Buying British Made

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

british madeMany people believe that all they have to do to buying British is find a British company but the truth is often a different one. Not every British company manufactures in Britain. Many, in fact, have their products made abroad under their brand.

We have seen that years ago with Wilkinson Sword whose blades stated “Sheffield” but on closer inspection the blade also had “Brazil” stamped on it, though rather small. Those knives were made, in fact, for Wilkinson Sword by Tramontina in Brazil.

Another of those companies where people often get confused is Joseph Bentley of Sheffield who once made all their garden- and agricultural tools indeed in Sheffield but today, owned by Solus, only the “Made in Sheffield” range is, in fact, made in Britain. Everything else comes from the Far East.

Just by looking at Wilkinson Sword's range of secateurs and loppers one can see that they are made in the same factory where so many others, including those for Bulldog Tools, are made. They are exactly the same.

However, at least Bulldog Tools still makes all of their other gardening, agricultural, and building tools in its forge in Wigan. In fact this is the only large-scale commercial forge that is still operating in Britain. The cutting tools, however, are made in the Far East.

British companies seem to believe that their horticultural cutting tools, for example, have to be made in the Far East to make them financial attractive while Loewe of Germany proves products made at home can still be profitable. All of their secateurs and loppers are made in Germany from German produced steel. It can be done.

As far as indication as to country of manufacture is concerned with, say, Joseph Bentley tools, it is futile looking for it on then. There is no indication whatsoever given that they are not made in the UK and thus the customer can be misled into believing that the tools are still, as they used to me many years ago, “Made in England” even though they are not.

I am not about to go as far as to suggest that the omission of the country of manufacture on those products is intended to mislead customers wishing to buy British but, alas, this offers itself as a reason.

While it is possible to find entirely British made products it is becoming more and more difficult though I can see a time when production is being brought back home as one or two companies in the UK, as well as in the US, have done and are doing. And they also prove that this does not have to impact on price.

In the UK the collapsible water bottle, once called Aquatina and now Ohyo, is proof of this, as are other products.

© 2013