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Spring 2016

Made in America?

You see it everywhere now—in tags and marketing campaigns for everything from wallets to clothes to cars. If it’s “Made in America,” by definition it’s supposed to be good, if not superior to foreign competitors. But is it really? Many of these products require skills that virtually disappeared from the American landscape decades ago. In this issue of Craftsmanship, we examine what it takes to retrieve those skills—in a form that’s built to last. We also visit a New Yorker cartoonist, and a gang of science nerds seeking new frontiers with craft beer.

Spring 2016, Fall 2019

How Does America “Reshore” Skills that Are Disappearing?

Now that manufacturing wages in Asia are starting to rise, some U.S. industries have started to bring their businesses back to our own shores. Many others remain skittish, however—of our tighter regulatory environment, of the high cost of U.S. labor, and of the paucity of workers who know how to make things anymore. Can that spiral be reversed?

By TODD OPPENHEIMER

Spring 2016

The Shinola Polish

In the 1960s, Shinola, the venerable American shoe-polish company that became famous for a World War II soldier’s crack, “You don’t know shit from Shinola,” shut its doors. The move was a fitting bookend to the golden age of American manufacturing. Then, in 2011, a Texas developer revived the name as a maker of watches, leather goods, and retro bicycles in the broken heart of downtown Detroit, where, the company says, “American is Made.” Is making things in America again that easy?

By LAURA FRASER

Spring 2016

Walmart’s Made-In-USA Shell Game

After being called out for deceptive advertising by a watchdog organization, and then the FTC, Walmart tries to fix the problem by creating a web of confusion. The watchdog’s legal counsel believes the company’s website still violates a variety of FTC rules. But no one seems to be doing much about it.

By TODD OPPENHEIMER

Spring 2016

The Value of Time

When an American made, battery powered, quartz watch costs $1,500, and its counterparts from other countries, including Switzerland, range from $50 to more than $50,000, what’s the difference between them all? A quick dive into the eternal appeal of wrist sculptures.

By TODD OPPENHEIMER

Spring 2016

The Search For The Perfect Leather Bag

Boutiques selling hip shoulder bags seem to be all the rage these days. Some look rustic enough to take into the woods, some more suited to the streets of Manhattan. With all these offerings, how does an eager consumer judge quality? Herewith, a visit with four contrasting American leathercrafting shops. And a little story about Marv Obenauf, a former firefighter turned master artisan of leather dressings.

Story by TODD OPPENHEIMER
Photography by ROMAIN BLANQUART, SCOTT CHERNIS, SHAWN LINEHAN, and courtesy of L.P. STREIFEL

Other Topics In This Issue

Spring 2016, Summer 2017

How Far Can Beer Science Go?

Where else would you expect to find a band of techno-scientific beer geeks except in the industrial side of San Francisco, Ground Zero for start-ups? Join our fermentation correspondent as she travels to the outer edges of beer flavors with the boys of Method Beer.

By GRACE RUBENSTEIN

Spring 2016

The Mind of a Cartoonist

A dive into the twisted, obsessive, goofy world of Ken Krimstein, who draws cartoons for a range of magazines, including The New Yorker. What does this art form tell us about the nature of humor, and cartooning’s lure?

By LORI ROTENBERK

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