Made in USA
We didn't set out to make American-Made our charge. But we have taken it up, and with good reason. It's important to us, and important to the countless manufacturers around the country that struggle to make it here in America.
As we dug into the story of how the shop rag came to be, what we discovered was really how a nation came to be. It was created on the backs of hardworking people, industrial know-how, and American pioneering spirit. The path we took to create the Shop Rag Shirt led us to the manufacturing heart of the country, and then led us to partner with some great people and some very historic companies. We proudly share the list of these companies below so that others may learn about their incredible service and offerings.
American-made is tough. It can be more complicated and take longer to find the highest quality materials and superior workmanship. American-made is more expensive. It's up against cheap labor and huge competition from abroad and an ever-shrinking number of expert craftsman.
But American made is possible, if you make it a priority. We have. And we're proud of it. We will always go to the extra effort to source goods and manufacturing that's 100% made in USA. As we grow, we will constantly look for ways to make it more affordable, and pass that savings on wherever we can. We will stay American Made, because it matters.
Merrow is the oldest manufacturer of sewing machines still operating in the United States, having existed for 180 years. The company currently manufactures and hand-builds more than 40 styles of industrial sewing machines, including the MG-3DR, the very machine from which the iconic red shop rag was born.
The origins of the company date back to the early 19th century in Hartford, Connecticut when Joseph M. Merrow built a knitting factory and began producing goods sold to merchants throughout New England. As the demand for these goods increased, a machine shop was built in order to support Merrow's need for specialized equipment. This gave birth to the first of the Merrow sewing machines.
In 2004, The Merrow Sewing Machine Company reorganized under the leadership of Charlie and Owen Merrow. Nephews of founder Joseph B. Merrow, the two brothers moved production into the historic Granite Mill Buildings located in Fall River, MA, the former textile-manufacturing capital of the United States. Embracing the local community and its textile roots, they have expanded Merrow's capabilities into soft goods production, officially opening up full manufacturing capabilities in 2016.
Our relationship with Charlie Merrow started with a simple phone call and then an in-person meeting in which he stated 'America needs this shirt'. We are forever indebted to Charlie and Owen, and Merrow Manufacturing for their long-standing support, and their invaluable role in the making The Shop Rag Shirt.
WATERBURY BUTTON COMPANY
The Waterbury Button Co. has been making stamped metal buttons for over 200 years, so there story is about as old the nation itself. With the newly formed United States engaged with England in the War of 1812, Yankee soldiers and sailors needed uniform buttons. A patriotic New Englander by the name of Aaron Benedict bought up every brass kettle, pot and pan he could, established a rolling mill and began making buttons near Waterbury, Conn.These military beginnings were the start of a longstanding tradition. Waterbury is the only metal button company that can claim to having proudly supplied the U.S. military with uniform buttons for every armed conflict from the Civil War to Operation Dessert Storm. The same craftsmanship, hand tooling and artistry that has made The Waterbury Button Co. the gold standard in button manufacturing still exists today. We are proud to be a small part of this rich history and adorn every Shop Rag Shirt with Waterbury's Style 32 brass, tack-fasteners
MINNEWAWA LABEL MFG.
Staying American-made, down to the label is a challenge. And it's one we struggled with for a while, discovering that many of the American company's providing labels are outsourcing their production overseas. That all changed when we came across Minnewawa Label Manufactures located in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Minnewawa is the oldest American Woven Label company in existence and has been an American-run company since it started in 1929. Started as 3 old looms set up in a drafty barn beside the Minnewawa river, the company founded by Fred Hemenway and Ernest Blomach has grown to be the trusted name in custom-made label manufacturing for the apparel industry.
Now, every woven label we use, from our Company Caps right down to our Shop Rag Shirt care instructions comes from the Minnewawa headquarters where they operate a fully domestic program of manufacturing, distribution, and customer service.
When we say our Shop Rag Shirt is 100% American-made, right down to the thread, we mean it. Located in Mount Holly, North Carolina, A&E has been in the textile business for more than 125 years, surviving depressions, technological upheavals, and numerous other challenges to remain one of the world’s largest manufacturers and distributors of industrial sewing thread, embroidery thread and technical textiles.