Live American Made

For 100 years, we’ve proudly supported American businesses and communities. The Born Made Stayed blog is our effort to shed light on other remarkable companies that make products right here in the USA.


July 17, 2015

When One Door Closes, FatIvan Opens Another

As a Cincinnati firefighter for more than 23 years, Nick Caliguri knew there was – and needed to be – a better way to keep doors open when things get hot.

Photo credit: fativan.com

Photo credit: fativan.com

After years of lugging around heavy metal door chocks and watching wooden ones slide away, Caliguri invented a fold-up and expanding door chock that hangs over a door’s hinge instead of its base. Thinking that most firefighters would remember, and also appreciate, a silly name – the FatIvan was born.

Catching Fire

Today, firefighters all across the U.S. and from around the world rely on the American made FatIvan to keep their doors open on the fireground, and its appeal is catching on in other fields, too. The multidisciplinary tool has attracted those in the police, commercial, residential, hospitality and delivery industries. Since inception, more than 100,000 FatIvans have been sold on five different continents and has appeared on the popular home shopping network, QVC.

Chock-Full of Opportunity

When asked what makes his product so unique, Caliguri credits the American dream. “We are pretty much the embodiment of what is great about America. We had a problem, found a solution, went in debt up to our eyeballs to create the tooling, then produced a product which has been a homerun,” said Caliguri in an interview. “We now have distribution around the world. We feel very blessed to have had such a great response to our efforts.”

For more information, visit fativan.com.

July 9, 2015

Microsoft Adds the American Touch

Over the past few years, there has been a wave of hopefulness regarding the possibly of high-tech manufacturing returning to the U.S., and it’s for good reason, too. More and more technology companies are foregoing overseas production and adding the American touch to high-tech manufacturing.

Photo credit: nytimes.com

Photo credit: nytimes.com

Among them is Microsoft. The company announced this summer that it will be making its giant touch screen, the Microsoft Surface Hub, stateside. Microsoft will manufacture the touch screen at the company’s 70,000 sq. ft. facility in Wilsonville, Ore. – the same location where the product was first developed. Microsoft’s announcement follows Apple’s 2013 decision to manufacture the Mac Pro computer in Texas.

Bringing High-Tech Manufacturing Home  

According to the New York Times, the Surface Hub is “an illustration of an exotic tech product that its makers believe can be manufactured cost-effectively in the United States.” Manufacturing the Surface Hub in the U.S. would not only reduce overseas shipping and labor costs, but also increase the quality of the product.

With 55-inch and 84-inch screens and weighing up to 220 pounds, the Surface Hub is the largest touch screen of its kind and one that assembly lines overseas are not equipped for producing, which contributed to Microsoft’s decision to keep production local. Not to mention the hundreds of engineers and manufacturing staff that Microsoft employs at their Wilsonville facility.

“I don’t have to send my folks over to China, so they’re happier,” says Jeff Han, general manager for Microsoft Surface Hub in an article. “It’s faster. There’s no language, time, or culture barrier to deal with. To have my engineers go down the hallway to talk to the guys in the manufacturing line and tune the recipe? That’s just incredible.”

To learn more about the Microsoft Surface Hub, visit microsoft.com.

July 1, 2015

Revology Cars Makes an Old Pony Gallop Again

The Mustang is more than a car. It’s an icon of American automotive engineering and craftsmanship. So when Revology Cars, a Florida-based specialty automobile manufacturer, decided it was going to re-create America’s most iconic sports car, it was sure to generate excitement.

Photo credit: revologycars.com

Photo credit: revologycars.com

Half a century after the original Ford Mustang was first revealed at the New York World’s Fair, Revology Cars unveiled its replica of the first-generation 1964 1/2-1966 Ford Mustang at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, one of the most prestigious classic cars event in the nation.

The Revology Mustang is the world’s first true replica of the Mustang, looking identical to the original model on the exterior, but built with modern powertrain and technology. The most notable changes include power windows, LED lighting and a digital message center in the central speedometer and USB and AUX jacks hidden in the ashtray. The replica is powered by a fuel-injected 5.0-liter V-8 engine.

Rekindling America’s Love

The first generation Mustang ran from model year 1964 1/2 to 1966, during which time Ford sold almost 1.3 million Mustangs, making automotive history and creating an American cultural icon in the process.

Revology Cars hopes to rekindle America’s love affair for the Mustang with its replica.

“Everybody in America has a Mustang story,” says Revology’s founder, Tom Scarpello, in an article. “They had one or know someone who had one, so what we want to do is kind of reconnect with that and kindle the flame with everyone.”

To learn more about Revology Cars, visit revologycars.com.

June 24, 2015

America’s Interest in Carousels Comes Full Circle

When Art Ritchie and Dan Jones of Carousel Works first began making wooden carousels in Mansfield, Ohio in the late 1980s, it’s doubtful they realized the important role they would play in the revitalization of carousels in America.

Photo credit: carouselworks.com

Photo credit: carouselworks.com

Carousels were once considered one of America’s greatest pastimes. From the late 1800s to 1930s, carousels were the focal point of hundreds of amusement parks popping up in cities all across the U.S. That period is often referred to as the “golden age” of American carousel-making.

While the carousel may have originated in Europe, it was American workmanship that carried it through the golden age. The American carousels were much bigger than the European carousels and even more elaborate in the woodwork of the horses and chariots.

Declining Craftsmanship

Along with the Great Depression came the end of the golden age for the American carousel, leaving many deserted or destroyed. As the economy improved so did the technology for carousel production and the craftsmanship that once defined the golden age of American carousel-making was replaced with aluminum and fiberglass casts.

Recognizing a growing need to help restore and preserve one of America’s valuable treasures, Art and Dan formed Carousel Works in 1986. Unlike the cast fiberglass or metal carousel replications produced today, Carousel Works hand-carves all of their carousels from wood, the same as was done more than 100 years ago.

Today, Carousel Works is the world’s largest manufacturer of wooden carousels and the only company with the in-house capability to manufacture wooden carousels from design to installation. Carousel Works has pioneered the production of over 45 innovative wooden carousels located in cities all across the United States. For more information, visit carouselworks.com.

June 17, 2015

Making the Tools That Built America

The first tool Mathias Klein ever made was the only job he ever did halfway. The German immigrant – who had just opened his forge shop in Chicago, Illinois, in 1857 – was approached by a telegraph lineman with a pair of side-cutting pliers, half of which had broken. After Mathias forged a new half and riveted it to the old half, the lineman was so impressed with the craftsmanship that he eventually returned when the old half broke. Mathias forged the second half, and the first complete Klein tool was born.

Photo credit: kleintools.com

Photo credit: kleintools.com

Mathias Klein realized the potential in focusing his efforts on creating durable hand tools for professional tradesmen. As America expanded, so did the demand for his products, and his forge shop grew into a full line of respected hand tools.

Today, more than 150 years later, no other manufacturer of hand tools used in electrical applications makes more items in America than Klein Tools. While the worldwide demand for its products has driven expansion into other countries, Klein continues to invest heavily in its U.S. manufacturing facilities. With four new locations opened in the past decade, Klein’s American manufacturing currently produces 14 times more product than any of its international locations.

Klein Tools has never closed a manufacturing facility in the United States and has never sent jobs overseas – and they have no intention of doing so in the future.

To learn more, visit kleintools.com.

June 11, 2015

“Reshoring” – The Hottest Trend in the Fashion Industry

Reshoring – the return of manufacturing to the U.S. from overseas – is all the rage in the apparel business these days. A recent study by A.T. Kearney found that apparel production was among the top three industries to reshore in 2014. Companies like Brooks Brothers are streamlining design and production in the U.S. to be able to react swiftly to the ever-changing demand in the fashion world. Over the past eight years, Brooks Brothers has updated its American factories and increased its domestic employee total to more than 1,000. And the strategy has paid off handsomely – Brooks Brothers’ sales surged to $1.2 billion last year.

Photo credit: brooksbrothers.com

Photo credit: brooksbrothers.com

Quicker production in the U.S., rising wages in China, and mandates from foreign factories to manufacture larger and larger volumes of product are all paving the runway for reshoring to be much more than a passing fad. In fact, economist Bill Conerly’s U.S. Manufacturing Forecast for 2015-2016 predicts that reshoring will continue to rise in the apparel industry. Following suit, Brooks Brothers plans to further expand its operations in the U.S. this August, creating 70 new jobs.

For the full story, visit cit.com.

June 3, 2015

American Manufacturers of Outdoor Gear Get “Sassy”

Proud, rugged, American spirit and the great outdoors have always gone hand in hand. No wonder California-based Kokatat and dozens of other U.S. companies in the outdoor industry are passionately committed to American manufacturing. To celebrate this commitment, Kokatat, the leading U.S. producer of paddle sports gear, created the American Made Outdoor Gear Awards. And who better to grace it than the notorious creature of American-made legend that roams the great outdoors, the Sasquatch.

Photo credit: kokatat.com

Photo credit: kokatat.com

The “Sassy” trophy, a 3-foot-tall likeness of the Sasquatch hand-carved out of redwood, is awarded annually to the company with the most compelling “made in America” story. Sterling Rope in Maine took home the Sassy this year, beating out more than 110 other companies that applied for the award. Sterling has been producing premium life safety ropes and hardware since 1992.

In addition to the overall winner, winners in several categories based on company size were also awarded.  The category winners received a miniature version of the “Sassy” trophy, and included American manufacturers like Voormi, Dahlgren Footwear, Polar Bottle and Cascade Designs.

Learn more about the winners of the 2015 American Made Outdoor Gear Awards as well as winners from previous years at kokatat.com.

May 27, 2015

Case Knives Makes the Cut as an American Icon

When W.R. Case and his three brothers began selling their knives to small villages along an upstate New York wagon trail in 1889, it’s doubtful they realized the indelible mark their cutlery would leave on American history.

Photo credit: wrcase.com

Photo credit: wrcase.com

Innovative design, fine craftsmanship and a dedication to quality brought them success. By 1905, the recently incorporated Case Brothers Cutlery Company had become one of the most respected names in American cutlery. That year, the growing business found a permanent home in Bradford, Pennsylvania, where it remains today.

Case answered the nation’s call for assistance during hard times, producing knives for U.S. servicemen and women during both World Wars. In 1965, the astronauts onboard NASA’s Gemini 3 mission to space each carried a specially designed Case knife.

Unlike many knife manufacturers today, Case knives are produced exclusively in the U.S. Each knife is stamped from domestic steel and hardened with a proprietary heat treatment method. Since the late 19th century, the company has marked each knife with a unique stamp that has made Case one of the world’s most collectable brands. Today, Case regularly manufactures knives under license agreements with a number of American icons.

W.R. Case & Sons, as it is known today, has expanded from the back of a covered wagon into a spaceship orbiting Earth, all while staying true to its roots. For more information, visit wrcase.com.

May 21, 2015

Meet the Maker of America’s Most Iconic Flags

The American flag wasn’t yet 50 years old when Alexander Annin began sewing and supplying them for merchant ships in his New York City sail-making shop in the 1820s. Recognizing an opportunity, Alexander’s sons, Benjamin and Edward Annin, officially founded Annin Flagmakers in 1847. Today, the business is the oldest and largest maker of American flags in the United States.

Annin Flagmakers has supplied the flags for some of the most iconic events in our nation’s history. Union troops carried them during the Civil War. An Annin flag flew at President Lincoln’s inauguration, and another draped his casket on its journey from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, Illinois. U.S. soldiers raised one at the top of Mt. Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. Buzz Aldrin planted an Annin flag on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission.

Photo credit: annin.com

Photo credit: annin.com

The company has weathered lean times during the Great Depression and Vietnam War era – and rose to meet surges in demand during World War II and after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. But they have always remained a proudly American business.

Today, Annin Flagmakers employs more than 500 Americans. It is a founding member of the Flag Manufacturers Association of America, promoting the manufacture of U.S. flags in America by Americans with domestically made fabric.

For this, as well as the part you’ve played throughout the story of our nation, we salute you. Get more information at annin.com.

April 22, 2015

Beneduci Fills the Shoes of Turn-of-the-Century American Boot-Makers

As immigrant shoemakers from around the world set up shop in early 20th-century America, they quickly discovered that unlike their previous European customers, Americans at the time weren’t as interested in purchasing fashionable dress shoes. The market was instead focused on sturdy work boots that protected the wearer on the factory floor. These makers of some of the world’s most beautiful shoes would have to adapt to survive in America.

The resulting shift brought about some of the finest work boots ever made. They became a symbol of the industrial revolution, progress and the American worker. But as the 20th century progressed, consumer demand changed to favor less expensive, mass-produced footwear. The craft of American boot-making was nearly lost – until people such as Frank Beneduci realized a resurgence in sentiment for locally produced, handcrafted, high-quality products. The grandson of an Italian-born craftsman, Beneduci leveraged his experience training with master cobblers in Milan to rekindle this nearly lost craft and open Beneduci Shoemakers in San Francisco.

Beneduci Shoes

Photo credit: beneduci.com

Beneduci went to great lengths to ensure quality and authenticity – even searching far and wide to secure original, American-made boot-making machines from the early 1900s for his manufacturing facility. Beneduci boots are built to last, not be replaced. And that’s why he believes his footwear is gaining in popularity.

For more information, visit beneduci.com.