38 responses to 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes
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    Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (April 24th, 2015 at 06:32)

    In an Amish home where we visited, the two late teen/early adult daughters had an electronic piano/keyboard. Their family had generator-provided electricity to run their dairy equipment and some items inside the house.

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      Anita Martin
      Comment on Not Old Order (April 24th, 2015 at 09:26)

      Not Old Order

      FYI- these folks are not Old Order Amish, as Old Order do not use any instruments.

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        Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (April 24th, 2015 at 10:30)

        Anita, just curious, how are you defining “Old Order”? Because, for example, harmonicas are common among Lancaster County Amish, and they are considered Old Order Amish.

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        Comment on Yes, Old Order Amish (April 24th, 2015 at 13:39)

        Yes, Old Order Amish

        Anita, the family was old order Amish, and the grandfather (who lived on the same home place) was one of the church’s ministers. Both of the girls were not yet baptized at the time, and I don’t know if that would have made a difference. But they were OOA, in Holmes Co., OH.

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        Mark – Holmes County
        Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (April 24th, 2015 at 14:51)

        Our family is Old Order and does use musical instruments. Even more conservative groups might have harmonicas or the like.

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        Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (May 2nd, 2015 at 12:36)

        Anita, FYI -my little sister has an keyboard and I know old order girls who have guitars and accordians.Don’t put all of us in the same box.Thank-you !
        Old order in Holmes County

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        Debbie Kuhn
        Comment on Not so fast (August 17th, 2017 at 17:50)

        Not so fast

        I will have to disagree, Anita. I drive old order Amish in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and have send them with keyboards, guitars, harmonicas Etc. I have even taken them to music stores to buy music and other things needed for the instrument.

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      Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (April 24th, 2015 at 10:34)

      Thanks for the example Pam. I hear about keyboards being used here and there by younger folks. A few months ago we posted a Pinecraft video where girls from Ohio sang accompanied by a variety of instruments including a Casio keyboard. Obviously a more progressive practice.


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    Terry from Wisc
    Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (April 24th, 2015 at 08:30)

    I’ve been in several Amish homes and have yet to see a grandfather clock. That pricey of a clock seems “pride full” to me, and would be frowned upon. I was surprised when I saw a piece of upholstered furniture for the first time in an Amish home! Most of our visiting has taken place sitting around the table. In summer we’ll sit outside. In later years and in a less conservative home we sat on a couch instead of a hard bench! 🙂

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      Anita Martin
      Comment on No Upholstery in Old Order Amish Homes (April 24th, 2015 at 09:30)

      No Upholstery in Old Order Amish Homes

      Funny tho, they use office chairs, the small ones that spin. They cover with their own fabric.

      Some have like long flat sofa looking things that they do cover with the vinyl stuff.

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        Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (April 24th, 2015 at 10:31)

        Same question as above. Do you actually mean Swartzentruber or some other quite plain group when you use “Old Order”?

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          Anita Martin
          Comment on Old Order? (February 5th, 2016 at 08:10)

          Old Order?

          Just seeing these responses. When I met my Old Order friends 2 years ago I asked if they were Schwartz. Women wear alot of brown and grey. As they were exceptionally plain. No musical instruments, no purses, no modern molding on shoes, no frig, no bikes, no rollerblades, only plain colors for baby items, ect. I do alot of garage sale shopping for them. I have been in their homes numerous times. Only mirrors are really small. Men have shaved in my presence and women have washed their hair, which I was quite surprised by. Children work constantly. I do buy games and books for them too. There is real emphasis on sameness. We know the Bishop quite well and harvest maple sryup with his family and get to ride in wagons! This fall we even helped harvest corn with another which was great fun! We’ve also visited rhen they wete canning meat. Fresh deer and and pig kitchen table… Mix in salt and herbs, take to cellar to grind and then can. We go in barns which are old school amazing, and we feel like we are on Noah’s arc. We feel so fortunate. They still harvest ice from ponds for there ice houses which are small insulated rooms.

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        Mark – Holmes County
        Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (April 24th, 2015 at 14:52)

        The Old Orders here have upholstered furniture.

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        Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (May 2nd, 2015 at 12:50)

        Anita,You need to broaden your horizons.We old order Amish obviously don’t all follow the same rules.Maybe you should get educated about our ways before you comment .THANK-YOU ! Old- Order and happy !

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        Debbie Kuhn
        Comment on Furniture is nice and comfy (August 17th, 2017 at 17:53)

        Furniture is nice and comfy

        Again, I drive old order Amish in Lancaster County. I have taken many of them to buy new couches and loveseats and recliners that are upholstered. As a matter of fact I know where there is an Amish furniture store that is run and owned by Amish and they sell upholstered furniture.

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    Trish in Indiana
    Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (April 24th, 2015 at 09:55)

    Thanks for the article, Erik, AND for the hat tip! It’s interesting to see how each community (Amish and otherwise) works out what fits into their value system and what doesn’t. The Amish must decide if a grandfather clock is prideful or if a cell phone charger in the bedroom is frivolous, but English families have their decisions to make, too, like how artistic a nude painting has to be not to be pornographic, or whether “Family Guy” is appropriate TV. Even people who might claim they have no such boundaries have SOME standards, even if they may be “backwards” (for example, no educational television). One way or another, everyone has values, and has to figure out what role they will play in his or her life.

    Sometimes, it takes looking at a community with a different set of values to realize how you express your own.

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      Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (April 24th, 2015 at 10:29)

      Good points, Trish. Everyone has boundaries they have to decide and sometimes re-evaluate.

      “Sometimes, it takes looking at a community with a different set of values to realize how you express your own.”

      I’d say that is one of the ways the Amish have most influenced me personally. I’d like to think I spend a bit more time thinking about things I used to take for granted. Hopefully, it has done me some good 🙂

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    Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (April 24th, 2015 at 10:41)

    I may never understand the linoleum flooring. It’s so unhealthy!

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    Comment on just curious (April 24th, 2015 at 12:20)

    just curious

    Why is linoleum flooring unhealthy? Just curious, never heard that before.

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      Comment on Kathi (April 24th, 2015 at 15:52)


      It’s technically vinyl, which is PVC-based. It’s ranked as the worst building material out there fur both health and environmental reasons. It contains vinyl chloride, which actually caused a factory explosion a few years ago and killed 5 people.

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        Comment on linoleum flooring unhealthy? (April 24th, 2015 at 23:16)

        linoleum flooring unhealthy?

        as per Wikipedia:
        Linoleum is a floor covering made from materials such as solidified linseed oil (linoxyn), pine rosin, ground cork dust, wood flour, and mineral fillers such as calcium carbonate, most commonly on a burlap or canvas backing; pigments are often added to the materials.

        Yes, some people call vinyl linoleum and vise-versa but they are to different things. Real linoleum is a safe product.

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          Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (April 27th, 2015 at 09:17)

          Yes, but linoleum is not what is being used in Amish homes. It’s vinyl, and the two terms are so interchangeable that vinyl is called linoleum so frequently that most don’t know the difference. I didn’t.

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    Comment on Spin-Cycle Washer (April 24th, 2015 at 13:43)

    Spin-Cycle Washer

    Interesting article, as always, Eric.

    I would just add that a family that we have visited with has the modern washer for the spin cycle like you mention, but they power it pneumatically with a windmill-generated air compression system that they use for their woodworking shop. Quite innovative.

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    Alice Mary
    Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (April 24th, 2015 at 17:25)

    I guess I was a bit surprised by the cell phone charging in the house via the car battery. I knew about diesel-fueled charging (charging the battery via a diesel powered tractor, for example) but never thought much beyond that, so seeing the battery being used in the house, for charging a cell phone caught me off guard. I guess I’ve always connected cell phones in Amish communities with teenagers in their Rumspringa years, being very clandestine about their cell phones, radios, CD players etc.

    When I visited my first Amish community in Arthur, IL around 15 yrs. ago, my husband and I visited an Amish furniture store. I needed to use the “facilities” and was surprised by the modern cabinetry within…and even the fact that it wasn’t an outhouse! I was also intrigued by the gas light fixture, remembering my Mom telling me that the house I grew up in originally had gas pipes & fixtures throughout.

    Enjoyable post!

    Alice Mary

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    Terry from Wisc
    Comment on Going Amishing today (April 25th, 2015 at 06:55)

    Going Amishing today

    This morning I’m headed to the Kingston/Dalton settlements. I will be doing some detective work while in that area, and will report back my findings!
    Not really because I know what I’ll find due to so many trips to the area. But, that doesn’t mean I won’t come across some news worthy discoveries!

    Off I go!

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    Comment on Guitars and laptops (April 25th, 2015 at 08:14)

    Guitars and laptops

    Some Old Orders of Holmes County Ohio, have Laptops, and Guitars in their homes,,,,
    I know this for a fact as was asked to take old order Amish man and his children to get music lessons from another former amish man and watched the boy play on his good guitar.

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    Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (April 25th, 2015 at 18:45)

    People have mentioned that the old order/plain people like Harmonica music, I am wondering if there are any good recordings of Amish people, in any order, playing harmonica music…
    I’m not any good, but I love the little instrument, and been tooting since I was a teenager (I was an oddball, I at one point could play the 1990s punk band Green Day on my little harp, or at least that is what me and this native girl pal of mine did for kicks at one point, she was good at guitar and I played along). It is easier to carry than a guitar as you can fit it in a pocket

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      Comment on Harmonica (April 26th, 2015 at 06:07)


      Here’s a start, SHOM,

      -Samples from Amish Music: Hymns to Harmonica. Some songs are sung a cappella; some are played by harmonica.

      -Samples from Amish Harmonica, a 12-minute CD.

      -In 2011, Faith View Books had a new CD in their store from Ada Petersheim. Instrumentals with Harmonica, electric, and acoustic guitar. Great harmonica CD!! Ada is New Order Amish.

      -Church in the Wildwood – Singer David Miller – David Hoover harmonica , Penn Yan, NY Sept. 2012. Some have an Amish background.

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    Terry from Wisc
    Comment on The drive through Amish country... (April 25th, 2015 at 21:16)

    The drive through Amish country...

    My travels today took me to a number of Amish businesses, but as I said earlier I didn’t think I’d come across any new findings, and I didn’t. The places I patronized were; bulk food store, two rug shops, machine shop just to say hi, another Amish lady who really doesn’t have a rug shop but sells rugs to some of us but didn’t have any to sell today, tried one of the bakeries and there was a line outside the door, so didn’t stick around for some fresh bakery. 🙁 Drove by several green houses but the Mrs needs to be along when we go plants shopping. Waved when I went by some other friends, but didn’t stop because I was running out of time.

    Not a lot of buggies on the road, but several men working in their fields with horses which is understandable because it’s springtime. Of course when you meet a buggy, or horses and a wagon on the road or in the field, or kids outside playing, you ALWAYS wave!

    Many places had laundry on the clothes line, or hanging on the porch. Here in our neck of the woods we never see a clothes line on the pulley up to the peak of the barn. The norm would be three “T’s” for posts and that gives the laundry lady about 10 or 12 lines, that are often full especially when you have a large family. Many have a wheel that hangs by a chain with clothes pins attached. Often they hang small items like plastic pants if there are diapers on the line; or socks and hankies.

    Overall it was an enjoyable day in Amish country as it always is.

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      Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (April 26th, 2015 at 06:14)

      good account, Terry, thank you.

      The other day I was browsing before work at a “Value Village” thrift/charity store to kill some time before actually getting to work to log in for the day [that sounds misleading, I don’t work at value village, I interviewed there once, but didn’t get the job, my work place is about two or three blocks up the street from such a store) and I see a plain dressed lady pushing a cart full of stuff from different corners around the store.

      Seems I’ve been seeing a lot of plain folk (probably of the Mennonite persuasion) in my area, on the shores of Lake Ontario in Ontario, Canada, in the last couple of years…

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    Ed from NY
    Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (May 2nd, 2015 at 08:07)

    Do any Amish play pianos, or have pianos in their homes?

    I didn’t realize that instrument playing was banned by many Amish communities. Seems kind of odd, because playing and listening to music can be community-building, and because one does not need any electricity or special equipment to play a piano, violin, cello, other than the instrument itself.

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      Anita Martin
      Comment on Singing (July 2nd, 2015 at 13:52)


      In the OOA I know there is no music other than singing which is really big. Just about the only social activity for youth. No toys with music functions either.

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        Amish Girl-Rebecca
        Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (July 2nd, 2015 at 15:33)

        I am OOA and we do use some musical instruments as I commented earlier (just not in church and social gatherings) and there are also musical toys. Our youth group has various activities, such as volleyball games, singing in nursing homes, game nights, potato project, benefit auction, comfort knotting, besides Sunday eve singings, to name a few. Small groups might go camping, shopping, birding, or biking together. Keep in mind that OOA varies from community to community.

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    Comment on 5 Surprising Items Found in Amish Homes (May 2nd, 2015 at 13:28)

    Ed,Yes many Amish play musical instruments,tho not in church and typically not in bands or for the public unless they’re not members yet.Each group has their own rules,some allow no instruments,some only harmonicas,other guitars,keyboards,etc.

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    Comment on Ads (July 2nd, 2015 at 09:57)


    Kind of funny and ironic that one of the pop up ads was for discount tire. 🙂

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