Three Ways Amish LIGHT Their Homes

In the video below, I discuss three of the most common ways in which Amish light their homes. In short, they are:

1. Propane or natural gas lighting – here you see an example in the form of a propane-powered lamp. The propane tank is built into the furniture unit at bottom, and these typically are wheeled so they can easily be moved around a room. There are various other types of lamps using propane and in some communities, natural gas.

2. Kerosene & oil lamps – More conservative Amish groups use fuels like kerosene, often in teardrop style lamps like those pictured below. Kerosene was being used in households already in the mid-1800s, predating household use of propane (early 1900s), so in some sense it is a more “old-fashioned” fuel. They also use brighter pressurized lamps burning kerosene and other fuels such as naphtha. These can be hung from hooks in the ceiling, and moved from room to room where light is needed.

3. Battery-powered lights – Amish use all manner of battery-powered lights, and even the plainest Amish permit some form of battery lighting. Common are the heavy-duty work lights (Dewalt is a common brand) which are recharged using a diesel generator or via solar cells. Also popular are headlamps such as the one pictured below, which can be worn when needing both hands free.

At the end of the video, I also explain two reasons why you might find light switches on the walls of Amish homes. You can find the written version of this video here (in that, I include two additional ways Amish light their homes which you might consider as “less common”). Runtime: 3:27.

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    1. Al in Ky

      I’ve driven through parts of the Elkhart/LaGrange, Ind., Amish settlement many times in the evening when it’s dark outdoors. I’ve been amazed at how brightly lit up the interiors of the homes seem to be with their various forms of lighting — propane, natural gas, batteries. I can sure see the difference when I drive through some very conservative Amish settlements in southern Indiana where the residents use only kerosene lanterns and oil lamps. I only see a very dim glimmer coming through the windows in those homes.

    2. Kal

      A few additions

      In many moderately conservative communities, lights like Coleman or Leacock lamps are used. These need to refilled, pumped full of pressure using a hand pump or compressor, pre-heated then ignited.

      I don’t know if they are still in use or not but at one time Aladdin lamps were used in some communities. Those have a mantle but don’t require pressure and they burn kerosene.

      Some homes in more progressive communities now have electric ceiling lights but they are connected to an inverter & battery pack.

      Just my two-cents.

      1. Thanks, nice additions! Also the low light bedside lamps

    3. great

      This topic is very new, thank you for sharing. I have learned more about it.