Libbey Glass Company (1818)
As one of America’s leading glassware and tableware manufacturers, Libbey Glass Company had its start in East Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1818. Among many achievements, it was the first to develop machine blown glass (1907) and the first to develop a computer-controlled blower for stemware (1995). Today, Libbey Glass Company is best known for their drinkware, like these Polaris Glasses and Tumblers. Although glass technology has changed quite a bit over the past 100 years, Libbey has managed to keep up with the times (and lead the way) with its glasses and home accessories. Available on Amazon; $24.99 for a set of 16 glasses and tumblers.
In 1876, crockery shop owner Melville R. Bissell invented the first-ever carpet sweeper, which he patented and transformed into the BISSELL business. The company specialized in floor cleaning products, inventing the manual carpet shampooer in 1956 and the deep cleaning carpet machine in 1979. Nowadays BISSELL manufactures carpet cleaners like the Big Green Deep Cleaning Professional Grade Carpet Cleaner Machine, a fan favorite with Amazon shoppers. Available on Amazon; $391.67.
Pendleton Blankets (1909)
From its home base in Oregon, Pendleton has been "Weaving America's Spirit" since 1909, when founder Thomas L. Kay first established the mill that would launch an enduring American lifestyle brand. Today, though much has changed about the sixth-generation, family-owned company, its original mill continues to craft the colorful wool blankets responsible for its early and continuing success. Customers now enjoy a greater selection than ever before among Pendleton blankets, but a standout in its current line must be National Park Collection (pictured here), whose colors and patterns channel the history and splendor of America's outdoor playgrounds. Available at Amazon; $259.
Related: The Best Blankets You Can Buy Online
Radio Flyer Wagons (1917)
Perhaps the quintessential symbol of American innocence, the Radio Flyer (named for the twin technologic marvels of its day) owes its existence to pure chance. At the turn of the century, company founder Antonio Pasin was working as a carpenter in Chicago, transporting his tools from site to site via small wagons of his own devising. Soon, once customers began requesting to purchase wagons of their own, Pasin realized he was onto something. From then on, though the Radio Flyer has undergone scores of design changes, its bright-red, stamped-steel body has been a virtual constant, remaining as recognizable today as it was for our grandparents' generation. Available at Amazon; $149.
20-Mule Team Borax (1891)
20-Mule Team Borax has been a cleaning staple since the 1800s. The main ingredient, sodium borate, was discovered in Death Valley, CA in 1881, and less than 10 years later the Pacific Coast Borax Company began selling the product in stores as 20-Mule Team Borax. While Borax was first used as a laundry booster, innovative DIYers have since discovered its effectiveness as a bathroom or kitchen cleaner, as well as a pest deterrent and garden helper. Available from Target; $4.69.
Sherwin-Williams Paints (1866)
In 1866, Henry Sherwin and Edward Williams formed a partnership with the goal to make ready-mix paint attainable for the average American. With a lot of determination, hard-work, and trial-and-error, the two men created the highest-standard for the paint market. Today, the company is responsible for painting some of America’s most famous landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hollywood Hills sign, and the White House—while still selling consistently good paint for the typical homeowner. DIYers can find a wide range of Sherwin-Williams paint colors in stores throughout the country, and basic colors like this Eggshell can be purchased online. Available at Lowes; $44.98.
Arm and Hammer Baking Soda (1846)
This pantry staple first came to be in the kitchen of John Dwight who, with co-inventor Dr. Austin Church, packaged the first supplies in paper bags by hand. Soon after, the bicarbonate of soda—or baking soda—took on the trademark Arm & Hammer, which has since become a world-renowned name and logo thanks to its multitude of uses in household cleaning and hygiene. Available on Amazon; $9.98 for 64 oz.
Colgate Toothpaste (1873)
Though the company found its start with the manufacturing and sale of starch, soap, and candles back in 1806, what most consumers know it for today—minty-fresh toothpaste—didn't come about until nearly 70 years later. Aromatic toothpaste appeared in jars in 1873 and then collapsible tubes (a predecessor to today's squeeze-style packaging) 23 years later. Available on Amazon; $4.96 for two.
flickr.com via Mark Tighe
Lodge Skillets (1896)
The small town of South Pittsburgh, Tennessee has seen many changes since 1896, but at least one thing remains constant: it's still the home to one of America's most iconic cookware brands. Founded by Joseph Lodge, Lodge Manufacturing has been producing quality cast iron skillets for generations. The secret to their skillet's enduring popularity is likely due to the perfect alchemy of quality, versatility, and cost. Built to last a lifetime and with models that cost less than $20, a Lodge skillet can cook over virtually any heat source, whether gas, induction, grill, or campfire. Available on Amazon; $15.92.
Rit Dye (1917)
The dye that Grandma used to whiten shoes is the same thing people today can use to tie-dye shirts, dip dye curtains, or stain untreated wood and wicker. Rit dye became available to the American public during World War I at a time when consumers were cut off from popular European dyes. Americans went wild for the simple yet effective dye and Rit has been a household name ever since. Today Rit is available in a range of colors, both in powdered or liquid form. Available on Amazon; $6.59.
Caswell-Massey has been in existence long before today’s booming skincare and wellness trend. Founded in 1752 in Newport, Rhode Island, the apothecary and perfumery company is considered the very first luxury beauty and fragrance brand in America. Fans of their soaps, shaving creams, and colognes have included everyone from Jaqueline Onassis to the Rolling Stones. While many new companies are just beginning to develop green products, Caswell-Massey’s lines are already free of parabens, sulfates and artificial additives. Available on Amazon; $11.
Ames Tools (1774)
In 1774, Captain John Ames began crafting the first American metal shovels in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts. The rest is history—quite literally. Ames shovels and its expanded line of tools have been used to help build the B&O Railroad, the Statue of Liberty, the Panama Canal, the Empire State Building, and the Golden Bridge, just to name a few. We think if these durable tools are good enough for those iconic structures, then they should be good for our backyards. Available from The Home Depot; $18.98.
Crane and Co. (1770)
Sure a lot of communication nowadays happens through emails, texts, and tweets, but no one can deny the appeal of a handwritten note. Stephen Crane understood this way back in 1770 when he opened the Liberty Paper Mill in Massachusetts. During that period, his paper was used for newspapers, currency, and of course, stationary. Crane and Co. has evolved with the times and continues making quality and stylish paper for individuals to express themselves on. Available on Amazon; $19.
With the aspiration to start a successful pottery business, Johann George Pfaltzgraff and his family immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1833. Johann began his company by crafting ceramics that the surrounding farming community could use, like pitchers, plates, and jugs. With help from his sons and nephew, the family business expanded. Decades later and you can certainly say the Pfaltzgraff family achieved that dream. Today, you can find Pfaltzgraff housewares in many households. Available from Amazon; $149.99.
W. Altee Burpee ditched his parents’ dreams of him becoming a doctor to start his own poultry and livestock mail order company. The innovative Burpee soon added seeds and plants to his offerings to make his business more viable. Through ups and downs, the Burpee brand has continued to prosper and be relied upon by gardeners of all experiences. Whether you’re looking for vegetable seeds or a new hybrid flower, you can bet Burpee has you covered. Available from Burpee; $4.19 for 200 Maestro Pea seeds.
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