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Craftsmen Provide Quality and Local Trade

| 4/2/2014 4:00:00 PM

This winter, I broke a snow shovel, feather duster, leaf rake and stainless steel measuring cup. Not since childhood have I been violent with my tools. In fact, I treat them with the utmost respect. So, I had to ask, what is going on here?

China tag

Admittedly, we had some bizarre snowfall this year, sort of a snow cone/slushy mixture. However, the hard plastic shovel was not inexpensive or very old. In my opinion, it should not have cracked and split so easily. I never broke a shovel as a Wisconsin youngster, even when using them as sleds in the cow pasture, sometimes standing on them like downhill surfboards barreling over frozen cow patties and rocks.

The plastic feather duster handle broke away about an inch at a time. All I have left now is the cluster of feathers. The wooden rake handle, just three years old, snapped in half during ordinary use. And, the spot weld gave way on the measuring cup handle while scooping oatmeal. These are just a few examples of the poor quality we now accept as normal.

A popular commercial slogan when I was growing up in the 1960s was Zenith’s “quality goes in before the name goes on.” Incidentally, we had only one TV all the years of my childhood, a tubeless black-and-white Zenith.

Back then, we took for granted that first-rate products always would be made in the United States, and only cheap articles came from overseas.

4/24/2014 8:28:55 PM

I agree with you, even AlexM, that quality is products is lacking in many areas. Alex is right, cheap is cheap, no matter where made. The problem didn't happen because manufacturing moved offshore, it happened when manufacturers put profit above all else, including quality. There was a time when Made in America meant something and there was also a time when retail giants like Sears, Lowes, etc ONLY sold quality merchandise no matter where it came from. In fact Sears for many years had things made with their name on it and it meant quality if it said Craftsman, but not since corporate world put profit above quality, name, reputation, etc. I support local craftsman when I came, I am one, but local or chinese, make it quick as cheaply as possible and you'll turn out junk.

4/24/2014 1:27:12 AM

I've started buying more and more at garage sales and used stores. Tools, especially, seem to last longer if I buy ones that are already 10 or 15 years old and made in America. This is what giving America a chance is all about. Please check out and/or

4/23/2014 11:07:11 AM

Very good article. Bless the craftsmen and the real farmers because when it goes to hell in a hand basket they will be the ones to put us back together.

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