We are proud to offer you high quality, American made, woodwork.
Contrary to the attitude of many mass market manufacturers and
distributors, origin is important. Preservation of domestic jobs is
important, especially to those working those jobs. However, there are
even deeper issues to consider.
When products are made in this country, you can be far more certain
that employees are not being unfairly exploited and that they work in
safe and protected facilities. You can also take comfort in the fact
that companies are guided by strict environmental rules.
Safety and environmental protection are far less certain in
cheap-labor countries. Importers and trade industry groups set up
inspection programs to assure that all local laws are being followed.
That is fine until one understands that in many regions, local laws are
no more protective of labor and the environment than those of the
United States at the turn of the last century.
It is ironic that our society, which works to outlaw exploitative
activity within, is perfectly fine purchasing products made in
conditions that were deemed improper here generations ago. All for the
reason that products are cheaper.
Those inclined to import products will say that foreign production
is more efficient, less wasteful. We beg to differ. For the most part,
foreign factories don't operate with less labor, less material waste,
or with less pollution. It can be argued that there is more true waste
in these places because things are so cheap, there is less incentive to
conserve and be careful.
The real "waste" importers are trying to avoid is the American
standard of living, attacking the very people they expect to buy their
The wood Maple Landmark uses is from native species. We use rock
maple primarily, as well as some pine and cherry. These are some of the
best materials for wooden toys and gifts, we are fortunate to have them
There are virtually no old growth forests
left in Vermont, the region was heavily logged in the 1800's. Damaging
floods in the late 1800's and early 1900's not only knocked out the
water powered mills that processed the timber but they also taught a
lesson in not laying entire mountainsides bare to runoff and erosion.
Vermonters have a reputation for being stubborn but we also use our
experiences to learn better ways.
In the early 1900's,
Vermont was 20% forested, now it is 80% forested. The forests are
growing back, even more rapidly than the rate of harvest. As dairy
farms consolidate and abandon marginal hillside property, the
wilderness once again begins to take over.
The majority of
wood that grows tends to be lower grade material. Since we make small
items, we are able to use downgraded lumber by simply cutting around
the defects. This strategy saves on the demand for the rarer, more
premium grades. We also make use of small dimension material that is
cast off from other plants.
Just as we are careful to fully
utilize the wood we buy, our suppliers are careful about how it is
harvested. For the entire history of our company, we have purchased the
majority of our lumber from one local source, Lathrop's Maple Supply of
Bristol, Vermont. Tom Lathrop is located just nine miles up the road
and supplies not just maple, but pine, cherry, and other species as
well. Tom has deep roots in the business, here is his story:
approximately 125 years my forefathers have been cutting timber and
sawing logs in Bristol, Vermont. It all started with my second
great-grandfather, Noah Lathrop, a Civil War veteran, who manufactured
clapboards and shingles in the late 1870's."Knowledge of the timber industry has been passed through the
generations. I started helping my father mark timber around the age of
seven. Dad would instruct me as to which trees needed to be harvested
and why. Some had reached maturity, other had damaged tops or trunks
which needed to be salvaged. Harvest was always conservative and
sustainable, the terms used when I was younger was selective cutting.
When I was 12 years old, my grandfather, Clarence Lathrop, worked with
me in the planer mill at my father's lumber mill. This mill, called
"Claire Lathrop's Band Mill," was voted Vermont's #1 Mill one year. "My goal as owner of Lathrop's Maple Supply is to provide high quality
lumber and wood products, primarily from sustainable Addison County
forests. I purchase quality lumber from reputable foresters with
clients enrolled in Vermont's Land Use Program requiring sustainable
harvest methods. These methods are the same ones that the certified
sector uses."Thomas C. Lathrop, owner/operator
do we do with our wood waste? We have a couple of local farmers who
take away our sawdust for cattle bedding. Our wood scraps are put out
for locals to use for kindling, wood heat being very common in Vermont
in the winter months.
To us, it all seems like the best
combination of the right materials, the right people, the right
products, all in the right place, that we should be able to produce and
market wooden toys for you.
Maple Landmark guarantees its product unconditionally against defects
or breakage. If at any time you experience a problem with any product,
return it to us (shipping paid) and we will repair or replace the item
at no charge and return it to you. Sorry, but we do not supply
"fix-it-yourself" parts, repairs are done by us.