Whether goods are listed as Made in America or Made in the USA, it should be clear what that means. Or is it? If all the parts for a car are exported from Japan to the US and assembled in Detroit, is that ‘Made America?’ If not, how many raw materials are allowed to be non-US for a product to be Made in America or Made in the USA.
Are Canadian products made in America? Technically yes! Canada is located on the North American continent. So it is clear that regulation determines the definition. So what do these terms really mean so that there is no ambiguity or misunderstanding?
Definition of Made in USA
The definition is given by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). In order to bear the ‘Made in USA’ label, a minimum of 75% of a product’s manufacturing costs must be made in the USA. Ignore design, purchasing, marketing, and selling costs.
If a car is assembled in Detroit from Japanese parts, it cannot be made in the USA! If a kangaroo steak is processed and cooked in the US from a carcass imported from Australia, it’s ‘Made in the USA!’ Crazy or what? Maybe the fact that the ‘Point of final assembly’ has to be in the US would exclude the kangaroo? Or maybe not if the final assembly is seen as the meal on the plate!
Just kidding, if you see the label made in America or Made in the USA, you can be pretty sure most of the work was done in the US. It does not mean that the raw materials are American. However, buying American furniture with that label means that the wood is almost certainly American and the piece of furniture is made in the USA.
Buying furniture made in America
If you’re buying furniture in the US and want to be patriotic in the process, look for the “Made in America” or “Made in USA” label on the website. This means that your furniture is generally made in the USA, although not necessarily using American wood or other materials.
Of course “not necessarily” does not mean “absolutely” and there are American furniture manufacturers who make furniture in the US by hand from American wood, using American-made auxiliary products such as fillings and fabrics.
Among these are Simply Amish, Stickley Furniture, The Custom Shoppe, Southwood Furniture, and Sherrill Furniture. Just handmade mission furniture from Amish and lots of furniture made to traditional designs. Amish tables are 100% made in the USA from American oak, masculine and cherry, and so are all the other items they offer.
Whether it’s bedroom furniture, kitchen cabinets made to your own personal designs and measurements, or bedroom furniture, both Simply Amish and the Custom Shoppe meet all the requirements to be classified as Made in America or Made in the USA. The same goes for the furniture manufactured in the US by L & JG Stickley.
Gustav Stickley was the first cabinetmaker to use quarter-sawn oak extensively in American furniture. In fact, the family has been involved in several developments that are now considered standard in American furniture manufacturing. Another is attaching four quarter-sawn oak strips to each side of a center post to create a beautiful post with the best patterns that the oak medullary rays are capable of.
Stickley furniture is all made in the USA. Southwood Furniture is America’s best reproduction furniture company and you can’t expect every reproduction piece to use even 75% American materials. However, Southwood is the only American furniture company to have access to the records of the Historic New England Museum so that the company can reproduce the furniture in the 36 houses that make up that museum.
Reproduction furniture and quality
Since the reproductions must be made as faithfully as possible to the originals, many of these will be made using only American raw materials. This includes the wood, upholstery and fittings. Where they are no longer available locally, they are made by Southwood or local contractors to the original designs. This meets the requirements for a Made in USA sticker.
There are many more furniture manufacturers in the US who are eligible for this award but have not yet applied for it. Made in America doesn’t necessarily mean high quality, but now that perhaps more people are looking for it, quality should be another aspect of registration.
Otherwise, Made in America or Made in USA could mean a geographic tag rather than an indication of good quality. It should mean both. Let’s prevent the tag from becoming meaningless!
If you prefer to buy furniture made in the USA, visit the Patterson Furniture website. The Patterson Showrooms in Atlanta market many different types of furniture, including Amish and reproduction furniture. Read more about the meaning Made in USA here .