The Amish community at Ellenboro, North Carolina is having an auction next month – the first annual sale for the five-year-old Swartzentruber settlement.
What’s neat here is that the auction company has taken extensive photos of the things up for sale, posting over 100 photos online (viewable here).
The Amish are not “frozen in time”, as they are often labeled.
But if one group of Amish were to come close to that idea, it would be the change-averse Swartzentruber people.
Swartzentruber homes and technology are about the plainest you’ll find in Amish society.
So a lot of these items are things you might have seen in an American farm home 50 or 100 or more years ago.
I combed through the photos and found 10 interesting household items up for sale.
Some are from the kitchen, some are useful implements from other parts of the home, or even practical “decor”.
I’ve included where and when to attend the auction at the bottom (it’s being held in nearby Shelby, NC).
10 Interesting Items from a Swarztentruber Amish Auction
1. Griswold Dutch Oven Oval Roaster
There are quite a few cast iron items listed, including several from the Griswold Manufacturing company.
This was an Erie, PA company which operated from 1865 to 1957. That would mean that these items at a minimum are 60+ years old.
2. 25-Gallon Wash Pot
A wash pot, I learned, is a bit of a misnomer. It can be used for heating water for washing, and is also used for cooking purposes like rendering lard. I don’t think the pile of saws comes with this one.
3. Maytag Wringer Washer
This wringer washer looks like it’s seen better days, but is listed as being in “Good” condition on the website.
It may have once had a paint job, but no longer:
4. Roman Eagle 6 Eye Cook Stove
“6 Eye” refers to the number of burners on this cook stove.
These black cast iron stoves are common to Swartzentruber Amish kitchens (here is a photo of another).
5. Grandfather Clock
While Amish generally are not known for their interior decorating, one decorative thing they do have in their homes are timekeepers – sometimes rather fancy ones.
Grandfather clocks are often seen in Amish homes. This is one of several wooden clocks for sale.
6. Yarn Spinning Wheel
This looks like something you’d see in a colonial-era scene. Some Amish do spin their own yarn.
7. Corn Stick Pans
To be frank I never knew something like this existed. I first thought that these were holders for fire-roasting your standard corn-on-the-cob.
But of course the uniform shape of the cast iron impressions would not work for irregularly-shaped corn.
It turns out corn sticks are in the corn bread family. They sound absolutely delicious.
Not sure how this corn-based food flew under the radar for me, for so many years. Must try soon.
8. Light Fixtures
Do these look “Amish” to you? Me neither.
Nonetheless, it seems someone from the community is selling these oil-burning light fixtures.
9. Mystery Grinder
I can’t figure out what this contraption is used for. Grinding something, it appears. Any help is welcome.
10. Singer Pedal Sewing Machine
The Singer name is synonomous with these classic treadle sewing machines.
While more progressive Amish tend to buy more of their clothing ready-made, in a plainer Swartzentuber home a sewing machine is bound to get a lot of use. You’ll notice some fancy painted designs on the main unit.
There are many more things to be auctioned, including more household items, as well as farm implements and tools.
NC Amish Auction Details
When: Saturday, November 23rd, 10 AM
Where: 1783 Rehobeth Rd. Shelby, NC
Auction web address: http://auctionsunlimited.us/1st-annual-amish-auction-sat-november-23rd-10-am/
If anyone attends, I hope you’ll let us know how it goes.
You might also like:
Griswold Dutch Oven Oval Roaster
I predict that the Griswold Dutch Oven Oval Roaster will be going for an extremely good price, especially if there are collectors at the auction! It would be interesting to know how much it goes for.
griswold dutch oven
I Have a huge cast iron skillet and Griddle from Griswold. Were my grandmother’s and quite possibly great grandmother Schlabaugh’s. Hands down the best 2 pans I own. They are timeless. At one time had the hanging cast iron pot and great granny had a sewing machine like that. They were of the Mennonite descent. A lot of hard working items there but such a simpler life.
Thanks for sharing! How cool
On unknown piece
This looks like an old coffee bean grinder. The beans going in the small end and then ground to fill the jar.
the grinder could be used for corn, beans, nuts, many things.
Swartzentruber Amish Auction
The grinder is for coffee, roasted coffee beans go in the larger “jar” end, which is upside down when the grinder is hung on the wall. The coffee “grounds”, ready for use, fall into the little glass cup on the bottom. A spring-loaded plunger makes removal of the small glass cup easy, to pour contents into the coffee maker of choice. When the large glass jar gets empty, the device is removed from the wall and the jar is refilled.
It’s a wall mo7nted coffee grinder
I didn’t know that some Amish spin their own yarn. Can you tell us which settlements do this?
And what do they use the yarn for? Knitted sweaters? Woven coverlets?
I believe that a lot or even most Amish would buy yarn rather than spin it. But since this is coming out of a Swartzentruber community, you could probably assume that other Swartzentruber Amish communities do it as well (Holmes County, OH; Ethridge, TN; Heuvelton, NY; Lodi, OH are home to some of the largest of those communities).
As far as what yarn is used for, I’ll admit it’s not something I’ve really paid much attention to ever (within the Amish or beyond) as it’s not in my wheelhouse 😀 so I’ll just point you to this blog post from someone who seems to know what she’s talking about: https://vannettachapman.com/blog/2014/05/30/knitting-amish/
“It’s not uncommon to see women working on a project as they sit in a booth at a produce stand or while waiting at an auction. They’re likely to make things such as socks, lap blankets, buggy blankets, baby sweaters, etc.”
I agree that it is a grinder but reversed from Jody’s comment as my Grandmother used one (I still have it) and the beans were contained in the jar and when ground would come into the glass at the bottom. Thank you for sharing to take us down memory lane!! Andrea
Corn Stick Pan
I still have my mother’s corn stick pan and I am 70 years old. Wonder how old it really is?
Those pans are also from Griswold so at a minimum they’d be 62 years old since the company ceased operating in 1957.
I have the coffee grinder in my kitchen, beans go in the larger jar and grind into the smaller glass. I also have the corn bread pans in different multiples, I also have them in farm animals and wonderful see, hear and speak no evil bears! I attend a lot of local Amish sales and there isn’t anything I enjoy more!!
that grinder is for coffee beans. i had one and it work well. i had a whole wall of coffee grinders from other countries. but i used the one in the picture most of the time
This is interesting!
That Griswold Dutch oven should be a hot seller and is likely to draw bidders from quite a distance. If I lived closer, I would go bid on it.
Mystery grinder explained
Thanks to everyone who offered an explanation of the grinder – sound like the most popular choice is “coffee grinder”, with one of you (Lisa) suggesting it could be used for other things like corn and nuts. I’ll buy it! (figuratively this time, though I might try to attend this auction in a few weeks, so we’ll see…) 😀
Have fun if you go to the sale Erik I just wanted to say that the coffee grinder that I have which my Grandma used for years was retired when they finally produced an electric grinder for the home……Grandma was all for convinces, guess having 12 children was a motivation for anything that made a job easier!!
#9 coffee grinder
I also vote coffee grinder because I have my great Aunt Obie’s with her coffee beans still in it!. Mine does not have a fancy way to pick out the ground coffee. It just has a basket to hold a small glass.
I also have a working treadle sewing machine with a leather draw belt. The designs on the machine itself are actually from the factory so the Amish would have to work to cover them.
I have used my corn pan a # of times. It needs to be greased very thickly & be hotter before you pour your cornbread batter in it. Your standard cornbread batter is what we have always used.
The spinning wheel is for wool. If they were spinning linen/flax, they would have a smaller wheel with finer compartments. My wool wheel was built for me but my flax wheel was found in an attic somewhere.
Is there a flax wretcher anywhere in the Auction ? If so, I would love to hear what price it went for.
I want to go to an auction like this! Great post!
Old timey items
These took me down memory lane also.
I have one of the corn kit bakers (cornbread sticks) and my great grandmother’s Singer Sewing machine in a cabinet like this one. They’re wonderful things and I’d never part with them.
The unknown grinder
The unknown grinder is a wall mounted coffee grinder very common in kitchens including my own. Nothing better than the smell of fresh ground coffee wafting through the house.
I love everything you put on the site, love reading it and look forward to it.
couldn’t see any of the items.