As a passionate en plein air painter, my tools are something that I take real pride in. I was recently able to purchase two original Jullian easels from when they were still made in France. It's hard to know the exact date on these beautiful easels, but they are in very good condition. I purchased a full size and a half size and I need to do a small amount of restoration to the half size easel.
Sadly, after 100 years, Jullian stopped manufacturing their legendary French easels in their Paris France factory. Jullian has now begun importing their products from China. From accounts that I've read, customers have been complaining about the diminished thickness of the wood, cheaper hardware and other complaints as to the reduced quality.
The quality of the original French easels is phenomenal; they are heavy duty and designed to last. Even the palette inside is solid wood and would be hard to find today. I firmly believe that using quality equipment has a significant impact on your final outcome. I hope that companies will take pride in their craftsmanship in the future as they did in the past.