Want “Made in America” Quality? Buy Vintage!

Americans constantly bemoan the fact that we can’t find quality American-made products anymore. “Everything’s made in China!” we complain. “It just isn’t the same as it used to be.”

Thank goodness for vintage items and antiques!
Those of us who collect, use and sell them have homes filled with things that have survived 50 or even 100-plus years of daily use – and still look terrific! Tablecloths, dinnerware, toys, clothing and glassware – most of it was made in the good ol’ U.S.A.!

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If you’re looking for solid craftsmanship and thoughtful design, why not invest in items that may continue to grow in prestige and value over the next 100 years? In many cases, the price of older things isn’t much more than new – and in many cases, it’s even less expensive! And it can be fun to “hunt” for pieces of a particular set as you troll yard sales, flea markets, local antique stores and online vintage shops.

Set your table in style.
These 1950s Edwin Knowles plates, in the lovely “Forsythia” pattern, are just one example of American quality and style. They served as my family’s “good” china back in the day, and the simple design is as fresh today as it was when “Ozzie and Harriet” was the hot TV series.

The Edwin Knowles Company was founded in 1900, and enjoyed a reputation for the “highest grade ware…weight is light, its 
finish the finest, its shapes graceful, its decorations artistic, and
 its body and quality most durable.”

Sadly, it was probably cheaply made imports that finally drove the company out of business in 1962.

Complement your dinnerware with vintage wine glasses. You can indulge in the gorgeous styles of the 19th Century or choose fun, retro items from the 1940s and 1950s. The glasses shown below reflect American ingenuity at its finest: The glass inserts could be replaced if they broke!

Do it for the children.
Until about the 1970s, most children’s clothing and toys were made right here in the United States of America. They were so well made that they survived the most active toddlers and teens, and many of the styles fit right in with a 21st Century sensibility.

1950s Baby Beaver Shoes in Original Box

1950s Baby Beaver Shoes in Original Box

Make a fashion statement.
Vintage clothing and jewelry don’t always cost much more than newly-made. But they add a certain unique flair, especially when paired with more modern clothes and accessories. Even a vintage purse can add an element of interest, serving as a counterpoint to an otherwise up-to-the-minute outfit.

1960s union label cocktail dress. Photo courtesy of Bohemian Bisoux, Etsy

1960s union label cocktail dress. Photo courtesy of Bohemian Bisoux, Etsy

And if you’re into the popular BoHo look, why fake it? Accessorize with genuine 1960s and 1970s jewelry!

There’s just something about good old fashioned American-made products that hasn’t been replicated in today’s marketplace. Naturally, buying vintage items won’t help today’s American manufacturers. But you’ll still get “Made in America” products that reflect pride in the nation known for timeless design and made-to-last quality.

That’s something you can pass on to the next generation!
If you love learning about antiques as much as I do, follow the blog so you won’t miss the next article.
And enjoy the hunt!

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About sarathurston

I'm a marketing communications writer who also loves antiques and collectibles. You can find my shop on Etsy at http://www.etsy.com/shop/JanvierRoad
This entry was posted in Antiques, Collectibles, Porcelain, Pottery, Vintage clothing, Vintage Jewelry, Why Are Antiques Important? and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Want “Made in America” Quality? Buy Vintage!

  1. So true, so many imported items are just not made to last.

  2. Pingback: The thrill of the hunt: Final in a Three-Part Series, “Why Buy Antiques?” | Janvier Road: Where old becomes exciting and new

  3. sarathurston says:

    Sometimes, I think the last chance anyone has of enjoying real “Made in America” quality so many of us remember is by buying vintage. Thank goodness so much of it is still available!

  4. kathy says:

    Reblogged this on Ollie's Antiques and commented:
    This was originally posted by Janvier Road. Hope you find it as interesting as I did!

  5. kathy says:

    Sad, but true. So many things are massed produced and imported.

  6. trixie28 says:

    I’m one of the people who bemoan the lack of US made products — and you’re right, all we have to do is look at vintage items. There’s a plethora of great products. And I imagine they are made all the more valuable because they were made here. Thanks for the suggestion!

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