Earlier this week we heard from a reader who visited the Unity, Maine Amish community. We learned about the Kenneth and Katie Copp family, who run a pair of businesses, the Living Grains Bakery and Locust Grove Woodworks.
In the video below Kenneth gives a brief tour of the workings of his horse-powered mill which produces the flour used in Living Grains. You’ve also got a view of the woodworking shop. Here’s a description of the setup from a story on the Copps (removed):
The woodshop obtains its power through a system Kenneth calls a “horse-power unit.” The unit consists of a gear that once turned the large drum on a cement truck and is now fashioned to a long shaft rigged up to a set of pulleys (one large and one small). Kenneth’s draft horses are hitched to the drum and, on voice command, begin to walk in a slow, steady circle.
The two horses walk at an average rate of three revolutions per minute (rpm). The horse-power unit transfers the horses’ actual rpm at a ratio of 100 to 1, allowing the shaft to operate at 300 rpm. “The pulley system increases the speed further, much like a bicycle,” said Kenneth, noting the final transfer of rpm from his horses to the woodshop at 7,000 rpm.
Using the horse-power unit and a system of continuously running belts, Kenneth can operate a number of standard woodworking power tools. His shop contains, among other tools, a modern band saw and planer, and even a vacuum dust collection system. The horse-power unit when powered down, again through a pulley system, can also drive their grain grinder.
Using horses to generate power in this way is not typical for most Amish, but Unity is not a typical Amish community. You may also recall the mule-powered washing machine we recently saw used by a Mennonite group in Missouri.