, meaning at least that much of the shoe was made or assembled in America.

Unfortunately, New Balance didn’t offer shoes in my size, so I kept looking. I ended up buying a pair of Mizuno Wave Alchemy 11 shoes from Endless.com (a great source for hard-to-find sizes), which are made in Vietnam.  Not all Mizunos are made in Vietnam; a Mizuno customer service representative told me some are made in China. Looking on the back of the shoe’s tongue can tell you the manufacturing location. Mizuno delivered good customer service by answering my email within 36 hours.

I emailed the Nike Store to ask where Nike running shoes are made. Here’s the response I got: “Virtually all of our footwear is produced outside the United States. We also have manufacturing agreements with independent factories in Argentina, Brazil, India, Italy and South Africa to manufacture footwear for sale primarily within those countries. I cannot pinpoint which exact shoe are made in China and other countries.” The representative did point out one pair of Nike women’s running shoes made in the USA. I will give Nike’s customer service team a “thumbs up” for responding promptly and honestly to my email. I got a response in less than 48 hours.
Update: As of Dec. 31, 2013, no Nike running shoes (men’s or women’s) are made in America, according to a Nike representative.

I also emailed Dick’s Sporting Goods, a large online and bricks-and-mortar retailer, to ask which shoes it carries are made in the USA. The response from Dick’s staff was less helpful: “If you would like information on a specific product we would be more than happy to find out the country in which the item is made. We don’t have a way of searching for items made in the U.S.A on our website and therefore, are unable to suggest a specific product.” Dick’s staff does score well for customer service here. They answered my email on the same day they received it.

My last running shoes were Asics Gel Cumulus. The shoes’ tongue shows they were made in China. My husband’s Saucony Pro-Grid Ride running shoes (purchased recently) were made in Indonesia.

Have you found quality running or athletic shoes made in the USA? If so, please share information so others can buy shoes made in America.

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Where to find products made in the USA

I’ve never felt good about buying products made in other countries. Financially speaking, I prefer to support the economy and job market of my own country, not someone else’s. I don’t want to be part of subsidizing low-paying jobs and unsafe workplace conditions in other countries. My resolve to avoid products made in China was strengthened recently when I learned the country is kidnapping women and forcing them to have abortions (this Washington Post article offers details). Since then, I’ve decided to try harder to purchase product made in my own country and especially to avoid those made in China.

Finding products made in the USA is not always an easy task. Many retailers buy cheap goods manufactured overseas to maximize their profits. To help you find products made in America, I will be featuring some on this blog from time to time. Since I have a limited budget, these won’t always be products I’ve had the opportunity to purchase and test myself.

Up this week are broiling pans. The house I moved into last year didn’t come with one in that drawer under the stove, so I recently set out in search of one.
I found a couple of versions manufactured in the United States on this website: Chef’s Catalog. The company offers free shipping on orders of $25 or more, plus free returns by FedEx.

The Granite Wear three-piece broil, grill and bake set is what I ordered first.
I should have paid more attention to the dimensions provided for the item. When it arrived, it was smaller than I thought. While it would be adequate for broiling steaks, it wasn’t long enough to hold a full rack of ribs. Thanks to that free return shipping, I’m sending this back and ordering the larger version.

Before ordering, I checked out Chef’s Catalog on the Better Business Bureau website. I encourage you to do this and take other steps to protect yourself when shopping with unfamiliar companies. See my previous post on this subject for more details.

I invite you to share links to and locations of your favorite made-in-the-USA items. Post a message if there’s a product you’re having trouble finding an American version of, and I’ll try to help you track it down. Stay tuned for more products made in America

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