The Best in the World


These days America might not be making a lot; but it is making the best.

In 2010 China exceeded the U.S. in terms of revenue generated by produced goods. But as the country climbs out of the recession more items are being home grown; and what we lack in quantity we make up in quality.

In order to restore bragging power MSN Money has put together a list of ten things America makes better than anyone in the world. Number ten on the list is motorcycles. Sine 1903 people have been riding Harley Davidson bikes. One of a handful of U.S. motorcycle manufacturers to survive the recession Harley brings in about $1.4 billion a year.

Then there’s blockbuster movies. U.S. studios have produced 87 of the 100 highest grossing movies of all time. This includes the number one and two spots which go to avatar and titanic. To see what else we lead the world in keep reading. Anything they can do; we can do better.

From MSN Money

Nothing says "American made" like Harley-Davidson (HOG). The company's motorcycles are loud, sturdy and irrefutably cool. Bikers have been cruising U.S. roadways on Harleys since 1903.

Harley engines are designed and manufactured at the company's headquarters in Milwaukee, with additional parts and assembly assigned to plants around the United States.

Harley does import parts from vendors worldwide, making its bikes roughly 60% American-made. But it remains 100% American cool. Harley takes advantage of its image: Licensing revenue from its logo and trademark design brings in an estimated $40 million a year.

Blockbuster movies
Hooray for Hollywood? Absolutely.

While India is the world's leader in annual tickets sold and films produced -- 13,526 movies shot across celluloid, film and digital formats in 2011 -- the United States retains the crown in terms of box-office receipts.

Eighty-seven of the 100 highest-grossing movies of all time -- representing a combined $67.5 billion -- have been produced by U.S. studios, according to the Internet Movie Database. The 13 others were produced by Sony Pictures, the moviemaking subsidiary of Japan's Sony (SNE).

It should come as no surprise that the United States -- with the world's largest defense budget, a whopping $711 billion in 2011 -- is home to the world's biggest defense contractors. Lockheed Martin (LMT), Northrop Grumman (NOC) and Boeing (BA) top a long list of companies making technology, weaponry and vehicles deployed by armed forces.

These three companies took in combined revenue of $27.5 billion in 2011. Such revenue does not come exclusively from the U.S. government, though, because U.S. defense companies also seek profits abroad, making the United States the world's largest arms exporter.

When it comes to durability, Société Bic -- the French manufacturer of the disposable Bic lighter -- doesn't hold a candle to America's Zippo brand.

On June 5, Zippo rolled out its 500 millionth lighter, making sure that every one of the company's 620 employees at its Bradford, Pa., plant were involved in the milestone.

Luxury kitchen appliances
Take a stroll through any kitchen showroom and you may be surprised by how many appliances are made just around the corner. The coveted Viking range, which can cost from $3,000 to $14,000, is manufactured by Viking Range. The Mississippi company has received considerable fanfare for the attention it puts into product design, making it another example of how quality of craftsmanship is helping U.S. companies survive.

By now, most people know that Apple (AAPL) doesn't assemble its iPads or MacBook Pro computers beneath the company's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. Like most hardware suppliers, Apple contracts manufacturing of its devices to overseas operators.

The software that runs these devices is another matter, though. According to the Forbes Global 2000 list, seven of the 10 highest-grossing computer software and programming companies are found in the United States, including Oracle (ORCL), Symantec (SYMC), Adobe Systems (ADBE) and Intuit (INTU).

Craft beers
In 2008, Belgian-Brazilian beer maker InBev acquired Anheuser-Busch -- the maker of such quintessential American brews as Budweiser, Busch, Michelob and Natural Ice. The deal created Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD), the world's largest brewer, with 25% of global volume.

Although Anheuser-Busch InBev's 12 U.S. factories remain stateside, the merger essentially robbed the country's ownership of the brewskie, a classic American product.

But the U.S. craft beer industry is booming. According to the Brewers Association, there were 1,940 craft breweries operating in 2011. That number is estimated to have topped 2,000 this year. There were 250 brewery openings last year, with only 37 closings, and the industry is currently growing by about 15% a year.

Guitars and pianos
The United States is the birthplace of the blues, jazz and rock 'n' roll. It's also home to the manufacturers of some of the world's best musical instruments.

Gibson Guitar was founded in Kalamazoo, Mich., and is now based in Nashville, Tenn. The company has been making string instruments since 1908, when Orville Gibson began producing mandolins. Gibson was responsible for many innovations to banjo, guitar and mandolin design. He went on to produce the first commercially successful electric guitar in the 1930s.

Steinway & Sons pianos have been handmade in New York for more than 150 years, and high-end models fetch from $50,000 to $120,000. Despite being one of the last piano manufactures in the United States, Steinway is still regarded as the best in the world, with a majority of concert pianists saying they prefer the brand.

How many types of chairs can you name? If Aeron is the only one that comes to mind, you're in good company, according to manufacturer Herman Miller (MLHR), which says its office chair is the only brand people recognize by name.

Herman Miller, headquartered in Zeeland, Mich., has been producing home and office furniture since 1923. When it introduced Aeron in 1994, the ergonomically correct chair was immediately inducted into the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection.

The United States is home to more billionaires than any other nation, according to Forbes magazine, which assembles an annual list of the world's wealthiest individuals.

The billionaires on Forbes' list for this year come from 58 countries. The United States boasts 425 of them, a gain of 12 from last year. But only three of the 10 richest hail from the United States, led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, above. (Microsoft publishes MSN Money.) That's one fewer than last year.

This year, a record 1,226 billionaires made the list, with a combined net worth of $4.6 trillion, also a record and up from $4.5 trillion in 2011.