5 Outdated Technologies Amish Still Use

Obsolete Technologies of the Amish

Have you ever heard one Amish person suggest another Amish person is “behind the times”?

It might sound funny, but you do hear things like that in places like Holmes County, Ohio. That community is a grab-bag of Amish groups–some very restrictive of technology, some liberal.

Recumbent Bike
Aerodynamic recumbent bike. Not outdated

Of course, Amish aren’t anti-technology. But different groups make different decisions about technology.

In fact, many do use certain modern devices, tools, and gadgets. LED lights, recumbent bicycles, solar panels, and high-tech birding binoculars are a few examples.

That noted, Amish certainly do use items the rest of us would consider “obsolete” or “outdated”.

Here are five technologies that non-Amish said goodbye to long ago–but you’ll still see across Amish America today.

Five Technologies of Yesterday That Amish Use Today

1. Sad Iron

This is basically a hunk of metal with a handle. You heat it up on the stove, attach the handle, then apply it to your wrinkled garments. It works, sort of. I’m sure Amish people are better at operating this than me.

The one time I tried using a sad iron, I singed my hand. That made me sad, momentarily. Maybe that’s how it got its name.

DL Schwartz Sad Iron
DL Schwartz of Berne, Indiana sells sad irons. Photo by Woodward Crossings Country Basics

Actually, sad irons earned their moniker due to a now outdated meaning of the word “sad”. In the nineteenth century the term meant “heavy”, “solid” or “compact”.

2. Suspenders

I think we can agree these are no longer common items of clothing–besides for those high-powered business people and lawyers who for some reason keep wearing them. Nowadays belts, buttons, velcro and drawstrings keep our trousers in place.

Here’s Wikipedia on the creation and passing of what the Amish call galluses: “the modern type were first invented in 1820 by Albert Thurston and were once almost universally worn due to the high cut of mid-nineteenth and early twentieth century trousers, a cut that made a belt impractical.”

By the 1930s a majority of American men were wearing belts rather than suspenders.


Among the Amish, suspenders are a standard-issue part of the plain uniform. Every male of a certain age wears them (almost).

Something you might not know about the Amish and suspenders: Most Amishmen wear two, but a few wear just one–sort of strung diagonally across one shoulder (don’t ask me why 🙂 ).

And there’s one group which wears no suspenders – the men of the “Nebraska” Amish churches, mainly found in central PA.

3. Melamine Bowls

Though I’ve often eaten from them, I just learned what these were fairly recently. Made of melamine formaldehyde, Boontonware is a brand name for the once-popular dishes; another is Melmac.

If you find yourself eating in an Amish home there’s a decent chance you’ll be using one of these instead of a dinner plate.

Melamine Bowls
“Blue confetti” is a popular color scheme with the Amish.

The material’s popularity peaked in the 1950s and 60s. It fell out of favor due to a tendency to show stains and scratch marks. As this 2010 New Jersey Star-Ledger article notes, these dishes remain popular in Amish communities.

“The Amish in particular like them because of their simplicity….They are not real fancy and they can be easily replaced”says Jackie Juliano of GMR Technology (owner of the Boontonware brand).

“Many Amish country stores sell Boonton melamine dinnerware, but it’s hard to find the dishes online,” explains one of our readers. Another says the dishes tend to heat up in the microwave (a problem Amish don’t have).

Boontonware was originally made in Boonton, New Jersey, hence the name. Currently made in Ashtabula, Ohio.

4. Push Reel Mower 

The old-fashioned spinning reel mower continues to be used by many Amish. Reel mowers arrived on the scene way back in the 1800s, with the first gas-powered mowers coming along in the 1920s.

Here’s a case where different Amish churches permit different technologies.

You might observe that one Amish church district allows gas-powered mowers, while a nearby district does not. Larger settlements where you’ll see these include parts of northern Indiana and Geauga County, Ohio.

Push Reel Mower Amish Girl

Simple. Classic. And burns a few more calories than a riding mower.

5. The Outhouse

How many Amish use outhouses? You see them at the homes of “lower” (ie, more traditional) groups. They are standard among Swartzentruber Amish.

I had the pleasure of visiting one in Allen County, Indiana. It’s a funny situation where they have both mobile phones and outhouses in the community.

Even one of my Lancaster Amish friends has an outhouse, though like others in that settlement, he also has in-home plumbing. His produce workers use the outhouse, a luxurious-looking model, while on the job.

Amish schools have them as well.

Amish School Outhouse

Jerry Eicher, who grew up Amish, describes the outhouse he used for four years as “a place that holds no fond memories for me.”

There’s a funny thing about outhouses. Some non-Amish people seem to have a strange nostalgia for these outdoor toilets. They turn them into lawn displays or use them in outhouse-motif decor like birdhouses.

I’m guessing those folks never had to use one on a regular basis.

What other technologies would you add to this list?

Image credits: Suspenders- Ed C.; Melamine, reel mower, outhouse- ShipshewanaIndiana

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    1. Margaret

      All of these were part of my childhood….in fact we use a push reel mower now, as well as melmac dishes. Thanks for sharing this, Erik. It brought back fond memories!

      1. I think there are niche markets among the English still for both of those items. You never have to worry about fueling a reel mower. And I came across some Melamine enthusiasts online.

        1. Reel Mowers

          You are right, Erik, about the niche market for reel mowers. I am now in my 17th year of selling them online and they are doing quite well. I get my top-of-the-line reel mowers from an Amish company in Lancaster County. Nationally, sales are tripling every decade. The sales among the Amish are growing even faster, as is the Amish population. Here comes the shameless plug: people like the superior cut, the safer, quieter, pollution-free operation. I am not sure what the woman in the photo is doing, though. I never saw anyone push a reel mower with that posture.

          1. Nice! The girl in the photo looks to be stretching to finish up a row. I have a series of shots which this is just one of. I recognized this move from my experience using my regular mower. In the next shots she pulls it back and then angles in a different direction.

            What does a decent reel mower run nowadays Marjorie?

            1. Thanks for asking Erik!

              My Mascot reel mowers are the best reel mowers I have seen. They are built to last a long time, with steel parts where other reel mowers have plastic parts. The four models range in price from $259 to $289 and that price includes free shipping within the 48 contiguous United States. We ship them all over the world, but additional shipping charges will apply. I will give Amish America readers a $10 discount on any Mascot reel mower if they order this week – by Friday, January 23. Please be sure to let me know you read this on Amish America to get your discount. You can order online or via telephone. If you order online, please follow up with an email to get your discount and I will refund $10 to your account.

        2. Barbara Long

          Fond memories


          Melmac was a standard in my house, growing up. I thought it was awesome, as it really took a beating from us five kids in the house. Wish I now had the set my mom used for many years! Thanks for the memories!


          1. My pleasure Barb, this was a fun article to write. And I can see by the comments that keep coming in that there are a good few Melmac fans out there.

      2. Bryce

        Go figure

        Grew up using all of these things. I still do, Aside from the outhouse.
        In fact, I give Boontonware toy friends to use.

    2. Trish in Indiana

      Don’t forget wringer washers. And do any communities use washboards instead?

      1. Mule-powered washer

        Hmmm. I’ve never heard of anyone using washboards instead of wringer washers. Even Swartzentruber Amish use motorized washers.

        This is an even plainer solution: https://amishamerica.com/mule-powered-washing-machine/

        That is from a former-Amish, now plain Mennonite community in Missouri.

        There may be other examples among Amish in obscure niche communities but I don’t know them.

    3. Terry

      Melmac dishes

      We have eaten on the melmac dishes, so I bought some for us. We find them at a bulk food store in RR Dalton, WI called Mishler’s Country Store. And yes they do get hot in the microwave. The bench wagon will have a stack of those bowls used for lunch after church. With so many kids to feed most of the time, it really does make more sense than a plate.

      1. Especially if you are eating dishes with gravy or other liquid/runny substances. Adults can be messy too 🙂

    4. Forest in North Carolina

      “There’s a funny thing about outhouses. Some non-Amish people seem to have a strange nostalgia for these outdoor toilets”

      Um…Not I, said Mother Hazel’s little boy…. My grandparents had one, and it seemed to be a gathering place for every wasp and spider in the area. It was cold in the winter and hot in summer, and I hated it.

      As my father said, “The best thing about the good old days is that they’re gone.” See also “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be…”

      1. Forest, I agree with you. My grandmother had an outhouse on a hill behind her house. Eww, the wasps and spiders kept me from using it until I could no longer hold it.
        As a little girl I was afraid I’d fall in . . . nuff said.

    5. Joan Jardine Sheldon

      wringer washer

      I agree with Trish. The wringer washer needs to be on this list. Also, maybe, ice boxes, the ones you keep food cold with a block of ice.

      1. Both good choices Joan. This list could probably be dozens of items long. I’m enjoying the suggestions so far.

    6. Carol

      My aunt chose to decorate her outhouse very attractively–a lovely shade of lavender, calendar and mirror (small) on the wall. Fine screen wire over the ventilation holes and even a small window or two up toward the roof line. Oh yes, and a “ring” over each hole for more comfortable seating. It was thoroughly scrubbed often and she was very proud of how nice she kept it.

      1. Wow Carol, maybe I would’ve used your grandmother’s colorful and clean outhouse. 🙂

    7. Robin Miller

      What about wood fired cooking stoves? From what I’ve learned, some still use those vs. propane gas stoves. Also, are rotary dial phones common vs. push button models in phone shanties? I can remember visiting my non-Amish grandmother in the late 50s, early 60s on her Southern Maryland tobacco farm. The only running water that she had was a sink in the kitchen so we used a backhouse. She had a “pot” that we could use when it was too cold or wet to trapse down the hill to the backhouse. She did have a propane gas stove; however preferred using her wood fired cook stove … best fried chicken and biscuits on earth! She heated that kitchen with the stove and had a “space heater” in the adjoining dining room (which she used for her bedroom in her elderly years). No other heating in the house. My father remembered breaking the ice in the wash basin in his bedroom and splashing his face for a very brisk winter wake-up! My uncle wired the kitchen and dining room with electricity in the 1940s … just an overhead light in each room and then if you wanted to plug anything else in, you could screw a socket into multi-light fixture. I tell my kids these things and they find it hard to believe! So glad that I had this experience!

      1. Patti

        Good morning Robin and all, I have memories of the
        same things screw in socket thing, for sure wringer
        washer. The outhouses that I was “blessed” to use
        all had the seat rings to make it more comfortable to
        use. We had a faucet out in the garden to attach hose
        to for watering and for us to wash off maters or radishes
        to eat while out there. I am thankful we have progressed
        but enjoyed those days too. I love visiting Amish
        areas and Holmes County was wonderful, Patti also in

      2. I don’t really know about the phones in shanties, I’d probably guess they’re mostly push-button. I just don’t think it would matter if you are going to have a phone anyway, plus they are usually voice mail-equipped.

        Though some phone shack telephones are actually pay phones. I took a couple of photos of these in the New Wilmington PA settlement: https://amishamerica.com/last-time-you-used-pay-phone/

        By the way sounds like you’d appreciate creature comforts after an experience like that!

    8. lincolnlady1121

      I had the pushing lawn mower all the while I owned my house. My Father wouldn’t let me near a power lawn mower after I ran one up the three once. I remember the dishes as my Mom had a set of those back in the 1960’s. They were a big deal back then. I never liked to go into outhouses.

    9. Robin Miller


      P.S. Now that I think about it, just looking up at my fireplace mantel, I see two of my grandmother’s everyday tools … her flatiron that she heated on her stove and her hand-cranked coffee grinder. My treasures!!!

    10. TLC SLP

      melamine abounds!

      If you look at Target or any mass merchandiser, you will certainly find melamine dishes. They are often sold as children’s plates, but you can get them in everyday styles as well. A warning went out at one point saying that if they are microwaved, not only to they get hot, they may release BPAs since they are made of formaldehyde. I try to only use them for sandwiches and such and never heat them up. I’m assuming most Amish don’t have that microwave issue!

      1. Robin Miller

        I purchased some melamine plates last summer for my grandchildren to use when they visit … always handwash … my daughter had some and made the mistake of putting them in her dishwasher … OOPPSS!! I remember one of my older sisters having a set in the early 60s. She callled them Melmac … they were burgundy and gray as I recall. Worked great with her 4 very energetic children!! You can also still find these originals in antique stores.

    11. Debbie H

      Melmac and out houses

      You can keep those Melmac dishes, I never liked them. And outhouses, the smell was bad enough but my oldest sister told me there were snakes in them and would come up and bite my butt. All the parks in my hometown had outhouses and so did a lot of camps. I remember trying to hold it in until we went home but never could do ended up doing my business fast as I could while holding my breath. I also remember the sockets in the hanging light. That is where the iron was plugged in.

      I am nostalgic for the slower life style, ability to run the neighborhood and not worry about abduction and Sundays at grandma’s house eating fried chicken on the picnic table. I’ll happily leave the Melmac, outhouses and no a/c in the past. Thank you very much. 🙂

    12. Don Curtis

      Outdated Technologies

      Well, in my ninety-two years I’ve seen a lot of technologies come and go. One of my jobs when I was a teenager was at the roller rink. I fastened on the skates to people’s shoes by tightening them up with a key. Nobody had shoe skates in those days. The skate part fastened on to your regular shoe. I wonder how many of those jobs are still available. Especially for the nickel or dime tip I got. Milk was delivered by horse and wagon. So, was ice. Our first car, when I was a boy, was a 1928 Chevy. I walked or rode the street car to get any place. No street cars, anymore. Now, here I am using a computer and when I was a boy we didn’t even have a telephone.
      At Mark’s house he uses a wringer washer. No melmac. He likes Franciscan pattern china. No outhouse, either. Actually, his house has two full bathrooms. But all three of the school houses have outdoor toilets. I’ve never been in them. Mark says they are kept clean.

    13. James


      As a suspender-wearing lawyer, I’ll throw in my opinion. They are much more comfortable than a belt, especially if you wear your pants on your waist, instead of slung low on your hips. I especially like them when I am doing yard work or anything that involves a lot of moving around. With a belt, I have to keep hiking up my pants if I move around a lot.

      1. I had the impression that lawyers and other professionals that wear them with suits appreciate the bold, “power” look of the suspender. I didn’t realize that there was a big comfort advantage, but it sounds like you wear them casually. I feel like I’d be continuously conscious of the straps over my shoulders and it doesn’t seem like it would be comfortable. Though I don’t like belts either.

        1. James

          To wear them casually, I have added metal suspender buttons to my blue jeans and yard-work pants. I also have suspenders with clasps that I can attach to any pair of pants. For work, I have different suspenders that attach with smaller buttons. If you wore suspenders all the time, you would not notice the straps over your shoulders, just like you don’t regularly notice the other clothes you wear (if they fit correctly).

    14. Carol

      No personal experience here, James, but my husband rates bib overalls above suspenders, and suspenders above belts! Not sure how your clientele would go for bibs!

      1. James

        I agree with your husband. My clients never see me, we just communicate by fax and telephone. So, I sometimes were bib-overalls to work. I find that the bib makes them too hot in the summer.

        1. Love the suspender dialog. Did you know that each order has different rules on HOW to wear suspenders? Straight up. Crossed in back. And did you know Swartzentrubers do not wear them?

          Among Englishers it’s been in and out of fashion through the years.

          Don Curtis, thank you for sharing your memories.

          1. Mark - Holmes Co.

            In the Old Order here in Holmes Co., it’s a choice. A little boy wears suspenders until he hits the age where it’s optional (usually when he gets to the upper grades in school) and from then on it is a matter of choice. (Or maybe a matter of weight? Ha ha.)

            1. Wow, Mark — I hadn’t noticed that before. (And I’m usually pretty tuned in to that kind of thing.) I had to dig through my pictures from Holmes Co., and sure ‘nough, there was a picture of the father of the Amish family we stayed with, and he’s without suspenders. His father, who was also raking hay at the same time, was wearing suspenders. And that never caught my attention! Thanks for sharing.


              (Here are some shots of Amish traffic outside of Mt. Hope (Holmes Co.), and you see some with and some without: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ozarkinspirations/sets/72157630597191890/ )

            2. Some Amishmen opt out of suspenders

              Thank you, Mark, for pointing this out. I probably should have mentioned something about that in the post. Though I believe Nebraska people are the only ones who universally do not wear suspenders. If someone knows of another group let us know.

              In northern Indiana I believe things work similarly to what you describe in Holmes County. For example in both of these posts you can see one photo of an Amishman without suspenders, in Nappanee and Elkhart/Lagrange.


              How about for church? Do you know in Holmes is it true that they are still worn to church by those who don’t wear them on an everyday basis?

              1. Mark - Holmes Co.

                Erik, I can’t think of anyone in the Old Order who wears suspenders to church who does not wear them other times, but I have seen a few Swartzentruber men wearing white suspenders at weddings that I’m pretty sure I have seen without suspenders through the week.
                The Nebraskas don’t wear suspenders at all, but there are a few others, like the Enon Valley Amish, New Wilmington, and so on.
                There is a big difference in how the suspenders are made, too. In some groups it is set out in Ordnung how they are to be made, but in others there is a big variety. In our group suspenders are most often made of the same fabric as the pants and sewn right on and either cross to make an X in the back or an H. Some like Dan Gmay also have sewn on suspenders but though it looks like an X in back, if you look close you see the straps don’t cross but come together so it’s more of an )( but sewn together where the straps meet. Or maybe >< describes it better. Others like Abe Troyer have a Y shape.

    15. Stephen B.

      Outhouse smells

      Outhouses may not smell all that nice, but they do spare the main house from smelling similarly. Let’s face it, exhaust fans, chemical air fresheners and what have you don’t always eliminate bathroom odors especially in winter (or even in the summer with the increasingly present air conditioning forcing the windows to stay closed.) Indeed, I once read that one of the main objections some old timers had back when indoor bathroom plumbing was being introduced a hundred years ago was that the home was going to smell like a barn. That is, indoor bathrooms were seen as being uncivilized, animalistic, and even kind of barbaric in their own way, rather than hygienic as we see indoor toilets today.

      1. Interesting. And funny to consider now. Putting myself in their shoes though, that apprehension actually makes sense.

      2. Mike Lucas


        Paraphrasing an elderly gentleman that came to live with his nephew whose home had both indoor and outdoor facilities, “Why would anyone want to do their business in the house?” (I cleaned that up, BTW.)

    16. RC

      Among those Amish who churn their own butter, do any use manual churns, rather than motorized ones? If manual churns are used, are they old-fashioned ‘plunge’ churns, with a wooden plunger in a vertical container, or more sophisticated ones with paddles operated by a rotating handle?

      1. RC maybe someone else here can answer. I’ve never seen the old fashioned plunger churn in any Amish homes, but that doesn’t really give you an answer. I kind of doubt it, but if they are used it would be in the plainest homes. And of course your question makes me think of the Weird Al video.

        1. RC

          Thanks, Erik. Yes, it was the Weird Al-style stereotype that made me wonder if any Amish at all used that kind of churn.

        2. Mike Lucas

          The Amish in our area use both plunger and crank type churns, some of which are homemade. I’ve seen plunge type churns made from a five gallon bucket and a broomstick attached to an X crossed two board beater made of 1″x4″s.

      2. Mark - Holmes Co.

        I have never seen the old style plunge churns used to make butter, but I know of several families who use the hand-cranked paddle kinds. Our favorite is one that is made to use with a rechargeable cordless drill.

    17. Katrina

      Melmac-style dishes

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the Melmac-style dishes were used in households with young children. The Melmac are less dangerous than a set of stoneware if a young child accidentally drops one. Our family used Melmac for years until my mom felt we were old enough (around 8-10 years old) that we wouldn’t drop stoneware. She then happily purchased a set of stoneware dishes that she had been eyeing when we reached that age.

    18. Trish in Indiana

      Erik, idea for next essay!

      Erik, maybe your next essay should be “Technologies People Are Surprised the Amish DO Use.” Even though I’ve lived in Amish country all my life, I know that back when I learned they used wringer washers I was surprised they didn’t wash by hand, and a lot of the farming implements raise eyebrows of out-of-town tourists.

      I think it’s hard for us English to wrap our heads around the standards that lead to one technology being acceptable and another not, and of course, it only makes it more complicated that it may be accepted in one community of Amish and not another. It’s easy to oversimplify and sort of imagine the Amish as some kind of museum exhibit of life at some stage in the past, as if they were a reenactment sponsored by the local historical society rather than a living community in 2015.

      1. Great idea Trish. Five Technologies you might be surprised the Amish use.

        I think you’re right and put this really well. I feel technology use is one of the harder things for outsiders to “get” about the Amish. People automatically think it’s hypocritical or nonsensical when there is often a good bit of thought and weighing of consequences that plays out over time.

        By the way, if anyone else has suggestions for article ideas, I am glad to hear them. I have a growing list which I keep adding to.

        1. Trish in Indiana

          Glad you like the idea, Erik! I look forward to seeing the article. (But I won’t hold my breath, if you’ve got a whole list!)

    19. Tim

      Push lawnmower: Melmac dishes

      My brother and I used a push reel mower when we were so young it took two of us to push it. My Dad modified the handle so it would be easier for us to push. When my wife and I were married, one of our prized wedding gifts was a complete 8-place set of Melmac dishes, including serving dishes, creamer, etc. My new bride was tickled.

      1. Carol

        Our set of melmac, brand name of Texas-Ware, received in 1961 for a wedding shower, was of the wheat pattern. Still have a few of the cereal bowls (brown) that survived. The white plates stained terribly from the iron in our well water.

    20. Christina C.

      Modern mixed with old-school

      There are a lot of Amish patrons at the library where I work. But when I first worked here, I was surprised at how many used the computers–many have online businesses, or home businesses that require internet ordering. Also, I was surprised by the cellphones, although not anymore–anyone with a business needs a cellphone, at the very least. My biggest surprise, however, is the DVDs. Many of our patrons who are Amish borrow DVDs, and not always the good, wholesome ones, either.

      My point is this–we’re all people, and we all have the same wants and desires. Sometimes you just can’t get away from modern living. I love living in this part of Ohio, but I’m also so glad that I never have to use an outhouse!

    21. Kathy Beamer

      5 Outdated Technologies Amish Still Use

      I still have melamine dishe in my cupboard right now.I still use 4 out of 5. The out house I don’t use anymore. But that’s ok. I guess I’m still old school.

    22. You could have done ten if you wanted to get into word processors and heating methods, but you know that. Interesting take on the perspective of “technology.” That dinnerware is very interesting! Although many of the Amish I know have swapped it for Corelle (which also heats up in the microwave)I’m sure there are melamine diehards. I actually saw some for sale at a big chain housewares store recently, and wondered who on earth among the non-Amish would buy that. Now I think I ought to go back and hoard it for wedding gifts.

    23. David Kowalski


      When I was a kid a friend of mine thought it was really hilarious that we used a push mower even though my dad was a major. His dad was enlisted and they had a motorized mower so to him was really strange that we still used this old technology. One thing I didn’t appreciate until we got the power mower was that the push mower never failed to start.

      1. Push reel mowers: they start when you do!

        This reminds me of something that happened to me in 1998, when I first started my internet business selling push reel mowers. I decided to try each model that I listed before making them available for sale. I was very excited when I got my first sample mower and went out to the front yard on a Saturday morning to try it out. My neighbors were all going out with their big, stinky, noisy gasoline powered mowers at the same time. They laughed when they saw my little push mower. “Ha ha! Haven’t you heard? There are power mowers now, you don’t have to use those old-timey things anymore.”
        And off I went, mowing while they tried to get their modern wonders started. “Bleh-de-bleh-de-bleh” said their mowers, over and over. I had my entire front lawn mowed before the guy across the street, who was laughing the loudest, even got his mower started.

    24. Suspenders and other thoughts...

      I’m not a lawyer, but count me among the suspender-wearers — and a pastor. But only occasionally, when I get a bit more dressed up than usual. I find it interesting that suspenders are considered classy/dressy by whatever the English equivalents are of both the high and the low Amish. One guy told me that I must be a pessimist, ’cause I wear both a belt and suspenders.

      About the Amish and their not being anti-technology, I’ve had an Amish woodworker really surprise me one time when he told me of traveling some miles away, across the state line, to go to an technology fair. As I recall it wasn’t something just for the Amish, but some of the things were adaptable to the Amish limitations. Another time an Amish farmer described what seems to be a niche industry geared to making advancements in technologies that are “kosher” to the Amish and many of their restrictions.

    25. Great and interesting article. On the first question, Have you ever heard one Amish person suggest another Amish person is “behind the times”?

      Actually, yes!

      Not yes exactly but, Ira Wagler, author of Growing Up Amish, who left the OOA told me once that the Swartzentruber Amish are “backward.”

      1. Mark - Holmes Co.

        As just regular Old Order Amish, I agree! They do seem “backward” in many ways, but I suppose we seem just as backward to non-Amish, so it’s all in your own view.

    26. Nadja

      Melmac? Mom had that.
      Outhouse? At my grandparent’s and uncle’s house until electricity finally went in at their little corner of the American West circa early 1960s.
      Sad iron? That and kerosene heated irons in that little corner of the West until the electricity came in, along with kerosene stoves.
      Reel lawnmower? Actually common until the early 1960s.
      Galluses? Very common to this day among history professors and some professional types. History departments can be a kick as the wardrobes often tend to draw inspiration from the faculty member’s areas of specialty.

    27. Nadja

      Note on Galluses

      Those in academia, and those who are British never call them suspenders as the British use the word suspenders to refer to a woman’s garter belt.

      1. Suspenders in the UK

        Did not know that about the garter meaning Nadja. British speakers call suspenders braces, I believe. Which of course is something that goes on your teeth in America.

        I understand the word pants is similarly treacherous.

        1. Grace, London UK

          I’m British and while the correct term is braces, I wouldn’t think of a women’s garter belt if you said suspenders, I’d think of braces. Maybe if you said it to my mum or grandmother it’d be a different story?

          We also have braces on our teeth but they’re also retainers.

          How complex this all is.

          1. Grace, London UK

            Braces are quite fashionable at the moment:


    28. Nadja

      I think you’re right on the Brits and braces, because I seem to recall hearing that in academia.

      The mind of a child is a fascinating country, I can remember being about six or seven and wondering why my father and several other faculty referred to their suspenders by a Latin word I associated with the pet Banty rooster hanging out in my grandmother’s yard with all of his little hens.

    29. Frances Cavallo

      Technologies the Amish Still Use

      I think it is amazing that r he Amish can accomplish so many things without the use of modern technology, so many times! God Bless You and Your Family! Thanks for the opportunity to win!

    30. Grace, London UK

      We still use all this...

      Maybe I should become Amish as we still use all this stuff.
      Not the outhouses most have been converted but there’s still quite a lot around especially in the country. My aunt never got rid of hers until she died.

      As for the Melamine Bowls I wouldn’t put them in the microwave that’ll probably give off some good old carcinogens.

    31. Barb Hegman


      When I was 10 years old and lived in a brand-new subdivision house in Detroit, we moved to Tennessee. That part of the mountains was extremely “backward” to us girls. I was surprised by the word “galluses”, as I had never heard it. The straps in the “overhauls” were called galluses and my mother explained that it was the same as suspenders. As an adult, I read the word in an old book, so I immediately looked it up. Part of my heritage is English-Scottish-Irish (and the rest is Cherokee Indian and German). I’m always interested in how a word developed, so I was surprised to learn that the word “galluses” was derived from the Scotch-Irish, and literally meant “gallows” – to hang! Makes sense doesn’t it? Barb

    32. Joyce


      Treadle sewing machines. Most Amish make their own clothes using a machine. Many do quilt piecing on a machine. The actual quilting is done manually.
      Somehow the actual work involved in
      producing clothing, quilts, linens, etc ,is often overlooked.

    33. Will

      Out house biffy

      At our family cottage in Canada we had an outhouse or what they call a biffy. We have an electric toilet inside called a destroylit but it would hum when you sat on it and nobody liked to use it unless it was really rainy or really cold outside..
      We have a small ventilator built into the outhouse kept it clean and painted bright inside and used some lime after use. it was OK to use unless it was a hot summer day or cold outside and then you really make sure you’re needed to go before you went down the path.

    34. S. Norman

      5 Outdated Technologies

      Purchased Melmac bowls at dime store 40 years ago – still using them –
      I attended a one room school in MI and although they had inside toilets they never worked so we always
      had to use the outside toilets – yep, cold in the winter – summer no school, so that fixed those months.
      But the spiders were still there.

    35. Doc Kozlowski

      Suspenders and such...

      When not wearing bibs, I’ve worn suspenders/braces my entire life, I prefer them to belts. I have no fondness for outhouses. My granny had porcelain on steel and Melmac dinnerware, I thought they were beautiful.

    36. Ringer washer

      I suppose thg he wringer washer would be another one on that list.