Kiosk's America 3 has been on the site for some time, but there are some real gems there. Nearly (you'll see with the third item, why it's nearly) each piece is made in the US and has a story, well written by the site (which pulls you in as a reader).
One of my very favorites are these Map Tacks.
"Still a family owned business, Moore Push-Pins was established in 1900 by Edwin Moore with $112.60. Like many inventors and entrepreneurs he worked day and night building his little business based on pins. Why pins? I do not know, but Mr. Moore is credited with inventing push-pins as well as map tacks. We all know paper maps are steadily being replaced by digital maps and with their departure, map tacks are also heading the way of the robin. However, being a big believer in using things for anything but their "proper" use, I find these tacks really handy for prioritizing things around the house. At the start of every week each task gets a number. Hair needs cutting, number the scissors, change the shower curtain, number it, take out the compost, number it. Very handy and practical indeed. I am sure you will find some interesting things to number, or just use them like push-pins after all! Comes with numbers 1 - 25, you can only take on 25 tasks a week at most!"
I'm quite certain that this fellow was at my grandparents' home when I was a kid.
"He needs his hair, aw, won't you help him put on his hair? Our man Willy hails from the small, industrious Pennsylvania town of Smethport, where since 1908 toys have been manufactured. Willy's founder established a toy business based on magnets in 1923. His sons joined the company in the early 50's. In 1955 one son realized the potential of magnetic dust; at the same time the US Army needed a three dimensional map which was produced by vacuum forming heated plastic. The other son then suggested using vacuum forming to create a frame to hold the magnetic powder. Needing a fun background for the whole thing, bald Willy was created by a local artist. It all remains the same today. Willies may come and go but this Willy is here to stay."
Ah, come on Dietz, bring the factory back:
"There is a building in the West Village of New York City with the name Dietz on it. Founded in 1840 by a 22 year old Robert E. Dietz, until the 1950's these lanterns were made nearby KIOSK, however, even then costs were going up and manufacturers had to work hard to keep them down so Dietz shipped off all their machinery to China and have been making their lanterns there ever since. A little sad, how does an object differ when made far from it's country of origin? I'd like to know how this lantern changed. The original tooling for the model #8 is from 1938. In the past it was standard for most homes to have a lantern in their closet in case of a hurricane, this was before everyone transitioned to flashlights. Unless there is a blackout (possible) and our flashlight is out of batteries (also possible) we really have little practical use for the Dietz. However, taking it up on our roof on a summer night, sitting around, playing cards and having some drinks is a lot like being in another world. It's soft and peaceful, no generators, no sound, no harsh light, it's, for lack of a better word, simply, really NICE. The lantern's all ready to go, just add kerosene, will burn for 27 hours, cost is approximately 6 cents an hour. I have to say, I just want to hug this thing."
There you go, a sampling of Americana. Thank you Kiosk for bringing a bit of simply-designed, well-made items to all of us. You can see what Kiosk has stocked from travels around the world as well, each made in that little corner of the world...let's help keep these businesses going!