L.L. Bean Boat and Tote

Our third post about L.L. Bean? Forgive us. We’re a sentimental lot. We remember Bean as a purveyor of products that, while not exclusively American, were mostly made on these shores and made to a high standard.

So the few American made legacy items that remain–boots and tote bags, for example–have a soft spot in our hearts. On my more optimistic days, I imagine those items will serve as a beachhead for a renaissance of American manufacturing in Freeport, Maine. When I’m feeling less optimistically inclined, I suppose that these are the last gasp of American production in a company that has all but abandoned its American roots. The latter is probably true. Once the genie of foreign production is out of the bottle, it’s nigh on impossible for companies to put it back.

Among the few L.L. Bean products still crafted in the USA, the canvas Boat and Tote bags have been a mainstay of home life for generations of Americans. Originally designed to haul ice–back in the day when your sole source of cooling was the ice blocks you bought from the ice man–their durability bespeaks that original purpose.

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