Chihuly Garden
Chihuly Garden by Richard Ricciardi (CC BY-NC-ND)

50 Unexpected Things Made in Each State

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Chihuly Garden
Chihuly Garden by Richard Ricciardi (CC BY-NC-ND)

Made in the U.S.A

America is no longer the world's manufacturing powerhouse, but that doesn't mean we don't still make things. While it seems we mostly make entertainment and gourmet foods these days, each state retains and exhibits its unique personality through the products and industries it exports. In this list, we'll run through at least one unexpected product from each state you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere else (and some are great for all-American gifts).

Alabama: Rockets
Space Frontiers / Stringer / Archive Photos / Getty Images CC

Alabama: Rockets

Though they're not making many more today, Alabama, and specifically NASA's Space Flight Center in Huntsville, is responsible for designing and assembling the Saturn V rocket, deployed in every Apollo mission and to date the only launch vehicle to take humans beyond low Earth orbit. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville now holds one of only three Saturn Vs on display throughout the world, while Alabama has since produced other leaps in technological progress, such as the Super Soaker.

Alaska: Glacial Mud Masks
Alaska Glacial Mud Co.

Alaska: Glacial Mud Masks

Alaska's biggest attraction is its untamed, frontierlike wilderness, which is also where it's most distinct souvenirs are sourced from. The Winking Moose, for example, is a Fairbanks-based fashion accessory retailer whose earrings, Christmas ornaments, necklaces, pins, and other trinkets are made from real moose feces — dried and odorless, of course. If scat-based jewelry isn't your thing, however, there are also skincare products made from glacial mud and horizontal ulu knives, a traditional Inuit and Unangan tool used for everything from hunting to igloo-building.

Arizona: Artificial Hearts
SynCardia

Arizona: Artificial Hearts

Tucson's own SynCardia Systems produce the Total Artificial Heart, the first and only FDA-approved heart replacement. The pump is surgically installed to circulate blood and replace damaged ventricles, namely as an interim life-saving measure until patients can secure an available donor heart. On the lighter side, you can also buy Arizona-sourced emu oil, extracted from the flightless bird's feathers and used for diverse topical applications such as lip balm, sunburn, soap, and body lotion.

Arkansas: Whetstone
Dan's Whetstone Company Inc.

Arkansas: Whetstone

Dan's Whetstone is a Hot Springs-based business that makes good use of Arkansas's many ancient quarries and other geological features. Since 1976, it's been cutting and finishing microcrystalline quartz Novaculite, also called Arkansas stone, into various grades and types of whetstone, used for sharpening any knife you might imagine — while also expanding its line to include more than 300 products, such as sandstone coasters, also sourced straight from America's Natural State.

California: Recycled Toys
Green Toys

California: Recycled Toys

There's no shortage of products that have been made in the Golden State, including the nation's most famous wine and technology brands, but Green Toys is one company that feels both timeless and contemporary. Its 100% recycled toys reflect the state's eco-friendly reputation while also looking classically simple, whether it's a tugboat or jump rope. California is also notable for still boasting a large number of textile mills. Customers can still find domestically sourced options for all kinds of products, from denim jeans to luxury bedding.

Related: 39 Clothing Brands That Are Still Made in America

Tumbleweed Tarleton | $32,000
Tiny House Listings

Colorado: Tiny Houses

From its 20,000-square-foot facility in Colorado Springs, Tumbleweed Tiny House custom designs picture-perfect tiny abodes doubling as recreational vehicles from locally sourced parts and accessories. It seems the Rocky Mountain state has become something of a hub for alternative living accommodations, since it's also home to Freedom Yurt Cabins (also in Colorado Springs), the Colorado Yurt (and teepee) Co. in Montrose, and Growing Spaces, which builds geodesic gardening domes, in Pagosa Springs.

A Wiffle bat and ball
A Wiffle bat and ball by Rmrfstar (CC BY)

Connecticut: Wiffle Balls and Bats

Hole-filled Wiffle balls and the lightweight yellow bats they come with have been empowering children's playtime and reducing injuries on the ballfield since 1953, and to this day are still produced where they were invented, in Shelton. Elsewhere, the state's "Silver City" of Meriden is home to several craftsmen and companies continuing the regional tradition of producing high-end pewter and silver housewares.

EMU suit worn during EVA on the International Space Station
NASA

Delaware: Spacesuits

Another major contributor to the Apollo missions' success, ILC Dover has been the primary supplier of spacesuits for NASA for more than 50 years, with astronauts at the International Space Station currently sporting its hermitically sealed apparel. For those who aren't planning any interstellar travel but still want to enjoy something made in Delaware, there's RAPA Scrapple, whose Bridgeville plant churns out heaps of the mid-Atlantic meatloaf-like delicacy, made from pork scraps, cornmeal, and wheat flour, among other things.

Related: Bucket-List Food Experiences in Every State

Florida: Datil Peppers
Old St. Augustine Gourmet

Florida: Datil Peppers

St. Augustine is distinguished both as America's oldest continuously inhabited city and the world's foremost producer of datil peppers. One purveyor of this spicy capsicum variety is the family-owned Old St. Augustine Gourmet, whose datil-based products include hot sauces, salsas, and seasoning mixes. The Sunshine state is also now home to the nation's only fully-integrated cane sugar company, Florida Crystals, whose production of organic sweetener now exceeds 7 million tons annually.

Related: 24 Condiments From Around the World to Add Zing to Any Meal

Georgia: Vidalia Onions
KatieDobies/istockphoto

Georgia: Vidalia Onions

Though more famous for peaches and pecans — not to mention Coca-Cola — Georgia also keeps the rest of the nation supplied with Vidalia onions. This distinctly sweet onion has historic roots in the town of Vidalia, where deliberate cultivation began in the 1930s, evolving into a state-regulated trademark and Georgia's state vegetable by 1990. Now, enthusiasts can even order ahead to receive their cut of the next spring's Vidalia harvest.

Hawaii: Pineapple Wine
Maui Wine

Hawaii: Pineapple Wine

Most things made in Hawaii wouldn't qualify as "unexpected," since they almost perfectly adhere to the state's stereotype as a laidback island paradise, whether it's surfboards, tropical fruit jams, or natural suntan lotion. There is, however, the pineapple wine varietals from MauiWine, which flaunts vineyard tradition to suit its tropical climate. Another island souvenir to consider would be the "wearable wood" products from Calabash, which include jewelry, wallets, backpacks, and baseball caps.

Related: Great Wines Under $20 from Every State

Idaho: Star Garnets
Stewart's Gem Shop

Idaho: Star Garnets

Idaho has more than famous potatoes going for it — for example, there's the state gem, star garnet, which are purplish-red jewels that reflect four-ray stars and are commonly found in the sediment of local streams. These unique stones are rarely found at malls or other outlets but reserved for gem and mineral collections or custom-made jewelry, some of which you can purchase at Stewart's Gem Shop in Boise.

Illinois: Drink Cups
Amazon

Illinois: Solo Cups

Illinois is home to many manufacturers, but only the Lake Forest-based Solo Cup can claim ownership of the nation's most iconic house party utensil. Sales of the cups number in the billions annually. Many famous food brands such as Quaker Oats and Vienna Sausages are also headquartered and produced there, along with the NFL-aligned sports apparel company Riddell.

2017 Autocar Xpeditor (ACX) refuse truck
2017 Autocar Xpeditor (ACX) refuse truck by Sedimentary (CC BY)

Indiana: Heavy-Duty Trucks

Autocar lays claim to being the Western hemisphere's oldest surviving motor vehicle manufacturer, with corporate and manufacturing now based in Hagerstown. Responsible for building America's first truck in 1899, today Autocar has survived through production of custom-engineered, heavy-duty trucks for "vocational applications." That means that even if you've never driven in one, chances are you've at least heard an Autocar collecting your trash in the morning.

Iowa: Wooden Kaleidoscopes
The Kaleidoscope Factory

Iowa: Wooden Kaleidoscopes

A dead ringer for Santa Claus handmakes wooden kaleidoscopes of various shapes and sizes at The Kaleidoscope Factory in Pocahontas, Iowa. Visitors can watch owner Leonard Olson demonstrate how to make one in just a quarter of an hour, or browse through his in-house produced cribbage boards, puzzles, pull toys, toy cars, and more.

Kansas: Pottery
Elk Falls Pottery

Kansas: Pottery

Native Kansas clays are dug and processed into mugs, vases, and serving ware by Elk Falls Pottery, a family-owned ceramics store using techniques indebted to early American stoneware. For something a little more edible from Kansas, you might try Becky's Bierocks, a service that makes and ships meat-filled bread pockets of Eastern European origin across the nation.

Related: 19 Savory Pies From Around The World

Kentucky: Disco Balls
Goran Jakus Photography/istockphoto

Kentucky: Disco Balls

You probably don't think of busting a move when you think of Kentucky, but the state nonetheless produces 90% of the nation's disco balls at the Omega National Products plant in Louisville. Other items manufactured throughout the state include 3M Post-It notes, Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil, and the professional boxing rings used at venues such as Madison Square Garden.

Louisiana: Wooden Quilts
WOODENQUILTS.COM

Louisiana: Wooden Quilts

New Orleans-based artist Jean-Marcel St. Jacques made his name cobbling together "wooden quilts," salvaging wood leftover from Hurricane Katrina to help restore his family's historic home. He's not the only one in the Big Easy's artistic community who's transformed the wreckage of this natural disaster into art, as the authentically timeworn frames and mosaic boxes from Bergeron Woodworks demonstrate. Otherwise, most of Louisiana's proudest products are edible, from alligator boudin sausages and king cake to Tabasco and Creole spice mixes.

Maine: Recycled Tote Bags
Sea Bags

Maine: Recycled Tote Bags

The forests and Atlantic shores that dominate Maine's natural landscape also seem to dominate its production output. You can find sustainable tote bags and wallets made with recycled racing sails from Sea Bags and Flowfold, respectively; locally harvested kelp in edible and topical forms from Heritage Seaweed; sturdy dollhouses of pine, ash, and birch wood from Elves and Angels; and reliable outdoor gear from L.L. Bean.

Related: 20 Things You Never Knew About New England

Maryland: Blue Crab Cakes
Angelina's of Maryland

Maryland: Blue Crab Cakes

You can't experience Maryland without the seafood, but it can be hard for non-residents to get their hands on Chesapeake Bay crab rather than the cheaper competition sourced from Mexico and China. Luckily, there's Angelina's of Maryland, whose steamed crabs, crabcakes, crab soups, and other products are made with 100% domestic USA-sourced blue crab, averaging 75% or more from Maryland specifically. It also sells and ships Smith Island Cake, a regional and multilayered dessert delicacy.

Related: 35 Beloved Regional Foods That Can Be Shipped to Your Doorstep

Zildjian A 18" China Low cymbal
Zildjian A 18" China Low cymbal by Kim2480 (CC BY-SA)

Massachusetts: Cymbals

The Zildjian cymbals employed by symphony orchestras and rock 'n' roll bands alike have a rich history dating back to the 17th century Ottoman empire. Used in military parades and religious ceremonies, the pure-toned cymbals were produced by the same family by order of the Sultan from 1618 to the early 20th century, when Aram Zildjian fled the Armenian genocide and continued the family trade to further acclaim in Massachusetts. Today its cymbals are made at a factory in Norwell.

Michigan: Petoskey Stone Jewelry
Twisted Crystal Handcrafted Jewelry Designs

Michigan: Petoskey Stone Jewelry

Petoskey stone is not actually a stone, but a form of fossilized coral unique to the northern shores of Michigan's Great Lakes, and it's one among many geological features transformed into wearable jewelry by Twisted Crystal in Mackinaw City, along with the state gem Isle Royale Greenstone. Other Michigan-made items, perhaps unsurprisingly, provide comfort and recreation in cold conditions, whether it's the Boss Snowplow line, Iverson's old-fashioned wooden snowshoes, or Stormy Kromer's cozy headwear.

Minnesota: Bundt Cake Pans
Nordic Ware

Minnesota: Bundt Cake Pans

St. Louis Park-based Nordic Ware has been responsible for many cookware innovations in its more than 70 years in business, including the first Bundt cake pan and automated food rotators for microwaves. On top of a reputation for durability, Nordic is also one of the only American cookware companies with products still made in America, resulting in more local jobs and a smaller carbon footprint.

Related: 76 Brands That Are Still Made in America

Mississippi: Cooking Ranges
Viking Range

Mississippi: Cooking Ranges

Cotton is an icon in the Deep South states such as Mississippi, for better and worse. On the better side, the local industry gets a decorative boost from Little Bales of Cotton, which sells miniature cotton bales, wreaths, and footstools, as well as tees made from the historic Delta crop. A more recognizable Mississippi brand, particularly for cooks, is Viking, which introduced the first professional-grade home range in 1987 and continues to manufacture top-of-the-line commercial and personal appliances from its Greenwood plant.

Missouri: Provel Cheese
Viviano & Sons

Missouri: Provel Cheese

We've all heard the debate between New York and Chicago-style pizzas, but what about St. Louis-style pizza? The main qualifier for this city's pie is the use of Provel cheese, a melt-able processed blend of cheddar, swiss, and provolone also used on salads, sandwiches, and pastas, but rarely found outside St. Louis — unless purchased and shipped through one of its independent markets, of course.

Montana: Quilts
Debbie Desjarlais

Montana: Quilt Cards

During the reservation era, star quilts replaced painted buffalo hides as a symbolic gift among Native Americans of the northern plains to honor loved ones for special or sad occasions. Today Debbie Desjarlais makes cards honoring the complex and beautiful quilts sewn throughout Montana. Other Montana-based companies draw on their abundant ranchlands and natural resources to produce high-quality leathers, handcrafted woodworks, and mountain huckleberries prepared in every imaginable way.

Nebraska: Salad Dressing
Tasty Toppings, Inc.

Nebraska: Salad Dressing

Though its residents may have invented ski lifts, strobe lights, and Kool-Aid, Nebraska doesn't manufacture too much of interest these days, excepting agricultural products and furniture pieces made from reclaimed barn wood. One original creation that's still made in the cornhusker state is Dorothy Lynch Salad Dressing, a sweet and tangy condiment invented by its namesake in late '40s St. Paul, of which every bottle is now produced in the tiny hamlet of Duncan.

Nevada: Artificial Plants
International Plantworks/Yelp

Nevada: Artificial Plants

Plantworks International is the company responsible for outfitting some of Las Vegas's most notable casinos and other attractions with faux-horticultural arrangements — though if it's doing the work right, you probably haven't noticed. Its inherently fire retardant and warrantied artificial plants and topiaries have a large audience across the rest of North America, particularly in commercial buildings, as well.

New Hampshire: Velcro Fasteners
curtoicurto/istockphoto

New Hampshire: Velcro Fasteners

Inspired by the spiny cockleburs he encountered trekking through the Swiss Mountains, George de Mestral invented the hook and loop fasteners we better know by the brand name Velcro, with corporate and production headquarters now in Manchester. If you've ever witnessed firefighters in action or the workings of a fast food kitchen, you've also probably encountered other Granite State innovations without realizing it, such as Globe Manufacturing's fire suits and Pitco Frialators' fryers, respectively.

Related: Velcro and Other Brand Names We Use for Everyday Products

New Jersey: Pencils
General Pencil Company

New Jersey: Pencils

The home of Thomas Edison is no stranger to innovation and industry, but one of the oldest manufacturing companies still up and running therein manufactures something timelessly simple — pencils. General Pencil has been making No. 2 pencils and other writing implements in Jersey City since 1889. On the high-tech side, Paterson's Crown Roll Leaf is notable for creating the holographic watermark images used as verification measures on most state licenses and other forms of ID.

Butterfly Bush
myhrcat/istockphoto

New Mexico: Butterflies

Wings of Enchantment is Albuquerque's local leader in butterfly farming, offering adult butterfly releases to commemorate special occasions as well as educational resources take-home kits for children to experience the caterpillars' transformative life-cycle in full. Other unique New Mexico products include metal and stone works inlaid with local turquoise gems or dinosaur bone; biscochitos, the official state cookie; and hatch chile everything.

New York: Recycled Gun Jewelry
Liberty United

New York: Recycled Gun Jewelry

There are more and more companies these days making recycled materials a major part of their brand, but few are more attention-grabbing than Liberty United. The NYC-based company collaborates with law enforcement in high crime neighborhoods to remove illegal firearms from the street and convert them into artist-designed rings, necklaces, bracelets, and other jewelry. Each product still bears the serial number of the gun it was made from, and proceeds go directly to anti-gun violence programs around the country.

North Carolina: Cotton Clothing
Mindful Supply Co.

North Carolina: Cotton Clothing

The exodus of manufacturing to cheaper foreign shores may have decimated the textiles industry in North Carolina, but at least one company still keeps its business close to where its cotton is grown. Based in Greensboro, Mindful Supply Co.'s supply chain is contained entirely within the Carolinas, supporting local farmers, millers, and artisans to make men's and women's apparel with outdoorsy designs to match the eco-friendly production process.

North Dakota: Caviar
SochAnam/istockphoto

North Dakota: Caviar

You won't find North Dakota paddlefish on many supermarket shelves or dinner menus, but the primitive-looking creatures produce a unique roe when they come to spawn at the Missouri and Yellowstone River's confluence each May. North Star Caviar is the nonprofit venture responsible for processing the eggs into reportedly aftertaste-free caviar for sale around the world, with partial proceeds going back to the state's fish and game department for paddlefish research.

Related: How to Get a Taste of the World's Finest Foods for Less

Airstream Factory
©TripAdvisor
Oklahoma: Denim Jeans
Round House American Made Jeans Made in USA Overalls, Workwear

Oklahoma: Denim Jeans

Oklahoma's Round House is the largest manufacturer of USA-made jeans and overalls, named for the "round house" railway repair station with whose workers their denim workwear first gained a following back in 1903. Most other Okie exports fit into the food and beverage category, including leading biscotti brand Nonni's and non-grape fruit wine varietals from Nuyaka Creek.

Related: The History of American Jeans: From Railroad to Runway

Oregon: Jump Ropes
Olympic Jump Rope

Oregon: Jump Ropes

The segmented plastic jump ropes employed by many, if not most, sports teams and public schools come straight from the Olympic Jump Rope factory in Bandon, on the southern Oregon coast. Originally designed by a schoolteacher, now the jump ropes can be ordered in multiple lengths and customized with different color varieties.

Crayola Ultimate Crayon Collection
Amazon

Pennsylvania: Crayons

Pennsylvania manufacturing has brightened many a childhood through brands such as Crayola crayons and K'Nex construction sets, which still base their production in Bethlehem and Hatfield, respectively. Still other brands produced in the state remain relevant well into adulthood, such as Pyrex glassware and Zippo lighters.

A container of Del's Lemonade in Rhode Island
A container of Del's Lemonade in Rhode Island by Ericci8996 (CC BY-SA)

Rhode Island: Frozen Lemonade

Del's Frozen Lemonade has been a Rhode Island summer specialty since 1948, with the cooling citrus slush also earning a following at outdoor events and other retailers in 20 states across the country. The state also has a rich history of grain milling and textiles, and shoppers can still enjoy their lingering spoils through Kenyon's Grist Mill, which sells locally grown grains such as Island Flint corn and clam cake mixes, and Colonial Mills, which sells in braided rugs and baskets.

South Carolina: Tea
Amazon

South Carolina: Tea

If you'd like to visit a tea plantation, you can either book a plane to Asia, Africa, or South America, or stop by the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only grower of its kind on this continent. In the gift shop and online it sell teabags and loose leaves for popular varietals such as Earl Grey and "Charleston breakfast," as well as body products that make use of the tea tree's topical benefits. Often cited as one of the South's best and most charming destinations, Charleston is also a hub for sweetgrass basketry, a handicraft of African origin produced for centuries using locally harvested bulrush. These cultural souvenirs can be admired at the Smithsonian or purchased from the Gullah weavers themselves at the Charleston City Market.

South Dakota: Miniature Oil Pumps
Par-T-Pump

South Dakota: Miniature Oil Pumps

Here's a product you can bet you won't find in another state. Handmade in the USA, the Par-T-Pump is a miniature replica of the oil pumps now ubiquitous throughout the Dakotas. Not only do they look great, featuring precision cut metal and a solid wood base, they're also functional, meaning it can hold a half-gallon of liquor and spurts out a shot's worth of liquid with each pump.

Tennessee: Lodge Cast Iron Cookware
Lodge Cast Iron

Tennessee: Lodge Cast Iron Cookware

Founded in South Pittsburg in 1896, Lodge Cast Iron is one of America's oldest cookware companies, manufacturing heavy duty pots, pans, and Dutch ovens with as much durability as the company itself. Tennessee also boasts a couple major food brands between Bush's Baked Beans and the space age marshmallow sandwich Moon Pie, as well as the Hatch Show Print, a popular Nashville shop selling retro Music City concert posters and other handmade prints.

Related: 48 Well-Made Products You'll Never Have to Buy Again

Texas: Terra Cotta Pots
sanddebeautheil/istockphoto

Texas: Terra Cotta Pots

Marshall Pottery has been America's largest manufacturer of terra cotta pots since 1895, employing East Texas red clay and skilled potters for its appealingly simple planters. Less unexpectedly, the Lone Star state has multiple choice options for outdoors cook stoves and barbecue equipment as well as handmade leather goods such as baseball mitts and riding saddles.

Utah: Gourmet Butter
Amazon

Utah: Gourmet Butter

Chef Shamy is a family-owned, Utah-based company specializing in gourmet butters infused with garlic, onion, honey, and other sweet and savory seasonings, which many Americans (as well as South Koreans) might be acquainted with through their local Costco.

Vermont: Windsor Chairs
Sawyer Made

Vermont: Windsor Chairs

While well-known for its farm-fresh food products, from Ben & Jerry's ice cream to King Arthur Flours, Vermont also makes productive use of local timber forests. In some cases, the northern hardwoods are applied for classic purposes, such as the Windsor heirloom chairs from Sawyer Made, while in others they find more niche uses, such as the Swedish-originated, bocce-esque lawn game V:King produced in Shelburne.

Virginia: Outdoor Gear
YAMA Mountain Gear

Virginia: Outdoor Gear

Yama Mountain Gear designs and builds tents, tarps, backpacks, and other trekking essentials in a Charlottesville workshop within a stone's throw of the Appalachian Trail and other wilderness entry-points. It's far from the only made-in-Virginia outdoor outfitter. For beverages unique to the state, there's the James River Distillery, which makes, among other liquors, a spin on Scandinavian aquavit that's steeped in local oyster shells from the Rappahannock River.

Chihuly
Chihuly by Bill Dickinson (CC BY-NC)

Washington: Glass-Blown Sculptures

Like most major cities, Seattle has thriving communities corresponding to almost every artistic medium, but it particularly stands apart for the amount of glass blown sculptures on offer. Even if you can't spring for a piece from Dale Chihuly, the chief progenitor of the city's glass art, many studios throughout the city and surrounding Puget Sound islands boast beautiful and functional pieces for sale year-round, while Glassybaby specializes in multicolored glass votives.

Dulcimers
Dulcimers by drfrannie (CC BY-SA)

West Virginia: Dulcimers

West Virginia has made major contributions to America's folk and country music genres since their inception, but the dulcimer is one historic Appalachian instrument that never quite caught on the same as the banjo or fiddle. Nonetheless, it has a following, and numerous native woodworkers, including Jim Good of Charleston's Mastertone Dulcimers, have made this oddly shaped stringed instrument their stock in trade.

Wisconsin: Hydrant Covers
Firl Industries

Wisconsin: Firefighting Equipment

Firl Industries owns a 10,000-square-foot factory in Fond du Lac, where it manufactures vinyl, canvas, and metal supplies for use by professional firefighters and amateur outdoorsmen. Some of its products include hydrant covers, decontamination tanks, shop curtains, tents, awnings, and canvas log carrier bags. Food-wise, beyond Wisconsin's famous cheese industry, the town of Racine has something of a national monopoly on Danish Kringles, a traditional spiced holiday cake.

Close-up of Antler chandelier
Close-up of Antler chandelier by Frederick Dennstedt (CC BY-SA)

Wyoming: Antler Chandeliers

Wyoming's abundant wildlife helps furnish many companies and entrepreneurs with unique products, such as the deer and bull elk's antlers repurposed for chandeliers, end tables, and other pieces of furniture from the Antler Workshop & Gallery in Dubois. Still others make a living outfitting campers with the gear they'll need to experience all that untamed wilderness, such as the canvas tarps and teepees of Sheridan Tent & Awning.