On several previous occasions we’ve looked at photos taken in Amish homes, including an Ohio home as well as a farmhouse in New York state. But we haven’t seen a lot of video footage from inside Amish homes.
However I recently came across the below video taken in what appears to be a Lancaster County Amish home.
In this two-and-a-half minute video, the Amishman who owns the home (a John Stoltzfus, going by the family birth record you see on the wall) discusses a few of the items in his place, including the family’s heating system, a rolltop desk, and the battery-powered lighting.
Unfortunately the shooter moves his camera around too quickly, creating a dizzying effect at spots. So you don’t have a lot of time to focus on anything for long. And, being an Amish home, the lighting is not very bright.
That said, this gives you a feel for what a typical Lancaster Amish home is like inside. You see the kitchen and living area and the types of decor and other items common for Amish homes.
And if you’re wondering how the footage was shot, the Amishman also mentions giving buggy rides, so this is probably someone involved in the tourist industry and comfortable with cameras and the like.
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I suppose Lancaster Co. Amish are more progressive. I saw a refrigerator and is that a sewing machine? I know you can run a refrigerator on gas with batteries how is the sewing machine powered, I didn’t catch that.
How the sewing machine work
I was hoping the camera would show the sewing machine! Since I couldn’t see if, what I expect is it’s a treadle machine — either an old one from the late 1800s or earliest 1900s or a modern treadle machine (yes, they make very nice modern treadles, check out Lehman’s for examples).
It could be one running on a battery or on compressed air, but when I’ve visited sewing and quilt shops, the women have all had treadles like mine.
Happy New Year!
This home looks a lot like homes in our area, but with a few noticeable differences — the green window shades look very different from our curtains or blinds, and the “corner cabinet” full of curios and china is something I see often in PA but hardly ever around here. In PA you see a lot of “family records” on the wall, not so often here, but we do see family birthday calendars more often here in Ohio. Those are often painted on glass with the birthdays for each month added in. Their fridges usually run on propane, but around here we have natural gas, and that powers most fridges & freezers, though some might have 12-volt batteries.
Sewing machines can be run with compressed air, a 12-volt batter & inverter, or is some areas, a generator. More conservative groups use a treadle-power sewing machine. I’m guessing the one in the video is a compressed air model, as that is quite common in Lancaster.
Hehe wow, the camera guy’s innocent inquiry about the roll top desk and John’s blunt explanation made me chuckle.
Maybe the camera guy thought that the Stoltzfuses use the desk for some alternate use other than as a desk, part of me wanted John to reply “yah, is where I keep my laptop when I’m not using it” (if he has one)
which would probably have blown camera guy’s mind.
Awesome find Erik!
Inside Amish homes
My mother-in-law lived until last November, in Gladwin, MI. There is a decent-sized Amish colony. I have visited with a couple of the families on an annual basis. I have been inside the home of Mary Stutzmann, as well as that of one of her daughters’. To say that they were very “plain” would be an understatement! All the furniture was placed against the walls, because, each home takes turns providing a spot for church services. There were wood-burning stoves, (two of them,) a sink with a water pump, a table and chairs against the wall, along with the rest of the furniture. The living room was being used to sew quilts, so it had a quilting rack set up, as well as a pedal sewing machine. There was also a mattress on the floor for the hot nights. All the windows were shut even though it had to have been 80 degrees inside. There was no air flow whatsoever. Mary said it kept the house cool that way. Obviously, it did for her! The bedrooms were upstairs, and we did not ask to visit them. Entering the house, there was a mudroom with a peg rack for the hats and jackets. Outside there was a barn to make baskets, another to house and sell them, and an outhouse. In general, that county’s Amish did Laundry on Mondays, and baking on Thursdays, in order to sell their cakes, breads, and cookies, on Fridays and Saturdays, either in front of their homes, or in front of a store, where there was parking. Over the years, I have bought items form several different families; some were very friendly, others, not so much. Mary was not only friendly, but interested, as were her children. She had eight of them, with five still at home. This past summer, we visited and bought a few items, and were told by the eldest daughter, she was 16, that she was going to be a teacher and would be starting in the fall. Of course, having been to school only until 8th grade, other than basic reading, writing and arithmetic, she would not be teaching much else. At least, not according to her. She was very excited to become a teacher, and it was obvious that with a real education, this girl could have achieved quite a lot. It was sad to see how limited her career as a teacher would be, from my perspective as a teacher. At least she was allowed to work outside the home. Another family I would visit with inside the home, had four unmarried daughters who baked and grew vegetables and flowers to make a living. The mother did as well. We would always chat about my home state and what they did for fun…visit with friends, travel to other towns or states to buy flower seeds, birthdays. A 3rd family I would buy jams and jellies from, the woman, upon being asked how it felt to have so many children at her young age, she was only 26, (she had married at 18,) and was pregnant with her 6th child, replied that it wasn’t too bad as long as she had only one child every year. Another family, I bought eggs from. A few things I came away with over the years of doing business with the Amish, are these, hygiene is not that important, they bathe once/week, the women are all very tired and look much older than their chronological ages, from being pregnant every year until they can no longer have children, as well as running a household and catering to the husband or other males in the home. They are not allowed phones, but they are allowed to have a phone installed in one of their fields, (it’s not in the house!) to use. Most Amish will tolerate being around the Englishers, only because they have to do business with them. Some, on the other hand, are very friendly and happy to do business with us. Another thing I noticed is the very poor treatment, bordering on major abuse, quite a few of the Amsih inflict upon their horses, chickens, dogs, etc. They do not see them as sentient beings, but, rather, beasts of burden, having God’s permission to treat them as they see fit. There is also abuse between spouses and between parents and children. The women and children rarely say anything, and when they do, all that is done is some counseling, but rarely, much more. I know that most Amish are very good people, trying to live a lifestyle that is very different from ours and are having some difficulty doing so. All my comments regarding the Amish, apply to the Amish from the Gladwin, MI. area.
Sounds like you met some Schwartzentrubers. So out of all those visits, did you find out what order they were? Did you ask about their beliefs and why they do what they do? Did you let them know there are organizations to help battered women, or alert the police of child abuse, spousal abuse, animal abuse?
I make no allusions that the Amish are perfect. Some Amish people are horrible, just like some Catholic people, some Lutheran people, some Muslim people, some Jewish people. All horrible people should be held accountable according to the Law.
Inside Amish homes
Judith-You are correct; Amish are human beings, therefore, subject to flaws as we all are. As for telling them about the resources available, we did not discuss them as none of the families I visited with appeared to be in need of them. Mary is twice widowed and came across as not minding it too much, anymore. In fact, she is being shunned by her order in Ohio, because her 2nd husband was a deaf-mute from MI.! None of the families I visited with complained about their lot in life, although I did infer from some comments, that they would prefer a few more modern conveniences, i.e. electricity, running water, etc. Who wants to use an outhouse in the middle of winter in the Midwest, or any other cold state? I thoroughly enjoy visiting with these families, but am put off by their hygiene when in close quarters. I understand not washing daily, when the process is such a hassle! I remember stopping to buy some pies from a group of Amish women and children, I was with my relatives, so we all got out to pick what we wanted. We smiled and said, “Hello!” We didn’t make a big fuss and weren’t intrusive, because after all these years, we know to be discreet and respectful of their space. The responses were stiff and unwelcoming. I found that odd since they were selling their baked goods and baskets. A couple of the children smiled openly at us and tried to speak with us, but were shushed by the adults and told to sit down. I wanted to leave without buying anything because I found their attitude downright rude. So did my relatives. But, we bought a few items because we saw all the children and thought they might need the money. They didn’t smile as we complimented them on their baskets, and how good their baked goods looked. We bought and paid for our items, said “Good bye!” and left. We received only one response! Those are the Amish who give other Amish a bad name. If you don’t want to be around the Englishers, then don’t sell your products to them! There is a country store run by the AMish, which we usually buy our cheeses from, and it’s the same thing there. I realize that they view most Englishers as rude gawkers, and many are, but, most of us are genuinely curious about them and very respectful. My mother-in-law recently moved from Gladwin, to be with her son. Before she left, she sold her entire bedroom set to one of the daughters of one of the families we regularly bought baked goods from, who had just married. Sadly, will no longer be traveling to the Gladwin area, since my mother-in-law has moved from there!
Janice, I am not doubting your post at all, but there are two points I’d like to add, if I may. The Swartzentrubers are divided into several smaller groups within the group as a whole and they do not allow their members to go from one group to another. I believe the MI widow may be shunned not because her husband is a deaf mute from MI but because by marrying him she left her group for a different one. Keep in mind the Swartzentrubers represent a small and (you could say) radical part of Amish society as a whole. I appreciate you pointing out your experiences are with one particular group or location and not all Amish as a whole.
The other thing is that the Swartzentrubers can appear really stern and grim in public, but we have some Swartzentruber relatives and friends and when they are around people they know, or maybe trust or feel relaxed with, they can be as happy and talkative as anyone else. I realize most people don’t get to see that side of them, but it’s there.
Inside Amish homes
I do not know if these families were Schwarzentrubers. I’m sure were. The Stutzmanns were very friendly and open to answering questions about their own lifestyle, but had told us several times that they did not represent other Amish, as did the Troyer family, the ones who baked and grew plants for a living. The 3rd family (We bought caned veggies and baskets from,)were also Troyers, but no relation to the 1st family. Which was surprising being as small the community was. The 4th family, I do not know the name of. She was the one who didn’t think it was bad to be pregnant every year. When we were looking to buy a house in MI., I was hoping to find one in that Amish community because I knew that once an Amish family knows you, they are very welcoming, and I liked the idea of buy fresh supplies, as well as hiring a good carpenter. It wasn’t to be in that area. Instead, we found a property near Mio, MI. another Amish community. We also had hoped to have the Amish build us some outbuildings and do some repairs on our house there, but we live about 20 miles from there, so picking them up every day to do the jobs would not be convenient, nor practical for us. We are hoping to build some connections after moving there. As far as Mary’s shunning regarding her choice of 2nd husband, that is what she told us. She said her family was afraid her husband would pass on the genes of deafness and muteness. She had met her husband in Ohio, and moved to MI. after their marriage.
Reading some of the letters regarding people’s homes and tidiness, they do not compare with the ones I’ve visited. The ones in Gladwin, while somewhat tidy, did not come across as clean. I do understand that not having running water and electricity can make it difficult to be clean. Especially in winter!
I was very happy to have all the families I did meet, regardless of their habits.
Janice, that’s sad about the deaf-mute gene… I have NEVER heard anything like THAT before. That goes against what our people would feel is proper. I had to think of some of the deaf or deaf-mute couples in our community that married either non-hearing impaired partners or other hearing-impaired partners. How sad someone would have a problem with that!
I am glad you realize that most Amish are not like what you describe. The ending part about the abuse is really sad and also how they use their animals. I wish i could help those girls and that they could know there are more Amish that live decent, Christian lives without such extremes. I guess I can pray for them.
For some reason I can't really explain...
For some reason, I’m sort of uncomfortable with this. I don’t know why. But I’m going to reason and logic the heck out of this to find out why – so feel free to skip over my comment, anyone.
I had to look away shortly after the footage caught the family’s bible. I got the impression the guests were strangers. Surely the Amish homeowner knew they were recording in their house. Perhaps in exchange for something else. I don’t know why I felt it was immodest in some weird way. Invading in some way. Sad in some way. I felt for the Amish family, talking about eating a piece of pizza.
Their house was immaculate, nice and cozy – your usual Amish home one has seen in pictures. The owner didn’t ask not to be photographed or recorded. The guests were polite enough, I guess. So why am I feeling creeped out about this?
Premise: it is creepy when strangers record you home.
Okay, so I’m going to put myself in the Amish’ perspective. A family of strangers (they seemed like strangers) comes in my own home and records my kitchen (not so immaculate), my fireplace (filled to the gill with old vinyl records, and cds, and knick knacks) my living room (not so different from anyone else’s except very colorful) the art on my walls (I collect art, a few photos of family) my hard wood floor (a few dustballs here and there) – how do I feel? To be honest, I feel apprehensive, untrusting, and well, creeped out? Why do they want to record this? For what purpose?
Aha! There it is, for what purpose.
For the same purpose I clicked on the video. Curiosity. Which in and of itself is not a bad thing.
But I stopped watching, why? I stopped watching when I “felt” it was wrong. There was a big red flag in my conscience that went straight up a tall flag pole. I had to look away in embarrassment, and the embarrassment wasn’t only for the Amish family being recorded. It was my own personal embarrassment. Why was I, a third party, who didn’t even record this, embarrassed?
When does curiosity turn into embarrassment and why?
This is getting long so I’m going to ponder this more.
So, why am I okay with this?
So, why am I okay watching this video about an Amish person:
…but I’m not okay watching the said video in this post?
Is it the smoke and mirrors of the filmmaker? I don’t think so. I honestly think it’s the content. It seems more respectful in some way. It seems the filmmaker was more sensitive to the wishes and beliefs of the Amish.
The curiosity is informed.
I think that’s it. It’s not blind curiosity. It’s educated on the subject. It’s not pure observation. There is a distance, even though we’re feet from the subject. Also I know that the Amish man okayed the film going online. I’m not sure that was the case in the video above in the post. Maybe it was. I don’t know.
But I do think my embarrassment arises from the question of being ignorant of politesse, etiquette, education and grace in any situation with any culture.
This is really offensive to me. I know several Amish families in WI and would never, ever take photos of them or the homes. Rude!
Janice, I’m thankful you specified which area you were talking about. What you are describing is very different from what we see in our area. (And I shower or bathe at LEAST once a day!) And Judith, I also appreciate the fact you are pointing out the reality that there are horrible Amish people, just like there are horrible _____________ people. (Fill in your blank — I have yet to hear of a group, church, nationality, culture made up of only “good” people.)
You made some interesting points about privacy and the Amish family in the video, Judith. I would not have wanted someone doing that in my home, but I don’t generally invite people into my home that I don’t know well enough to say I’d rather not have them film it. Does that make sense? Sounds awkward reading it — well, if I knew someone well enough to invite them into my home, chances are I’d know them well enough to know or trust they wouldn’t do it. But you know, there are Amish people who might even feel flattered enough to have a visitor curious enough to want a home tour. But I don’t know the family or why it was being toured or filmed. It would be interesting to know the circumstances.
You know what? People say the Amish live in the past – but I think this video made me realize something – the Amish live fully in the present. Very profoundly in the present. They don’t have photos of the past, or videos of family events like weddings, birthdays, – they rely on memory and history of their culture, yes. But there is no Amish Youtube channel. It seems that if I met an Amish person, set a spell, and when I left, that encounter is over. It’s not memorialized, recorded, photographed – it’s gone. The past and the future seem ephemeral, transient, fleeting in Amish culture. The present is hard and real, crisp and in focus for the Amish.
No, I don’t think the Amish live in the past.
They profoundly live in the present. And it took that video to wind its way in my brain to come to that conclusion. I love when that happens.
Questions for Mark
I’d like to ask your opinion on something Amish related that happened years, actually decades, ago. In the thread from last week called Holmes County in December I posted a (too lengthy) reply to the post Al in KY made about an experience that he had in an Amish business. In my post I told about an experience I had in Mercer County while on a business related trip and I decided to purchase some buggy harness from an Amish harness maker.
In an effort to make a long story short(er); I mentioned to the harness maker, named R. Byler, that I might want him to make some harness for me at a later date to fit a team of Percheron mares that I was looking to buy. So, in turn, he mentioned that his brother-in-law, a Mr. A. Raber was a local breeder of Percheron horses and gave us directions to his place. I was riding with a guy named Ray, who was a fellow employee of the company that I worked for. Ray’s wife was not Amish, but had been raised in a community where almost all of her families neighbors were Amish and Ray knew many of them personally. It was the same community where both Mr. Byler and Mr. Raber lived, so he made the perfect guide.
Anyway, when we arrived at the Raber farm we were directed to an out building where we found Mr. Raber busily working in a very nicely equipped meat processing room. He was processing a hog and he seemed very uncomfortable talking to us. Since multiple generations on both sides of my family had been involved in the meat packing business I was familiar with what he was doing and attempted to make some small talk about it with him. Basically I was trying to put him at ease, but the more I talked to him about the work he was doing the more uncomfortable he seemed to be. I suspected that he did not want to spend too much time yacking with us when he had work to do. So I told him that I had purchased some harness from his brother-in-law, who had told me how to find this place and that I would find a fellow Percheron fancier there. Suddenly his whole demeanor changed. He said: “Horses! Why didn’t you say so?” His face lit up with a big smile. He peeled off his apron, hung it on a peg by the door, grabbed his coat from a coat rack, slipped it on and was shooting out the door with a “Follow me” directive in about an elapsed 3 to 5 seconds.
He took us to both of his horse barns; took every horse out of its stall, one at a time for our inspection, including his herd sire and even showed us a rare sorrel Percheron foal; the only one I have ever seen in person. He showed us every piece of farm equipment that he had in his tool shed and explained how he used each. Keep in mind this was in mid-April, but the temps were no higher than about 33 or 34 degrees and it had been snowing a wet, heavy snow almost all morning. Regardless he was happily showing us around his barnyard. He was a changed man; from very reserved and shy to the most gregarious, outgoing guy you have ever met.
After we got back to his butcher shop we compared notes on horse magazines and other periodicals that we enjoyed and he asked me if I was familiar with The Small Farmers Journal. I was not, so we walked up to his house where he could fetch a copy of it so that could get their contact information. (BTW: I just renewed my subscription yesterday for another 3 years)
As we were standing in the enclosed porch, which they used as a mud room, he suddenly asked: “Have you boys ever been inside one of our people’s home?” Neither of us had, so he invited us in. Very Norman Rockwell looking in its appearance; highly polished wood floors, very clean and neat, a wood burning stove was heating the kitchen area, his wife sewing something while seated in a rocking chair, and two teenaged girls were busily preparing lunch. After we got back to Ray’s house we were recounting our mornings adventures to his wife, when she stopped us and said: “Wait! Do mean to say that he actually invited the two of you into their HOUSE?” When we confirmed this, she said; “That is amazing. He most have REALLY been comfortable with you guys. It is VERY rare for an outsider to be invited inside of a home in that community, unless they have known you for a very long time”. I tell you all of the above to ask this question, or actually these questions, recognizing that you are probably NOT familiar with the community In question; 1) How common would you think it would be in the “average” Amish community for an Amish man to be extremely reticent in inviting a guest that he just met that day into his home? i.e. Was Ray’s wife overstating the rarity of such a situation? and 2) if this really is all that rare, what do you think might be the reason that Mr. Raber set aside his caution and invited us to come inside of his home?
One last detail. As we were about to pull out the Raber property, Mr. Raber held up his hand in a “Stop” gesture and walked to Ray’s truck window. He said; “You know, I probably owe you boys an apology. When you got here I am afraid that I was not very friendly toward you and I am sorry for that. You see I thought that the two of you were inspectors from the State Agriculture Department and I was processing a hog for a neighbor. Problem is our neighbor is not one of our people, so I would need a permit to process his hog for him … but I have no permit!” There I was asking him if he preferred natural or synthetic sausage casings, what type of spice blend he liked for sausage, as well as how long and at what temperature he smoked it. Poor guy was probably sure he was about to be fined for not having a permit, while I was just trying to put him at ease.
When we relayed this to Ray’s wife, she said: “Well, look at how you are both dressed. I am pretty sure that he DID think that you were inspectors, under the circumstances I would have probably thought the same thing”. I had not noticed it before, but we were dressed nearly identical to each other; brown round toe cowboy boots, western style blue jeans, white long sleeve shirts, brown jackets and all of this was topped off by matching white baseball style caps with the logo from our company on the front. Yep, if I had been paying attention I would have noticed it before, but I wasn’t. It is a guy thing I guess!
I thought this was interesting to read, OldKat. As I was reading it, the idea that the butcher appeared uncomfortable was making me think he either thought you may be inspectors OR people not familiar with butchering and might get upset. Then as I read on, you said he thought you might be inspectors. Personally, I’d be uncomfortable if a stranger appeared at our home while we were butchering: you don’t know how some people are going to feel about what they are seeing. Some people are only used to seeing their meat in the grocery store and are not prepared for what it looks like before it gets slapped on the white plastic tray.
Your questions: 1) How common would you think it would be in the “average” Amish community for an Amish man to be extremely reticent in inviting a guest that he just met that day into his home? i.e. Was Ray’s wife overstating the rarity of such a situation?
She has a point, but it might not be quite as rare as it sounds. I could ask how common is it for an average non-Amish person to invite a guest they’d only met into their home? Some warm, friendly, trusting people will, some more cautious, shy people won’t. Our non-Amish neighbors & friends are in and out of our house often, but a stranger would be different.
I read somewhere — on here? — that someone wondered if the Amish feel more private about our homes because our homes are also where church, weddings, and funerals are held. I’m not sure if I agree, but I do think Amish people tend to see “home” as the center of our lives and there is not a sense of attachment to “other physical locations” like a church-building, lodge, club-house, hall, or meeting place, so maybe there’s a little something to it.
and 2) if this really is all that rare, what do you think might be the reason that Mr. Raber set aside his caution and invited us to come inside of his home?
Maybe he felt this was someone who shared his values and interests and someone he felt comfortable with? Maybe his uneasy feeling of having been stand-offish made him feel he wanted to show you he was sorry and was accepting you? Just my thoughts…
I appreciate your feedback. I was sort of thinking along the lines of what you answered, but have never had an opportunity to bounce my ideas off of a person that is actually Amish. So I thought I’d ask you take a shot at this.
Again, thanks for taking the time to read my novella and also for replying to it!
BTW: When I was typing the story up I was wondering if you were going to read it and conclude that he thought we were inspectors! Pretty cool that you actually did.
I know who this is and why it's been videotaped
The Amish gentleman is, indeed, John S.
He is a super nice and more extrovert and approachable man.
He is a retired farmer on the B-i-H/Ronks line. His oldest son now runs the farm and John keeps himself busy by being affiliated with one of the local tourist buggy ride operations. His farm (the one on this video) is on the “farm tour” package so he openly brings tourists to his farm.
A tour of his house (which is a “dawdi haus” not attached to the main farmhouse) is NOT a part of the farm tour package.
I do note that you can see name tags on the tourists clothing so I am thinking this was a private tour that made prior arrangements to see the interior of his house.
He and his family are very accustomed to strangers being on their property with all kinds of video equipment.
My family are in Lancaster County every four months and stay right near his farm. We have made a good acquaintance with him and some of his kids.
Just for the sake of further clarity:
I do not believe for one moment that should some tourist ask any Amish person affiliated with tourist venues for entry to their personal spaces that any Amish person (including John in this video) would grant entry.
I firmly believe the incident in this video was previously arranged and removed from being near a young Amish family on the property.
if you have had access to any Amish property on a tour in Lancaster county that family has only receivied a small stipend from the tour company – they are NOT making a living off of tourists.
It’s Kiki. I just received the book you suggested on Learning to Drive Safely with Horse and Buggy. I finished it and it was a great little book!
I was wondering, how far could a mule go in a single day? Say we live about 35.5mi. away from our place of business and want to use the mule as a taxi around the town. Could the animal handle the 70mi to and from PLUS going around town? I’d doubt it.
Hi there, Kiki. I’m glad you found the book helpful. There is no substitute for hands-on experience, but at least the book gives you some background.
The distance you are describing, 70 mi. in a day plus going around town, is too far. You might be able to do it once or twice on level ground and in pleasant weather, but I really would not recommend it. You’d need a mule in extremely good shape and would still have to push it rather hard, not to mention the time it would take to bounce back.
We have made a few trips around 20 miles one way and back the same day, but there are a lot of variables. When we’ve done that, the weather has been mild and the route we take on that trip (which we do fairly regularly) avoids as many big hills as possible. We are much more apt to make that drive one day and return home the next. If we do do it in one day, we tend to start out very early and take it easy, then travel home in the evening. It’s also important to start out slowly & easily on a long drive like that and end it the same way, allowing the horse plenty of time to cool down.
I kinda knew you’d say that. I wouldn’t want to harm the animal at all, so either we’d trailer it to the town or just provide the “Mule Taxi” service in a town closer to home (we have property we’re developing up in the Tablelands of southern Oregon, near Sprague River, and we’re thinking of buying a commercial property in another town about 35.5m away in Merrill, Oregon).
On a different note, do any Amish families use solar power? I noticed in the home tour video, what looked like kerosene light fixtures? Are any community members thinking of using PV panels and what would be the ideological reasons NOT to? Even using a small panel to power the batteries in a buggy is a great idea, and are younger members of the communities trying out the idea?
Mahalo and have a blessed day!
Okay… trying this for the third time… Hello Kiki. Solar panel use varies community to community and also group to group AND personal preference. We use it at our home, but we have friends and neighbors who choose not to use solar panels as well as some who have more advanced systems than we use at our home. Most of the larger Amish communities have gotten solar panels in one form or another and the majority of moderate to progressive Amish groups allow solar panel use.
At our home it’s used mostly for recharging 12-volt batteries. Those battery banks run different things — sewing machine & serger, my typewriter-WP & photo-copier, battery lamps (we have natural gas lights, but prefer battery lights for warm weather as they don’t throw as much heat), a fencer for electric fence in the pasture, a light in our phone shack, etc.
I watched the video again (which is maybe how I lost my reply?) and I did not see any kerosene lamps though I do see gas-lamp reflectors on the kitchen ceiling that is made to hang a Leacock lamp. The floor-lamp shown looks to me to be a 12-volt battery lamp. Those have gotten kind of popular with even some local non-Amish because they can be moved anywhere and there is no cord. Most are built to house the battery in the bottom and the top serves as a side-table and there are often magazine racks or shelves on the side. We remove our battery and put it on a charger, but many are built with a socket in the side where a charging cord can be plugged in to recharge the battery and it is then not necessary to remove the heavy battery. (And Mrs. Mark would say I could fix ours to recharge like that if I would just get it done. We do have a socket on the side of ours, but I’ll need to make some changes on our system before I can recharge the lamp like that.)
Thanks for taking the time in your busy day to answer my goofy questions, lol!
We’re gonna be off-grid in Oregon and will be on solar and propane. Wanna do solar fridge and freezer instead of the propane,(especially after reading about that terrible fire), an incinerating toilet which runs on propane and battery, and solar (maybe) water heater. We’ll see how God accomplishes all that with our modest income.
I believe that cultures such as yours that rely on old-fashioned skills combined with some newer technology are the ones that survive the longest with little change, comparatively speaking. As an anthropologist who specializes in bioarchaeology and cultural anthropology, it fascinates me that, in the midst of all this super technology/materialism we’re bombarded with, the Amish communities are quite satisfied with as little of that as possible and maintain the skills they’ve possessed for so many generations. Cool!
You’re welcome, Kiki. You might want to check out Lehman’s Hardware. They have a website. They have thousands of helpful products for living off the grid.
You can often find the same item or one similar at local Amish stores at a cheaper price, but for ordering online or by mail, Lehmans is the best choice.
I LOVE LEHMAN’s!! They’re on the “My Favorites” for my computer and I’ve ordered from them numerous times (the wringer for my off-grid washing machine, etc.). Another great website and YouTube channel is Jas. Townsend and Son; they do 18th century cooking and re-enacting so they make everything from scratch and cook on an elevated fireplace hearth. It’s the coolest thing!
One day I hope to visit Lehman’s but they’d probably need security to get me to leave, lol!
Thanks Mark and God bless!
New York Amish Home
Sorry, I wasn’t quite sure how to contact whomever might be in charge of passing this information on, but there is a listing on Zillion for an Amish home in my hometown with interior pictures. The Amish in this area are Swarzentruber.