Tech

Made in the USA: Baseball bats, sticky notes, kitchen mixers and more


KitchenAid mixers in all colors are made in Ohio.


Chris Monroe/CNET

This story is part of Road Trip 2021, CNET’s coverage of the Biden administration’s push to grow American manufacturing and make more things in the USA.

Though much of what we wear, carry in our pockets and use at home is made overseas, not everything we buy is imported. Buying USA-made goods is a popular idea, but as my colleague Ian Sherr wrote for CNET’s Made in America series, that belief doesn’t always carry over to behavior.

The federal governments wants to change that by encouraging Americans to buy more things at home. Shortly after taking office in January, President Joe Biden issued an executive order mandating stricter enforcement of “Buy American” standards within federal agencies. Then in July, he proposed a new rule that would hike up the minimum percentage of American-made parts required in products that the federal government purchases.


Robert Rodriguez/CNET

The goal of both efforts is to boost domestic manufacturing with the government’s purse — the federal government shells out $600 billion every year for goods and services — and encourage consumers to “Buy American.” 

From cookware to beauty supplies, here are a few everyday products still being churned out on the home turf. 

Post-it Notes

These pioneering sticky notes were invented by two scientists at Minnesota-based 3M: Spencer Silver, who’d discovered an adhesive that could stick surfaces together but yield when you pulled them apart, and Art Fry, a church choir singer who just wanted bookmarks that wouldn’t slip out of his hymnal. Post-it Notes are made at a 3M plant in Cynthiana, Kentucky

Pyrex kitchenware

My parents have stocked kitchen cabinets with Pyrex baking dishes, storage containers and measuring cups for as long as I can remember. (A few have definitely surpassed my 21 years of age.) The Pyrex brand came to be more than a century ago when the wife of a Corning scientist made a cake on some glass scraps her husband brought home because her casserole dish had broken. Its glassware is manufactured in Charleroi, Pennsylvania.  

Burt’s Bees lip balm

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Burt Shavitz, co-founder of Burt’s Bees.


Burt’s Bees

Launched in Maine during the 1980s by a beekeeper (the eponymous Burt) and an artist, Burt’s Bees offers a lineup of natural care products, including its famous beeswax-based lip balm. Burt’s Bees currently manufactures in North Carolina

Sub-Zero appliances

Wisconsin knows a thing or two about the cold, as evidenced by Madison-based Sub-Zero’s refrigerators and freezers. The company has come a long way since the 1930s, when its founder, Westye Bakke, set out to find a better method of stockpiling insulin for his son with diabetes. Even now, Sub-Zero manufactures in Wisconsin and Arizona.

Alex and Ani jewelry 

If you’re in search of some bling for yourself, Alex and Ani jewelry is reasonably priced, free of skin-irritating nickel and made in America.

Pottery Barn Special Edition Airstream

One of Airstream’s distinctive silver travel trailers.


Airstream

Airstream trailers

Airstream’s silver streamlined travel trailers have become immensely popular as the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged Americans to take road trips for travel (there’s now a yearlong backlog for existing orders). The company has built them at its plant in JacksonCenter, Ohio, for decades.

La-Z-Boy chairs

Since creating its first recliner nearly a century ago, La-Z-Boy has supplied plushy, nap-provoking chairs to legions of snoring grandpas. As of 2019, La-Z-Boy manufactures most of its chairs and sofas in Tennessee

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A fire-engine red Ford Mustang.


Emme Hall/Roadshow

Mustang cars

There are few images more American than that of a sleek Ford Mustang cruising down a US highway. Opened in 1987, Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan assembles the Mustang. The 2021 iteration starts at $27,205. (The new Mustang Mach-E electric cars are made in Mexico and China.)

Not Your Mother’s hair care products

I’m not sure what NYM has against my mother’s hair care products — but this company makes well-regarded shampoos, conditioners and creams right here in the US.

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The Weber Spirit II E-210, as pictured in CNET’s “The best gas grills you can buy today.”


Chris Monroe/CNET

Weber grills

It’s Hot Grill Summer, and whether you prefer gas or charcoal to cook your burgers and ‘dogs, there’s a Weber grill that can take care of it. Weber sources parts both domestically and internationally but manufactures its grills in the US.

Steinway & Sons pianos

A gorgeous Steinway filled my family’s house with music for many decades. A German immigrant to the US founded the company in the mid-19th century. Steinway pianos sold in the US are made in Astoria, New York. For the rest of the world, they’re built in Hamburg, Germany.

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CNET visited the Greenville, Ohio, KitchenAid factory in 2018. 


Tyler Lizenby/CNET

KitchenAid stand mixers

These durable (and heavy) appliances last for decades and can be used for much more than just mixing cookie batter. Made in Greenville, Ohio, they come in a selection of vibrant colors. And as CNET found on a factory visit, they have a devoted following.

Gibson guitars

Listened to any music in your life? Then I guarantee you’ve heard someone strumming a Gibson. The company manufactures its acoustic guitars in Montana and its electrics, including the famed Les Paul, in Tennessee. 

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Louisville Sluggers in production at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.


Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Louisville Slugger bats

Beloved by MLB stars and backyard ballplayers alike, the Slugger baseball bat is an American classic. And yes, it’s made in Louisville, Kentucky. You can join CNET’s Erin Carson on a trip inside the factory to see how the bats make their way from a forest to the playoffs.

Crayola crayons

Growing up, the coolest thing I owned was undoubtedly my three-tiered display of every Crayola crayon imaginable. (I still miss it sometimes.) Crayola’s annual output of crayons approaches 3 billion, and its major manufacturing facilities are based in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.



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