An Amish “Computer”?

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‘Made specifically for the plain people by the plain people’.

The Classic boasts ‘unequaled safety’.  It is ‘Not just a locked computer’, promising ‘No modem, no phone port or Internet connection, no outside programs, no sound, no photographs, no games or gimmicks’.

The ad is found on page 3 of this year’s Lancaster County Business Directory, a collection of advertisements of hundreds of (mostly Amish and Mennonite) area businesses.

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Some Amish church districts allow, or at least tolerate, laptops and desktops.

In others, the line gets drawn at the word processor.

In this regard, the computer is now a bit like the cellphone has become in some communities.

As with the cell, it has gotten to the point where the computer is openly used in some districts–while in others owning one will get you into trouble.

At the same time, it’s probably not nearly as common as the cell, as it’s a lot harder to hide a Dell than it is a Nokia.

Also (somewhat) like the cellphone, the computer has even affected the way some Amish communicate–there are a few Amish that use email, as I’ve found as I continue to add to my (admittedly still meager) ‘Amish email rolodex’.

Update April 2018:

For anyone interested, here’s a recent ad from the 2017 Lancaster County Business Directory, if you’d like to contact a business selling the Classic Word Processor:

Classic Sales & Service
445 Hahnstown Rd.
Ephrata, PA 17522
(717) 733-8948

No information available on price etc., but give them a ring.

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    9 Comments

    1. Well, I suppose if they do sometimes use e mail that would mean computers too.

    2. daniel

      Do you have an address for the manufacturer? It sounds interesting for those of us who become easily distracted by the internet when we are supposed to be writing our university term-papers.

      1. Misty McCoy
      2. Amish Computer

        You could do it the really old fashioned way: (1) start with a hand-written draft from your notes, and (2) do final draft on a typewriter. That’ll keep you focused. 🙂

    3. Pingback: Lancaster ho! | Amish America
    4. Richard

      It looks much more like a customised PC than what I understand by a dedicated word processor- it has spreadsheet and drawing/graphics functions and doesn’t seem to have a built-in printer. I’m wondering what OS and software it uses if so- I do recall somewhere reading it’s Windows based but may not be. I’d imagine what would be good for this machine a customised Linux distro with any networking functionality kept to a minimum but with all available printer drivers, and maybe some simple programs like Abiword and Gnumeric and other essential packages or possibly OpenOffice if needs be (“the spreadsheet it “Excel compatible” so it probably isn’t MS).

      To be fair there are dedicated word processors that I think still exist, which can do this job, and a repurposed vintage PC could probably do the same job and not be very good with internet access.

      1. Burkhold

        For those of you wondering, it is a linux based software. Accounting and CAD programs can also be installed upon request.

    5. shloime

      where can I get these computers is it in the market?

      1. Classic Word Processor Sales Contact Info

        Shloime, I just checked a recent Lancaster County Business Directory (2017). Here’s the info for a company that sells the Classic:

        Classic Sales & Service
        445 Hahnstown Rd.
        Ephrata, PA 17522
        (717) 733-8948