If you are like me, you appreciate quality american made brands. You take deep pride is what you own and the heritage behind said item. It is not the brand that is important, but the heritage and what the brand stands for that one can take deep pride in. Many established American Brands have deep roots and rich heritage, and when one purchases a product from these companies, they are supporting the brand and history behind the brand. In the following, I would like to share a few companies worth taking a look at (Please note the company stories below are not written by me, I have compiled the brief history of each company’s history page onto one blog, in hopes to share the story and heritage of each company). I have either owned or used many of the products below, and have been pleased with the quality. These companies are Engineer Approved! Check them out!
Vedavoo – Better American Gear
Inspired by his own experiences and frustrations he had with gear, Scott Hunter founded VEDAVOO in 2009. Without formal design training or a background in sewing, Scott used the company’s last $700 to buy a used, 1970’s era sewing machine on Craigslist, and taught himself to build packs in his garage. Custom projects refined his craft, and in time, he followed a traditional hands-on approach to designing a line of packs for fly fishing. Since that time, products like the Tightlines Sling Pack, Spinner Daypack, and Chest Pack have shown that durability, versatility, and ease of use set VEDAVOO apart from other gear builders. In over 5 years of building gear, the company has never received a return due to quality of materials or workmanship. This is possible because all gear is meticulously crafted using only the best American Woven fabrics, and American Made webbing, fasteners, buckles, zippers, and hardware. Even the thread used to sew the packs is American Made. Though the road is challenging, we don’t compromise. We build BETTER AMERICAN GEAR. https://vedavoo.com/
Travax – Made in USA
Rowe’s Leather was started in 1955 by James “Doc” Rowe, a Hope, Arkansas police officer, in a small storage shop behind his house with the original intention of building saddles as a hobby, but he quickly saw the benefit of his ability to also build his own police gear and it didn’t take long for the area folks to notice the quality leather goods he was putting out. The business took off and the demand for Doc’s leather goods grew. Before long, he was building saddles and saddle tack, belts, police gear, billfolds, and other odds and ends. After suffering a heart attack and enduring bypass surgery in 1974, Doc’s doctors medically retired him from the police force and also from the leather business. In accordance to doctor’s orders, he sold his sewing machine and burned all of his patterns, rendering it next to impossible to do leather work and lessening the temptation to jeopardize his health by doing so.
In 1977, Doc’s son Kenny Rowe concocted a brilliant plan to get Doc out of the four walls of his house and back to enjoying the hobby he’d had in the early days. Since Doc’s health was good and his passion for leather work was still there, Kenny decided he would re-open the leather shop and have his dad teach him everything he had taught himself about the leather business. They worked side-by-side for almost 6 years, and then one day Doc came in one and told Kenny he wasn’t working anymore. He felt Kenny knew enough about the leather business without him being there. Kenny continued to work alone at the leather shop part-time for the next 11 years. During this time, he established a name for himself as one of the top-notch makers of leather goods in the area and began reaching a group of clientele beyond the borders of Hempstead County, or Arkansas, and even the United States.
When Kenny decided in 1994 to quit his full-time job and make Rowe’s Leather into his sole livelihood, it was a gamble and a heavy consideration, but he had faith that his skills and abilities would carry him through. Shortly after Rowe’s Leather became a full-time operation, Kenny recruited the help of his young son Cody, who began helping in the shop and learning the art of making leather goods. Cody enjoyed working in the shop when he could and worked weekends and after school to help out. Cody worked with Kenny part-time and all through high school and college, and upon graduating from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Cody made the decision to follow his dad’s career path and become a full-time leather craftsman.
In 2003 Rowe’s Leather was relocated to newly-built shop which is much larger and in a more prominent location, right on Highway 29, just south of Hope. Today, you can find Kenny and Cody working side-by-side to produce not only leather goods of the best quality, but of superior artistry, you can buy nearly anywhere. You can attribute this to several factors, only using the best leathers and hides tanned in the U.S., the care and consideration that are put into your wants and needs when you place your order, and the fact that only one pair of hands construct your product from start to finish. And it doesn’t hurt that these hands are some of the finest in the business. Rowe’s Leather
I had been a chief engineer for 13 years at upscale historic district hotels in Savannah, Georgia. I had the keys to everything in the building, everything on the property – countless keys that I carried on a large ring attached to my belt. I jangled as I walked.
It always amazed me how the guys who worked under me were always busy, never messing around when I’d come into the maintenance shop. I wrote it off as hiring the right people, but deep down, I knew better. One day I walked into the restroom and someone in a stall said, “Hey, Mike, where are we going for lunch?” It was one of my guys, and he’d asked me the question even though there was no way for him to know it was me. Except for the jangling keys. That’s when it hit me. Everyone knew I was coming. They could hear my keys!
That’s when I knew I had to STOP THE NOISE! And that was the day I came up with the idea for KeyBar. As someone who carried a multi-tool daily and lots of stuff in my pockets, I knew there needed to be a pocket clip, and it needed to hold some tools, too.
It took plenty of trial and error. I tried all kinds of different designs and eventually settled on the KeyBar shape. The biggest challenge was how to fit a bunch of keys into a single KeyBar. I knew if the keys could stack on each other, I could make it work. It did!
So, I started selling early KeyBars to friends and friends of friends. I soon found that there were plenty of guys out there like me who couldn’t stand the noise, either. They just didn’t have a solution. They loved their KeyBar, and they’d call me because their buddies wanted KeyBars, too.
Then I started adding custom designs to my KeyBars, and I tried making them out of different materials. Aluminum was the first material, but I wanted titanium. Then I had to try carbon fiber. Each KeyBar was different. I tried different materials, different treatments. They were almost like works of art. I’d post them to Instagram, and pretty soon I had quite a following. We added a few accessories, and it took off even further.
I left my job in July of 2014. Jessica, my wife, left hers that December. We kept finding more suppliers to help us make parts. We kept buying bigger and faster machines to make components. Then, retailers were calling. Everyone wants a KeyBar! I have no idea where this will all go. But I can’t wait to find out. We’ve hired our first set of employees, but we still can’t keep up. I feel like I’m living a dream. The American Dream! Bottom line, I thank everyone who wanted to stop the noise and bought a KeyBar.
GROWING UP, MY BROTHER AND I always had a passion for the outdoors. Hunting. Fishing. Traveling to outdoor industry trade shows with our teacher-turned-entrepreneur father. We were raised with an appreciation for wild game, unfamiliar territory, and high-quality gear.
But the coolers that were out there just weren’t up to our outdoor adventures — the handles would break, the latches would snap off, and the lids would cave in. Not only was it a hassle to replace our coolers after each season, but also these cheaply built, ordinary ice chests were limiting our good times. And that frustration led us to a solution.
- YETI was born out of
frustration and molded
- Whether you’re taking it off
the map or all the way to your
backyard, every YETI product
is built for the wild.
- Everything we make is
inspired by necessity.
- YETIs can go wherever you
go and make it back for
In 2006 we founded YETI® Coolers with a simple mission: build the cooler we’d use every day if it existed. One that was built for the serious outdoor enthusiast rather than for the mass-discount retailers. One that could take the abuse we knew we’d put it through out in the field and on the water. One that simply wouldn’t break. We decided early on that product innovation would come from necessity and firsthand experience — not from market research and data analysis. And we’d never sacrifice quality for a few extra bucks. Because having your cooler’s lid cave in when using it as a casting platform should never be part of anyone’s fishing trip.
We’re so glad that we weren’t the only ones looking for a YETI. Today it is the cooler of choice for outdoor enthusiasts, pros, tailgaters, and backyard barbecue kings. And that still gets us fired up. Ultimately, life is about having a good time doing what you love. And for us, that’s being outdoors hunting whitetail, catching a tarpon on the fly, and spending time with our families and buddies. We’re wild at heart. So our coolers couldn’t be anything less.
Orvis Fly Rods
Founded by Charles F. Orvis in Manchester, Vermont, in 1856, Orvis is America’s oldest mail-order outfitter and longest continually-operating fly-fishing business. Privately owned by the Perkins family since 1965, today Orvis is an international, multi-channel retailer with more than $340 million in sales (2012) and approximately 1,700 employees. In addition to being the world leader in fly fishing, Orvis is the purveyor of the Distinctive Country Lifestyle, offering a wide assortment of men’s and women’s sportswear, fine gifts and home furnishings, luggage and travel accessories, dog beds and other pet items, as well as fine shotguns, gear, and technical apparel for wingshooting and sporting clays. Orvis sporting services also include fishing and shooting schools, an international sporting and eco-travel agency, and the Orvis-endorsed network of lodges, outfitters and guides. Our award-winning website, orvis.com, offers more than 5,000 products with 11 million visits/year. The company mails more than 50 catalog editions each year, with a total annual circulation in excess of 55 million. As of 2015, Orvis has 69 retail stores and 10 outlets in the US, and 18 retail stores in the UK. Our wholesale division services more than 500 independent dealers worldwide. The Orvis blog (orvis.com/news) offers a wide variety of editorial and educational content to over 1 million visitors per year, with extensive articles and videos about fly fishing, wingshooting, dogs, conservation, and more. Our Learning Center (howtoflyfish.orvis.com) provides the most comprehensive collection of online videos and resources devoted to teaching the world how to fly fish. Orvis donates 5% of pre-tax profits every year to protecting nature, supporting communities, and advancing canine health and well-being. http://www.orvis.com/s/about-the-orvis-company/261?dir_id=35438
Primo Ceramic Grills
It all began with an American tourist and a turkey.
When George Samaras completed his tour of duty as a pharmacist in the Greek military in 1986, he needed to find a career so he turned to his love of the sea. He began racing sailboats and captaining a yacht for tourist excursions throughout the Greek islands.
In 1988, he met his future wife Kelley, an American who was vacationing with her family and had chartered Samaras’ boat. George was taken with Kelley and they stayed in touch after she returned home. She eventually moved to Greece and later the two were married. Seven years later, the couple decided to move to the United States.
George’s father-in-law had a Kamado cooker and on Thanksgiving Day, George had roasted turkey for the first time. He was amazed at the juiciness and delicious flavor of the bird that was cooked on the kamado. It looked and performed unlike any grill he had ever used.
He bought a kamado for himself and cooked on it regularly. He told his friends and family about it and began shipping them back to Greece for them to use. Eventually George had over 80 people in his homeland that wanted a kamado, so he asked the manufacturer if he could start a distributorship in Greece, but they declined.
Not to be deterred, George saw a niche in the market and decided that he would make his own kamado cookers. Many people, including ceramic engineers, told him that it couldn’t be done, but he pressed on and spent the next several years developing and testing his own formula for the refractory material to get the right blend.
In 1996, he was ready to sell his ceramic grills. Samaras chose the name, “Primo” which means “the best” in Italian. His first manufacturing facility was a 700 sq. ft. space he rented. Due to the limited space he could only make two grills at a time and he had to drive across town to a kiln to have them fired.
Over the next several years, the Primo kamado style grill grew in popularity as word spread about their quality and as the only ceramic grill made in the United States.
Samaras has a love for improving his ceramic grills and innovative products and in 2000 he introduced the Primo 2000, a combination gas and ceramic grill. His idea was to use the superior heat and moisture retention characteristics of a ceramic grill and the convenience of gas as a heat source that so many outdoor cookers prefer.
It was an unrivaled product never before seen in the industry, and over 700 were sold. Production was discontinued a few years later due to the shipping and assembly requirements.
George was also looking beyond the round shape of the traditional kamado and discovered that an oval-shape offered a much higher cooking versatility and efficiency. It forever changed the direction of Primo.
The introduction of the patented oval-shaped grill in 2002 established Primo as a major manufacturer in the ceramic grill market.
Today, Primo is headquartered in a 92,000 sq. ft. facility in Tucker, Georgia where their ceramic grills are produced. Primo is available in more than 24 countries around the world. Primo Ceramic Grills
In 2004/05 Dylan Rothwell started RISING. Previous work with Vortex Backpacks and William Joseph had given him confidence in his own design skills, as well as a love for the outdoor recreation market. From the beginning, the focus at Rising was to design and build products that would improve the fishing experience – be that on the water, on the road, at the tying table, or chilling by the campfire.
Our first products shipped in Jan 2005, and we continued to march to our drummer for four more years. In 2009 we entered into an exclusive distribution deal with Umpqua Feather Merchants. As the largest manufacturer of flies in the world, they were a natural partner for us: they were large, well funded, well staffed and had room in their large warehouse – we were small, cash strapped, and had run out of room in our basement. The arrangement worked well for both companies – but in summer of 2012 we made the decision to go our separate ways.
As of the summer of 2012 we are now back flying solo, and marching to our own beat (which is reggae oriented friends). We did so because we have re-committed to manufacturing as many of our designs in house as is feasible. In house production required new machines, new warehouse, and new partners.. We’ve expanded the ranks with incredibly diverse talent – Mickey, Lance, Robin, Rancher, Fischer, Whalen, and Erin to name the most prominent.
In 2013 we branched out into something a little less kown to us, BBQ Tools. Pops Q Tool is our newest pursuit, a quality all American made tool made to last!
THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT http://www.risingfish.net/
Anvil Industries was a customer of Vogel Brothers Corporation in the barber and beauty field 25 years ago. The assets and name of Anvil Industries was then purchased by David and Don Vogel through a corporate buyout, the name remained the same but we re-branded as Anvil USA. Vogel Brothers, as a brand, was hidden from recognition by the structure of private label manufacturering but Anvil USA was not. It was a separate entity and was established as such. After meeting with much resistance on this bold move within Vogel Brothers existing customer base, it was necessary to divest Anvil of its Barber and Beauty sales due to the aggressive atmosphere. Anvil USA’s fly tying scissors were then created and marketed to the consumer through a network of dealers and distributors. Five years later, Anvil USA’s brand slowly emerged in the pet grooming field. In 2012 Vogel Brothers Corporation was sold and the Anvil USA brand was purchased along with inventory and needed machinery by Don and Barbara Vogel. The corporate name and brand is Anvil USA. We currently sell worldwide to individuals, dealers and distributors. Anvil USA is continuing the shear manufacturing tradition of which Vogel Brothers built its business upon some 325 years ago. We are passionate about the quality of Anvil USA’s tools and the families they support during their lifetime of use.
Renzetti Fly Vices
Renzetti Inc., is a family owned business that started its operations in Romansville PA in the early 70’s. I started making fly tying hand tools in a one car garage. Frustrated with the fly tying vises that were available at the time, I started working on the Presentation 3000 with the input and support of my brother Robin, that was not the first vise designed by Renzetti, however it was the first True Rotary vise made. Since its beginning, the Presentation 3000 became the vise of choice of the elite and at a retail price of $199.95 it was the most expensive vise available. By 1977 my hobby had become a part time job, and in 1978 I resigned full time job to open Renzetti Custom Machine’s doors in a now 3 car garage. Eight years later, a new manufacturing facility was build and in 1988 Renzetti Inc, as it in know today, was formally introduced.
Since the early 70’s Renzetti’s hand tying tools and fly tying vises were seldom mostly heard of and very few shops were carrying it. The Orvis Company was my first retailer and where I met my long time friend John Harder. By the late 80’s the Traveler and the Presentation Series Vises were introduced and Renzetti started attending the consumer and manufacturing shows. By attending these shows I was able to be in direct contact with many tyers from around the world and listen to their feedback and suggestions.
In 1991, I met Bob Popovics at a fly fishing show in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. I had heard of Bob and was so excited and anxious to meet him. I waited patiently by his booth to introduce myself and when I did he mentioned that his Presentation 3000 needed some T.L.C. I took his vise to my room that night and brought it back to him the next morning. Our friendship started and so did the development of the Master Series Vise. In 1992, I made the few prototypes of the Master vise and gave one to Bob Popovics, Lefty Kreh and the late Matty Vincenguerra to tie on it and give me feedback. Then in 1994 The Master Series Vise was introduced.
In 1996, tired of the long cold winters in Pennsylvania I moved with my family and Lois and Ed, two of our key associates to Titusville, FL., and Renzetti Inc. found a new home at 8800 Grissom Pkwy.
Renzetti Inc. currently employees 10 associates, including myself, Lily and our 18 year old son. We have a well trained, wonderful, caring staff that makes everything possible. Our primary business is the manufacturing of the finest fly tying and rod building equipment in the world, but we also provide engineering and manufacturing services to many other industries around the country. Renzetti, Inc. owns many patents and trademark and was the first fly tying vise manufacturer to offer a True Rotary Vise.
Fly fishing, my hobby, has given me more that I ever expected. I have met the most wonderful people and cherish the friendship generated from our association with the sport. I am grateful to the many tyers and rod builders of yesterday and to those that keep promoting this beautiful art. I believe that one of the reasons for our success is because we listen to tyers and rod builders while providing you the very best equipment that challenges your creativity. Changes to our product come as a result of our desire to keep you excited in the sport, and always asking for more.
So regardless if you are an old friend of Renzetti or a newcomer to the fly fishing or rod building we welcome you, to the art of fly fishing, the driving force behind all Renzetti products. We thank you for your support and want to reaffirm our commitment to providing you, the tyer and the rod builder, the absolute best in product and services.
We take great pride in the fact that every process of our product line is made in the USA. https://www.renzetti.com/index.php/about-us
In closing, I would encourage you to go check these places out for yourself. They may have just what you need and the best part is they are made right in America with American Pride!