Amish Furniture in Pennsylvania Dutch

I must say Pennsylvania Dutch tickles my ears.  Listening to the language is like hearing two tongues spliced together–one I understand, one I most surely do not. You’ll catch a good bit of that even in the first five minutes of this video tour of Schrock’s of Walnut Creek. Numerous English words trickle out from amongst the Deitsch as Schrock’s Marvin Miller takes you through the company. Marvin shows off the company’s clocks and other handiwork. He also “demonstrates” some of the furniture, including a technologically-enhanced closet and countertop.  You also see the production area of the company with numerous Amish employees hard at work.

The video comes from reader Virgil’s site which, as it says, is “Alles in pennsylvania deitsch.” Thanks go to Linda for bringing it to my attention.

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    1. Karen Pollard

      Amish Cabinetmaker

      Wow! That glass counter top that changes colors is amazing!!! The quality of Amish cabinets is fabulous, usually.

      This video is fascinating!Is Mr. Miller still an active practicing Amish gentleman???

      1. The gentleman in the video would not be Amish Karen, though given his language ability I’d suspect he has those roots.

      2. From The Tour Guide

        Karen Pollard, Erik is correct, I was born Amish but my parents chose to leave when I was around ten.

    2. Such beautiful craftsmanship

      I wish he could make house calls. Our kitchen needs some serious help.

      1. Let me second that Forsythia, regarding my own humble kitchen (or as I call it, “food repository and reheating zone”) 🙂

      2. House Calls

        We do make house calls, Forsythia! Find us at or email me at Phone number: 330.893.2141. Also find us on Facebook. We have kitchens in many states as well as several foreign countries. We’ve been in business since 1918.

    3. Carolyn B

      Loved the showroom. Wished he’d spent more time on the corner banquette at the first of the tape.

      Bet that counter top is popular during the various holidays with its multi-color display.

      Liked the revolving shoe stand/pantry shelf armoire. That has to be my favorite.

    4. Alice Mary

      I can smell the sawdust!

      That glass, color-changing counter top freaks me out! But the lighted baseboard is a good thing…especially for those with failing eyesight (and their pets with similar ailments).

      I could spend all day in a place like that! I love wood, and have done a little bit of re-finishing myself. It’s a substantial material that should last many generations. The cabinetry in this video no doubt will last a long, long time! I wish some of it were my own!

      Listening to him speak reminds me of listening to my Polish Grandmothers—I didn’t know Polish, but I was always thrilled to hear an English word or two thrown in!

      Alice Mary

    5. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Eating with the Amish

      This is sort of off topic, but not, given that we are talking about kitchens and such.

      I was wondering, toward those who have eaten with the Amish, Erik for instance, how do Amish families serve their food on a day-to-day basis? In your experience what is typical – do the families you’ve eaten with place the food on the table and have most of the meal within easy reach, at the centre or wherever there is room, or are you expected to get up, leaving the table and serve yourself more food at some other location, a kitchen counter top, an island, then return to the table, sort of buffet restaurant style?

      I know everyone has their own style of meal service, as it where, but what do you think is typical of your Amish friends at daily meal time?

      1. Lattice

        I had meant to reply to you, SHOM, but evidently didn’t. I wrote a novel down below…

    6. Lattice

      Shom, I would be happy to tell you how it goes with my Amish friends. There is a silent prayer before and after the meal. Once everyone gets seated, everyone quiets, then all bow heads until you hear the man/father clear the throat or make some kind of noise or something, or on occasion say, “Amen.”

      The food is all placed on the table, including an extra pitcher of water. Only in a very rare circumstance have I seen anyone get up from the table during the meal(I remember an older daughter getting up to get salad dressing once, and that’s really the only time I can recall it – in probably seventy meals with several different families).

      They sit down like this for all three meals. They don’t start till everyone is there. In the summer, dinner is the “largest” meal (meaning more substantial food like meats/casseroles) and during school days, supper is.

      A couple of families use plates, but most I know use something like a flattened cereal bowl. You get what you want, and seconds, if available, but you never get more than you will eat. Everyone is expected to clean their plates (it’s kind of a noisy matter), even young children. Most children two years or under just sit in a lap and eat off a parent’s or older sibling’s plate.

      Overall, I feel like they eat hurriedly. Usually, the men have to get back out to work, I guess. That is, unless a special guest is present with lots of interesting stories. The Amish love to hear good stories! Also, they tend to wait until everyone is finished with the meal before they pass dessert (which is already sitting on the table, too). An exception to this is if someone goes for seconds, then a parent might suggest passing the dessert. I always try really hard to not have them waiting on me to finish.

      They also don’t offer napkins, which is hard for me to get used to. They typically have a “community” dampened rag, if needed, but most never seem to need it.

      I read once that there’s a lot of burping going on at the Amish table, but I have never noticed that, really. In general, the Amish don’t try so hard to disguise noises related to bodily functions, but they’re never rude about it… however, they don’t apologize for it either!

      I hope what I’ve told gives a pretty good picture of what it’s like.

      1. Eating

        That description is spot on, Lattice.

        1. Lattice

          Thanks, Marvin.

          The video of Schrock’s was so very interesting. The cabinets are extraordinarily beautiful and have such fantastic features, but the most interesting part to me was the equipment that is used in manufacturing the cabinets. I strained to listen to the words in hopes of understanding what was happening at times. I wondered about the conveyer with pieces of wood that were seemingly “kicked out” by various “kickers.” Were those rejects?.. And at what point were they deemed inadequate, I wondered. Right at that very instant, or when they went through the housing? Also, the very tedious piece of equipment which surprised me by becoming a shower! What was it washing?

          I cannot fathom the overhead costs of purchasing and maintaining such equipment. It’s no wonder that such beautiful cabinets are out of reach for most. The process was very interesting to see. I imagine the building smelled of lumber, glue and stain.

          1. Explanations

            The “kickers” are actually sorting the boards according to length. They aren’t rejects.

            Also the Grinder needs to “shower” oil as it’s grinding the knives on the molder heads to keep them from overheating during the process.

            1. Lattice

              Thank you for explaining.

        2. Amish furniture equipment

          Hi Marvin, thanks for checking in here, and for the great tour giving some of the behind the scenes of your operation. I think people see the finished product but don’t always know what it takes to get it there.

          On a similar note I recently came across an Amish furniture business advertising itself as the only Amish furniture maker in the country using 18th and 19th century hand methods (paraphrase). Some people probably assume all Amish furniture is made using the most basic tools, but the fact is there is a lot of modern or “Amishized” modern equipment in use in these Amish shops. Otherwise I’d think the price would go up by quite a bit.

    7. Beautiful furniture, but the languages is what fascinated me the most. I can understand much of it. And I had to chuckle, because this is very much how Hutterites talk…Hutterisch, generously sprinkled with English, for some more so than others.

      1. This was neat to hear Linda, thanks. Having in a sense 2 “native” languages, I like how the English words are more-or-less perfectly pronounced by Amish and Amish-blood speakers.

        In contrast if I speak Polish with a native speaker of Polish, the Pole might mix in appropriate English words, but inevitably with an accent. Pittsburgh may be closer to Peetsboorgh. It flows with their accent. The PA Dutch is more like the English popping up conspicuously.

    8. ann

      Makes me kind of homesick hearing all that!

    9. Kathie M

      Is it typical that women might work in a carpentry shop like that alongside the men in very many communities?


      1. Amish women doing manual jobs

        I think you’re referencing the young ladies at about 17 minutes in? I wouldn’t call it typical but you do see some young women working in manual manufacturing jobs in the larger, more change-oriented communities. These are probably unmarried young ladies.

        I have come across this in this community (Holmes County) as well as in Indiana and Lancaster County, PA. It’s a lot less likely for a married woman or especially a woman with young children to hold such a job. But moms may help out in the family business (when she has a free moment, of course). Young women are still more likely to take waitressing and cleaning jobs, but I think seeing Amish females in these manual labor jobs reflects the growth of small businesses and this type of work in Amish communities.

        You’ve also got a lot of women helping out on farm jobs. Amish women have their realms, but are not allergic to the same hard work the men do, just not all the time or for all their lives.