10 Iconic Products Still Made In America
Founded in 1897, left for dead shortly after World War II and revived briefly during the '60s, '70s and late '90s, Indian Motorcycle took on new life in 2006 and began making bikes at a facility in North Carolina. The move brought back an iconic American ride that set world speed records in the mid-'60s and a 2005 film that put Sir Anthony Hopkins at the handlebars. Last year, motorcycle and water vehicle manufacturer Polaris(PII) bought Indian and moved production to its facilities in Iowa, which should keep the Chief's roar a fixture on American roads for at least a few miles longer.
Naval engineer Richard James inadvertently invented the stair-descending spring during a failed attempt at making stabilizers for ships' instruments during World War II. After he sold a bunch to a department store in Philadelphia in 1945, demand became so great that James started mass-producing them there. Production eventually moved to Hollidayville, Pa., where more than 300 million have been made to date. It's still fairly cheap, too, with the average Slinky selling for roughly $5.
Les Paul died three years ago, but the Gibson ax that bears his name made him immortal in rock circles. Slash, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend and Billy Joe Armstrong are all Les Paul adherents whose signature versions of that guitar have raked in millions for Gibson. Founded in 1902 in Kalamazoo, Mich., Gibson Guitar created the first electric guitar in 1936, while Paul would create the first solid-body version just a few years later.