Forget It, Jack, It’s Chinatown: Sennheiser HD598CS

Welcome to our newest feature: Forget It, Jack, It’s Chinatown. In this feature, we will be exposing products that are made in China despite carrying a non-Chinese brand and not advertising their Chinese provenance. With any luck, this will provide definite answers to people who Google “xxx made in China”. (I’m not the only person who does that. Right? Right?)

Today’s episode: the Sennheiser HD598CS.

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Made In The USA, Black Friday Edition: $79.95 Basic Black New Balance 993

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You want a great pair of shoes? Today’s the day. Click this link to get to Joe’s New Balance. (I don’t get anything, but you have to use their email promo.) Choose Made In Usa. Choose basic black 993. It’s $99.95. After your 20% off, it’s $79.95.

If you’ve ever wanted to own a set of the best all-purpose casual shoes out there, now’s the day. For another ten bucks or so, you can get some of the color combinations, if you like, but this all-black 993 is new to the site and I think it’s pretty neat!

Happy shopping, everybody!

Made In the USA: Noble x Massdrop In-Ear Monitors

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It’s the kind of thing we’re told just doesn’t exist anymore: American-made earphones. (Sorry audiophiles: In-Ear Monitors.) Noble Audio still makes them, however. Although their traditional entry-level set is $399, they’ve coordinated with Massdrop to build a special set for $249. If you use earphones for more than brief periods, it’s worth checking these out. I’ve already ordered mine. When you register through my referral link, you give me the chance to get fun stuff. So far, referrals through this site have gotten me: a Pilot fountain pen, several American-made Vapur water bottles, and a titanium spork! You know you want me to have more titanium sporks, so get shopping!

Made In The USA: Rattlerstrap Titan

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I think a lot of my friends are going to make fun of me for this one, and perhaps deservedly so. The Rattlerstrap Titan belt is a child of the “Everyday Carry” phenomenon, also known as “EDC”. It’s an American-made, titanium-buckle belt with a very fine-grained adjustment, which is nice when you’re trying to use the same belt for both denim and wool pants. But its raison d’etre is based on the rather ridiculous assumption that you will need one hundred feet of nylon paracord on short notice.

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Made In The USA: Red Oxx

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Given all of the posturing about American-made products that goes on in these pages, the reader would be forgiven for thinking that I had some sort of locally-sourced travel luggage. The sad truth is that for the past fifteen years I’ve been traveling using a pair of raggedy-ass Tumi duffel bags that, like the rest of Tumi’s product line after the turn of the century, were made in a low-cost country. My lame excuse for this is that I was too stupid to look in the bags when I bought them; I’d owned American-made Tumi items in the past and I didn’t realize that the company had gone overseas.

The biggest issue I had with my Tumi duffels was that neither of them could carry all of my race gear and a toothbrush, so I was forced to use both of them on driving-related trips. Still, I can be remarkably cheap where certain things are concerned. Even after the larger of the duffels split right down the seam, I planned to just keep using it until the seam got large enough to run the risk of my HANS device escaping during a flight. It took some radical action by Danger Girl to end my travel-luggage nightmare.

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Made In The USA: Machine Era No. 2

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My Kaweco Liliput Fireblue has been a true delight these past fifty days. There’s something about it that just works, just feels right in the hand. The steampunk aesthetic doesn’t hurt one bit, either.

The only problem is that you can’t fly with it — and I’m on a plane fifty days a year or more. So let’s try something else: a machined-brass ballpoint, made in the United States, with an stout aluminum clip.

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Made In The USA: Alial Fital

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This one came to me via the recommendation of John Marks, whom we all know from The Tannhauser Gate. Gibran Hamdan, born in San Diego to Pakistani and Palestinian parents, was drafted by the Redskins and bounced around between teams, never accumulating any significant playing time and finally retiring in 2010, seven years after he was drafted.

Naturally, given all his newly found free time, he started sewing shirts at home.

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Made In The USA: Darn Tough

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I spend a lot of time — certainly more than I should — going through various manufacturer websites looking for those little disclaimers about anonymous foreign production. Usually it’s in the form of negative-space declaration: “All FooBarCo products are designed right here in San Diego.” Uh huh. Sometimes, you’ll get carefully-worded paragraphs about the excellence of the factory: “FooBarCo makes its WidgetPro line in an ISO9001-compliant factory that has been well-respected for quality since 1982.” In China, of course, but they don’t say that. Or there’s the enviro-wacko line: “Everything FooBarCo sells is made from post-consumer recycled bamboo with waste water and solar power.” IN CHINA.

For a refreshing change, let’s read the DarnTough site:

There’s a sign in our mill that states, “Nobody ever outsourced anything for quality.”

Our feeling is that when you’re really serious about something you make it yourself.

Our socks aren’t produced off shore or out-sourced within the US.

We sell what we produce. All of our socks are knit here in our Northfield, Vermont factory.

Well shee-it, brother, that’s all you had to say.

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