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Guest post by Nichole of Just Children’s Books and NicholeAnn.com.
I’m so happy to call Pennsylvania my home. I’ve lived in PA for most of my life and I have no plans on leaving. That’s why I had so much fun coming up with this list of the top 10 things produced in the Keystone State.
In case you didn’t know it, PA is unofficially known as a “snack capital of the world”. It was so hard to not make this a yummy food-only list. But that wouldn’t be fair to our non-food producing companies. So in no particular order I present to you the top 10 things that are yummy, useful, or fun AND made right here in Pennsylvania!
Peeps - Spring and Easter are going to be here before we know it so it wouldn’t seem right to skip over the seasonal treat known as Peeps. Even though they are available for other holidays too, no Easter basket is complete without a few! Honestly, I never was a big fan of the cute and squishy critters, even as a child. My mom loved them though so that pretty much guaranteed they made their way into my basket every year. All Peeps are made in the USA by Just Born, Inc., based in Bethlehem, PA. They also make Mike & Ike’s, Hot Tamales, and Peanut Chews.
K’NEX – If you haven’t played with K’NEX before you are missing out. They are the fun construction sets that come to life with movement. Invented in 1990 and based in Hatfield, PA. All their bricks, rods, and connectors are made in Hatfield too – check out the video on this page that describes their green manufacturing initiatives. One word of caution: if you are diehard Made-in-USA only person, read each set before you buy as some none-standard parts are made overseas. Honestly, that won’t stop me from supporting this local company!
Pyrex - Love my Pyrex bakeware! My original set is 10+ years old. And as I’ve been moving away from plastic containers as much as possible I’ve added even more pieces in the last few years. There are rumors floating around on the Internet that the manufacturing of Pyrex was moved to China. World Kitchen wholeheartedly denies those allegations. All Pyrex glass bakeware is still made in the same Charleroi, PA plant today.
Crayola - Millions of Crayola crayons and markers and made in Easton and Bethlehem, PA every years. They even have gone green and now our crayons are made with solar power! Why I ever bought cheap knock-off crayons is beyond me. It’s Crayola all the way from now on. Oh and if you ever happen to be in the area, take your little ones to the Crayola Experience where they can see how crayons and markers are made as well as have fun with art projects.
Holgate Toys – If you are looking for quality wooden toys made in the USA look no further than Holgate Toys which has been making toys in PA since 1789! Now based in Bradford, PA they make all kinds of classic wooden toys. They were even Mr. Rodgers’ toy manufacturer of choice and you can still get replicas from Mr Rodgers’ Neighorhood today. But really, with all the concern about lead, arsenic, and who knows what else in overseas toy products this is one established toy company worth checking out.
Zippo - Even non-smokers have to admit that Zippo lighters are cool. They’ve been making lighters in Bradford, PA for 80 years and they have no plans on moving. Coolest of all though is no matter how old your lighter is you can always send it into Zippo for repair!
Yuengling - I’m not really a big drinker, but the other half would be bummed if I didn’t include his favorite lager, Yuengling on this list. I didn’t realize until somewhat recently this is more of a regional beer (available in only 14 states, mostly on the east coast) as it’s pretty much a household name here in PA. The Pottsville, PA brewery is dubbed the oldest in the nation – even surviving Prohibition – and is open for tours and tastings.
Kepner Scott shoes - This little known company is the oldest children’s shoe manufacturer in the country. Founded in 1888, Kepner is still making children’s shoes in Orwigsburg, PA. They take pride in offering “healthy shoes” for children and one thing you might appreciate is that they really believe in proper fit. Unlike many manufacturers today they haven’t eliminated widths and sizes for economy. Plus, their shoes are classic and cute!
All-Clad – Serious cooks know the All-Clad name and know that their pots and pans represent kitchen quality and performance. Born of the Pennsylvania steel industry, All-Clad Metalcrafters is the only bonded cookware manufacturer who utilizes American craftsmen and American-made metals to produce a complete line of products. They are located in Southwest PA.
Tastykake - In 2011, The Tasty Baking Company was sold to Flowers Foods, Inc. Who knows what will happen to the brand in the future but for now the Tastykakes Philadelphians have grown up on are still made in Philadelphia, PA. My favorite Tastykake of all are Kandy Kakes. If they aren’t your favorite too the only thing I can think is you must be allergic to peanut butter because these things are so darn good! If you’ve yet to experience Kandy Kake yumminess you can find companies online that will ship them to you.
So that’s it, 10 great products made in Pennsylvania. But before I go I want to give a huge crunchy honorable mention to the chip & pretzel makers in PA: Herrs, Utz, Martins, and Snyders among others.
If we missed your favorite Made in PA product, tell us all about it in the comments!
Nichole currently lives in Bucks County, PA and has been blogging in one form or another since 2006. You can currently find her online at Just Children’s Books and NicholeAnn.com. She recently opened a small children’s boutique at a weekend market and has found it a challenge to balance carrying thoughtfully-sourced products with the desires of the price-conscientious consumer. Nevertheless, she continues to believe in shopping with a purpose and being conscientious of where and how products we purchase are made.