38 responses to The 5 Amish Buggy Colors
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    Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 18th, 2015 at 08:07)

    I’m thinking the yellow buggies would be so much easier for drivers to see. However, I’m just looking at the safety factor.

    Thanks for sharing this info, Erik!

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      Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 18th, 2015 at 08:10)

      It seems like they would be, doesn’t it Margaret?

      Stephen Scott writes that “the custom is very old and is certainly not an effort to be more visible on the highways as a measure of safety.” But it’s certainly an eye-catching color. I wonder if a study could be done on this group’s accident rate.

      Thanks for the comment!

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      Comment on yes so easy to see! (February 18th, 2015 at 08:14)

      yes so easy to see!

      I’m agreeing with the above poster, wow how much easier to see the yellow ones… I’m so glad that they do at least (some of them) allow so many lights on them….some are now more lit than a car 🙂

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    Mark – Holmes Co.
    Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 18th, 2015 at 08:41)

    You overlooked the “cream” colored ones from Enon Valley, PA. 🙂

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      Comment on Enon Valley Amish buggies (February 18th, 2015 at 09:03)

      Enon Valley Amish buggies

      Aren’t those basically a New Wilmington-esque shade? Eli J. Byler writes something about them in their directory, but it’s a little hard to follow his account.

      He writes about carriages in Enon Valley once being “kind of reddish brown”, and references a “light flat reddish color” but it’s confusing because he also talks about yellow top buggies in the same account.

      To make things more confusing, the title of his piece is actually “New Wilmington Amish Yellow Top Carriages” 🙂 He writes as if he considers the NW buggies, which I’m calling “brown” here, to be “yellow top” (unless I have undiagnosed color blindness, I have trouble seeing how they could be called yellow unless it was just a customary name that carried over). I don’t have a date on his piece but it appears in the 2003 directory.

      The only purported photo I could find of Enon Valley buggies online looks like it has some funky effect added to it, so it’s hard for me to tell how different the color might be:


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        Mark – Holmes Co.
        Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 18th, 2015 at 14:22)

        It looks to me there has been a color effect. The Enon Valley buggies are not the bright yellow of Big Valley Byler or Swarey carriages and not the brown on New Wilmington, but a pale yellow. It is different from the other two.

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          Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 18th, 2015 at 14:53)

          Well, then maybe I need to throw it in “Yellow”, or add a new category, or maybe a 5a subcategory 🙂 This is interesting, I know Enon Valley is small, just a single district I believe, but quite old. It would be neat to know how this came to be…though given how these histories seem to be murky I don’t know how much is definitively knowable.

          I’d also like to ask a New Wilmington person sometime how they’d describe their own buggies, color-wise. Maybe my “brown” is in fact “yellow” to them, as Eli J. Byler seems to be suggesting in his piece (Here’s how it begins: “Why yellow tops? Where did it start from? The Byler Church in Mifflin uses yellow top carriages *too*” [emphasis mine]).

          One thing I noticed, the buggies in that Enon Valley photo actually look to be two different tones…not sure if that’s some camera effect as well, or because of lighting, some other cause, or if they’re simply just different tones. About half seem significantly darker than the others. For that matter, New Wilmington buggies I’ve seen have sometimes seemed to be different tones. Maybe that’s lighting, something with my eyes, or some are just older and faded. Maybe that’s part of the story.

          I did find an article which describes Enon Valley buggies as “yellow”, though it’s from 1981.


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            Mark – Holmes Co.
            Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 19th, 2015 at 09:51)

            I would call the New Wilmington buggies brown, but I know they are classed with the “yellow” ones of Big Valley & Enon Valley and those groups have strong ties & other similarities. (Like brown bonnets.) Some of the difference in oilcloth colors are from fading, but even brand new carriages can have some difference in color depending on the source of the oilcloth. You’ll see in in Lancaster, too, with some gray tops looking a little more “bluish.”
            Enon Valley started with people from yellow-top churches as well as white-top Nebraska Amish backgrounds and has customs or rules related to both. Maybe the pale yellow was a compromise between white & yellow tops? At one time (don’t know if it is still that way or not) Enon Valley buggies had either brown-painted boxes & running gears or black ones. That connects to the brown boxes of the Nebraska Amish. Like New Wilimington, Enon Valley allows storm-fronts in their carriages but only during the winter season.

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              Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 19th, 2015 at 11:15)

              It occurred to me that I’d noticed differences in shades with Lancaster buggy tops too, but again wasn’t sure if that was just my eyes 🙂 I think I’ll slide this one in under “Yellow”, marked as a different shade. If anyone has a half-decent photo of the Enon Valley buggy, I would appreciate seeing it and possibly sharing it here (ewesner@gmail.com).

              Thanks Mark for the additional info. You don’t know if they have any daughter settlements where this buggy might be used? I know that some from Enon Valley helped settle Conewango Valley in NY, but there were also Holmes Co. people in the mix and I think the ones there are black buggies.

              On boxes and running gears, Eli J. Byler writes “The Amish in Enon Valley, PA still have their carriage box and gears kind of brown color, not black. Except the open buggies were black.” There’s no date attached to this piece, but it appears at the front of their 2003 directory, so it may be that he wrote it especially for this directory (or could have been recycled from a previous edition or some other source). But if it’s 2003 then it would seem that they still had that color box and running gear at least recently.

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                Mark – Holmes Co.
                Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 19th, 2015 at 11:27)

                I assume the piece is recycled because a relative in Enon Valley was the one to tell me that some now have black running gears & boxes. I don’t know of any communities like Enon Valley but do know a lot of people moved out of Enon Valley & moved to Turbotville or Washingtonville PA.

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    Robin Miller
    Comment on Black Mennonite Buggies (February 18th, 2015 at 09:04)

    Black Mennonite Buggies

    When in Lancaster County, PA and St. Mary’s County, MD you will also notice black buggies. I’ve listened in on tourists’ comments and they think these are also Amish. The Lancaster Mennonites I’ve seen are around the Ephrata area. The St. Mary’s Mennonites are in the more southern part of the county as the St. Mary’s Amish in the more northern part.

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    Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 18th, 2015 at 09:51)

    If someone knows (which I’ll bet they will), what is the evolution of the carriage/buggy-types in Belle Center, OH and Hardin Co/DeGraff (the last two I think are the same), OH? Where did the carriage styles originate before the families migrated to those locations?

    Do any Old Order or New Order Amish wheels have rubber tires that anyone knows of? Thanks!

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      Comment on Rubber on Amish buggy wheels (February 18th, 2015 at 13:59)

      Rubber on Amish buggy wheels

      New Order generally use rubber. I don’t *think* any Old Order in Holmes County permit this, though with so many churches there may be some that do. Mark of course would know better than I. An Old Order minister friend of mine commented on this once, sort of wondering why his church couldn’t have them. In An Amish Paradox (2010) the authors state that the Old Order do not use rubber, though there is something called “rubber buffers” lying underneath the outer layer of steel which is apparently acceptable.

      Also in An Amish Paradox there’s a nice quote on this, which could also be used to explain other situations where one group has something and another doesn’t: “A more probable explanation was offered by one Amish man: “The only reason the Old Order don’t have rubber wheels is because the New Order did it first.” Whether something is adopted or not may depend at least in part on whether another group, perceived as “higher” or “lower”, has done so first.

      The authors also make a point that even though the OO don’t have rubber, they have accepted quite a few technologies that are much more progressive than that. Some Old Order have technologies that New Order churches don’t allow.

      But in other places you’ll find Amish who could be considered “Old Order” who do use rubber–northern Indiana for example. Of course, they don’t have a New Order group right next door who did it first 🙂

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        Mark – Holmes Co.
        Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 18th, 2015 at 14:28)

        I do not know of any Old Order districts here that allow rubber tires, but the rubber “buffer” is becoming more common. I think many people would be okay with having rubber, but so far it has not been allowed. The idea it is because the New Order did it first makes sense. Same for sliding doors — a lot of the churches we are connected to in other areas have rubber tires & sliding doors or curtains, but we do not.

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      Mark – Holmes Co.
      Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 18th, 2015 at 14:32)

      Many of the Belle Center people have their roots in Holmes Co. and as far as I know their buggies are similar if not identical to New Order buggies here in Holmes Co.
      I could be wrong about this (and do not have the time right now to check it out) but it seems to me I had heard Hardin Co. was originally settled by people from the LaGrange, Ind., community who were hoping to escape more liberal trends there. Again, i could be wrong. I have never been there, but from what I have seen on here I think their buggies are similar to those used to Stockport, OH. I know they are not the same shape as LaGrange, and I have no idea why. Hopefully someone else knows more about it.

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        Comment on Comments on Buggy Types (February 19th, 2015 at 11:40)

        Comments on Buggy Types

        Thank you, Erik and Mark, for your help with my questions on a few buggy types. It’s appreciated!

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      Marcus Yoder
      Comment on Belle Center Amish (February 19th, 2015 at 12:28)

      Belle Center Amish

      Some of the Belle Center Amish came from Plain City, Ohio, which came from Holmes county starting in 1896.
      Marcus Yoder

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    Comment on Another "clear" option... (February 18th, 2015 at 10:31)

    Another "clear" option...

    Erik, I don’t know if you were intending to limit you discussion to the full-size family-hauling sedans in the Amish buggy world, but there are some clear covers I’ve seen used in some of the pony carts (coupe?). Below is a link to one I saw in Kalona, IA. I’ve seen another one — I think somewhere in MO — but I don’t recall off the top of my head where.


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      Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 18th, 2015 at 14:02)

      Thanks for sharing this Don. I remember this–I guess it’s another “invisible” option, I don’t know if it gets its own category or gets lumped in with #6, or what 🙂 Very interesting, and seems quite practical for these two-wheelers.

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        Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 19th, 2015 at 06:38)

        I think we’ve already seen some parked examples of these clear-topped vehicles in the set of Don’s pictures you posted on 19th March 2014. On the subject of the Byler Amish, I’m assuming that their bright yellow buggy tops are a relatively new development, and that the orange-brown tops of New Wilmington and its daughter settlements were the original Byler tradition.

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        Comment on Another example... (February 19th, 2015 at 07:03)

        Another example...

        Erik, it took some digging, but I finally found the other example of the clear top buggy in some not-yet-posted pictures. I suppose you would call this the sports convertible model.


        …and a more closeup view:


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      Emily J
      Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 18th, 2015 at 14:07)

      Don, I came here to mention those as well. I think a vehicle like that must be a blessing on a day like today when the windchill is -20–all of the visibility, but so much warmer! I wonder if they can cover the horse as well…

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    Comment on Open buggies (February 18th, 2015 at 12:53)

    Open buggies

    Does anyone know why the Ordnung of the Allen/Adams County Amish requires the open buggy? I can understand why it would be required in a courting buggy (no hanky-panky) but not for family travel.

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      Mark – Holmes Co.
      Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 18th, 2015 at 14:24)

      I’m guessing it is just tradition. Long ago, covered or top-buggies were rare in the midwestern Amish communities. When tops started becoming accepted, Swiss Amish communities did not accept them.

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        Comment on Thanks, Mark (February 18th, 2015 at 17:39)

        Thanks, Mark

        Thanks, Mark. That makes perfect sense. I just always feel so sorry for the families in this extreme cold.

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          Mark – Holmes Co.
          Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 19th, 2015 at 09:42)

          I know what you mean, Harriet. Though we have top-buggies, we still use our open hack sometimes in the winter. If you dress warmly, it helps a lot, and most have either an oilcloth covered lap robe or an oilcloth that snaps to the box and can be drawn up to help cover the people and break the wind, keep rain off, or whatever. I would rather have an open buggy and a good strong buggy umbrella than a top-buggy with no front.

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    Alice Mary
    Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 18th, 2015 at 22:31)

    I’d think the white covered buggies would be cooler in hot, sunny weather—if only a little.

    But about those buggies with no storm front—doesn’t it make them harder for horses to pull, almost acting like a parachute “drag” on the back of the space shuttle or race cars? Just wondering.

    Alice Mary

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      Mark – Holmes Co.
      Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 19th, 2015 at 09:39)

      A buggy with no storm front does scoop the wind more, but if you look at an open-front buggy traveling, you might notice the back curtain is puffed out. Some of the “wind” will blow out between the snaps in the back curtain. Since a horse does not travel that fast, it is mostly noticed when it is traveling straight into the wind.

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    Jonathan Edwards
    Comment on Buggy Paint (February 19th, 2015 at 09:32)

    Buggy Paint

    This reminds me…a friend is searching for a catalog from a carriage shop in the Lancaster area. I cannot seem to recall the name of the shop but I suspect they are the largest outfit in the Lancaster area. At least they have the fanciest catalogs. They sell various buggy parts to both wholesalers and consumers, as well as paint (just black, as far as I am aware). Rumor has it that this shop has the best paint around. Would anyone happen to be able to put a name to this question? And perhaps even an address and telephone number?

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      Comment on Lancaster buggy shop with paint (February 19th, 2015 at 11:30)

      Lancaster buggy shop with paint

      Jonathan maybe someone else knows, I can name some shops but don’t know them well enough to say anything about paint.

      You might also try checking the Lancaster County Business Directory (maybe you already have), which conveniently is also available online.

      I don’t know if it will have the specific info you need but will at least give you a number of carriage shops and their contact info to consider.

      Just searching “Carriage” I noticed one which mentions “paint jobs” prominently in the ad (Fairview Coach Shop in the Lititz area), fwiw.


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        Jonathan Edwards
        Comment on Thanks! (February 19th, 2015 at 12:56)


        Thanks a lot, Erik. I was able to find it in that publication. I looked elsewhere in what was something like a ‘Lancaster Business Directory’ but you link was to the real-deal Lancaster business directory.

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          Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 21st, 2015 at 10:40)

          Glad if it helped Jonathan. It’s nice that that big book is available online. They also give the hard copies away in many shops in the area.

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    Derek Stratelak
    Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (February 20th, 2015 at 08:54)

    When traveling in Amish country and the roads are hilly I always slow as I near the top of a hill. To often I’ve crested a hill at full speed only to find a buggy just over the top that was unseen. If on coming traffic is present there is no option than slamming on the brakes. This, I’ve found can really scare the horse and driver. Ice never had an impact with a buggy buy I’ve come really close (inches). Live and learn.

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    Eileen Fisher
    Comment on Amish Buggy Colors (February 26th, 2015 at 19:48)

    Amish Buggy Colors

    I live in an Amish community in Indiana (I’m not Amish) where the buggy is all decorated with red, green, blue and yellow lights on sides, back and front and even underneath. Quite colorful and easy to see! This is near Fort Wayne, IN.

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    Linda Schendel
    Comment on Buggy (April 25th, 2015 at 09:09)


    You mentioned the Kokomo, Indiana settlement, can you give me a location for it. I live just outside of Indianapolis and travel to several of the Amish areas in Indiana, but have never been to the one in Kokomo. Not sure where to find it. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanx, lls

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      Comment on Kokomo, IN Amish location (April 27th, 2015 at 08:22)

      Kokomo, IN Amish location

      Linda, Kokomo is about 1 hour 15 min north of Indianapolis. It is a small community so don’t expect too much. I don’t have any business addresses to give you other than this one, which may or may not be Amish-owned. Either way they’d likely be able to point you to other businesses:

      Custom Built Barns & Sheds
      2312 North Plate Street
      Kokomo, IN 46901
      (765) 457-9037

      Amish can be found on roads including 600N, 500E, 600E, 700E in the Kokomo area. I’ve never visited the community but there might be others here who can give you better suggestions, eg business locations.

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    Comment on white buggies (April 28th, 2018 at 15:09)

    white buggies

    Hi can you tell me what the White buggies are all hard sided with mostly white except for where the driver sits. no roll up parts all hard sided. I live in Lawrence co and have seen this around a few times

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    Yoder in Ohio
    Comment on The 5 Amish Buggy Colors (April 30th, 2018 at 06:53)

    Monica those are “market wagons.” Originally they were used for peddling or going to market. A family might have the usual brown-topped buggies and still have a “market wagon” stored away, but they are not that common.

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