All posts by Americanologist

The Good Acre Collection by Taylor Stitch: Made in USA

Quite a few companies are grouping their menswear into “lifestyle collections” and one of my favorites is Taylor Stitch. I love the fact that you can buy a complete outfit that has a story behind it; even better if that story fits your own narrative. Take the Good Acre Collection, which is currently in the funding phase. The collection is geared more toward those that work with their hands rather than those sitting behind a desk but, truth be told, it works for both.The Chore Pant is better looking than the worn jeans I tend to wear to work everyday. It features a double knee and is made from 100% cotton Duck Canvas.The Utility Shirt is a slightly heavy fabric, so I see it as a Fall garment or as a light summer jacket worn over a colorful tee. The Cone Mills fabric alternates between twill and plain weave to achieve the “corded” affect.
The collection features two different jackets: The Project jacket, above, is constructed from a 10-oz Beeswaxed Army Duck Canvas, so it is water repellent.The second design is the Chore Jacket, which is on my short list to replace a foreign-made coat I’ve worn for years. The combination of a cotton, dry-wax canvas shell and a 100% cotton blanket stripe lining will be perfect for chores during the New England Fall when the leaves start to change.The shirt that Taylor Stitch chose for ths collection is made in Portugal, so I took the liberty of selecting my own, American-made replacement, the Moss Mechanic Shirt.Finally, there is the all-important footwear. There is only one choice here and that is the Mark Boot, made for Taylor Stitch by Rancourt of Maine.

Taylor Stitch is a crowd-funded site, so you need to act when items are offered. However,  there are plenty of items in their Essentials Collection that are kept in stock. It’s a very well-curated collection.



Historic Waukesha Engine Co. Jobs Go to Canada Courtesy of GE

We usually focus on the “Buy American” message, filling our posts with interesting products in hope of showing Americans that, yes, they can actually find a large number of the goods they need right in their own backyards.

Every once in a while, though, it’s good to focus on the hard realities that drive our mission. Namely, the suffering of ordinary Americans whose middle-class jobs are disappearing out from under them.

CNN has posted an eye-opening video on the relocation of a GE factory (formerly the Waukesha Engine Co.) to Canada. The sight of grown men, barely holding back tears as they face the loss of a company that has employed family members for generations, is truly sobering.  Check out the video here and please buy American-Made.

Scout Regalia: A Colorful Emphasis on Made-in-America

This Los Angeles design studio called Scout Regalia is the product of two creative minds; Makoto Mizutani and Benjamin Luddy. Launched in 2008, Scout Regalia focuses on the design and fabrication of furniture, home products,  bicycles and more, with an emphasis on sustainable living. They work closely with local fabricators, and most of the products for sale on the website are clearly listed as Made in USA.What caught my eye was the beautiful yet simple design aesthetic in objects that are truly functional. Whether it is a picnic table, a lean-to tent or a coat hook, every piece has a unique flair. Their Lodge Collection is shown above. Check out these other creations:The Around Town Bicycle is made in Pennsylvania and features a steel frame, disc brakes, an integrated 8-speed hub, along with front and rear racks to carry your goods. Scout Regalia also makes the panniers (the carrier bags on the side of a bike) to carry all your stuff.Made from white oak hardwood, this modern credenza would be perfect in my mancave.This Scout Regalia chair has a matching ottoman and is built with a white oak frame.

The Table Set comes in either white oak or redwood and features a stunning variety of colorful aluminum inserts.This lean-to captures all the charm of old-school backyard adventures.

Check out their site. You’ll enjoy the experience.



We Visit Grommet Headquarters for Fathers’ Day Gift Ideas… and You Get 20% Off ‘Til Tomorrow

We recently travelled to Somerville, Ma, a suburb of Boston, to visit the Headquarters of The Grommet. This innovative business has helped to shepherd thousands of unusual products to market, including hundreds Made in the United States.Our tour guide for the visit was Nick Sozio, who walked us through the Grommet’s playful and beautiful spaces: a colorful, curved meeting room, a stylish industrial kitchen, an entryway with an antique sewing machine on display. The decor captured perfectly the combination of cool, whimsy and utility that characterizes their product line.

With Nick’s help, we have assembled a selection of American-made gifts for Father’s Day that will surely give your Dad a smile. Even better, you can get 20% off your purchase on June 5-6 by using promo code DAD17.

Disclosure: We’ll get a small commission if you buy through the links above: Please do!Whether he’s towing it behind his canoe or floating it in the pool, Dad will love grabbing cold drinks and food from the CreekKooler.Does Dad have a special place in his heart for a certain waterside location? The lake house he played in as a child, the site of the bayside cafe where he proposed to your mom, the harbor where his family arrived in the USA? Now you can get a customized topographical artwork that beautifully maps these special bodies of water. We saw one of these in person and it is even more beautiful than it appears in pictures.If Dad appreciates his beer, The Cap Trap line of products will let him show it off. These laser-cut wooden maps of the USA, individual states and a variety of other fun shapes, are designed to be filled with the bottle caps of local brews. They are made in Tampa from Baltic birch plywood.These fish-inspired knives and corkscrews and perfect for the outdoorsy dad.If Dad rides a motorcycle, he’ll love these little Guardian Bells, since they are considered good luck charms among riders.The New York Times Commemorative Book is always a fun gift, since it compiles the items that were in the news on Dad’s day if birth.Dad may not know it yet, but he needs this Maine-made Brahm’s Mount herringbone blanket. He can gather the grandkids under it to read a book, snuggle with mom and have it around long enough to pass to the next generation.And finally, Cutting boards from Brooklyn Butcher Block will make dad’s cooking and grilling even more enjoyable.
Regards, Kathy

Do I Really Need This Off-Grid Survival Axe? No, But I Want it Anyway

My life in suburbia doesn’t usually require an off-grid survival axe but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to own this awesome-looking multi-function tool.  It’s Innovation Factory’s Lil Trucker and it has 20 different features despite its light weight (1.6 lbs) and small size (less that a foot long). It’s also easy to carry and store.

Disclosure: We’ll get a small commission if you buy through the links above: Please do!I had never thought much about the importance of glass breaking tools or seatbelt cutters until I found myself hanging upside down in a car after a roll-over. Now I’m a believer. This tool has both.Below is a list of some of the other multi-tools features:

  • Hatchet
  • Folding Sawzall Blade (above)
  • Hardened steel glass breaker
  • Hammer claw and head
  • Spanner wrench for hose couplings
  • Can opener and box cutter
  • Pry bar
  • Recessed nail puller
  • Backed hex socket accepts any ¼” bit
  • ⅜” and 7/16”; 10 mm and 11 mm hex socket
  • ½” and 13 mm hex socket
  • 9/16” and 15 mm hex socket
  • Wire twist
  • Demolition grip teeth
  • Bottle opener/gas valve shut off wrenchNow, we all know that a Zombie Apocalypse is probably not going to happen but if it did you need to be able to travel light and have the tools needed to survive, like a bottle opener, ’cause after a hard day of slaying the undead you need to be able to open up a cold one and quench your thirst. Check out this short video from Innovation Factory on the usefulness of the tool here.