Who Makes Amish Scooters?

Lancaster Girls on Scooters

I think we can include the classic Amish kick scooter as one of those icons of the Amish, along with the horse-and-buggy, hand-stitched quilt, straw hat, and so on.

Even though many Amish don’t really use scooters (e.g. Amish in a lot of Midwestern communities), they are closely connected with the Amish in Lancaster County, where they’re visible everywhere.

And with Lancaster Amish the most visible of all Amish, that means the scooter is an “Amish thing”.

Scooters Amish Ohio
Scooters in Geauga County, Ohio

Amish in Lancaster County generally don’t use bicycles, though you will see Old Order Mennonites riding them.

Amish Scooter Makers

Jack Brubaker, aka “The Scribbler”, recently addressed a reader question on the large-wheeled scooters popular among Amish.

Lancaster Amish Kick Scooters

He says there are at least two sources making them in Lancaster County.

I visited one Amish scooter business in 2007, though I don’t know if the owner, also a dairy farmer, still builds them.

The best-known Amish scooter maker is Groffdale Machine Shop:

“People started making scooters out of old junk bikes,” says an Amish source in Gordonville. “Then Groffdale Machine decided to make them from new materials.”

Today, Groffdale Machine Shop in Leola is the largest scooter manufacturer. Alongside its other welding projects, Groffdale makes over a thousand scooters a year “from scratch,” according to the company’s owner.

Pink Amish Scooters

The company began making the scooters in the mid-1970s, modifying old bicycles.

If you want an Amish-made scooter, you have choices to make:

Scooters come in nine colors. Wheels come in four sizes: 12, 16, 20 and 24 inches in diameter. A 24-inch wheel is relatively small for a bicycle. Many bike wheels are 26 inches in diameter.

The scooter shop I visited had pink frames, in addition to classic colors like red and blue, though the owner said the pink ones hadn’t really taken off.

Why no bikes?

Why, when Lancaster Amish are otherwise quite progressive, as Amish go, on technology, do they stick with the scooter?

A Lancaster Amish friend theorizes that scooters have remained while many other technologies have entered the community because there simply isn’t a good economic rationale to push the scooter aside for the bicycle.

Sometimes Amish churches hold fast on certain, often symbolic, aspects of their culture, even though moving on to something else wouldn’t really threaten the church or community.

Erik Riding Scooter

I’d guess Groffdale Machine, for one, doesn’t have a problem with local bishops holding the line on the scooter.

Ever taken one of these scooters for a spin?

Get an Amish-made Scooter

If you’d like to buy an Amish-made scooter, you can order one made by Groffdale Machine, via Amazon.

Here is the link to the 16″ wheel child’s scooter, and the 24″ wheel adult version.

These are advertised as the same type that Amish use in Lancaster County.

Each comes in a variety of colors, including navy blue, maroon, black, and dark green.

Amish-made scooter by Groffdale Machine Shop

Photo credits: Lancaster scooters 1 & 2: Ed C.; Geauga scooters: ShipshewanaIndiana

Get the Amish in your inbox

Join 15,000 email subscribers. No spam. 100% free

    Similar Posts

    Leave a Reply to Claudia Myers Cancel reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    18 Comments

    1. Margaret

      I want one – in pink!

      And, you look great on the one you’re riding, Erik! 🙂

      1. You can tell I’m having fun 🙂 This was one of the ones with the bicycle-style metal spoke wheels.

    2. Robin Miller

      Who Makes Amish Scooters?

      I love seeing the Amish children on their scooters, headed to and from school. I can only imagine the “leg power” involved! I’ve toyed with the idea of purchasing one. It would certainly turn a few heads in my Virginia neighborhood where everyone either rides a bike, jogs or walks …

    3. Pedals

      I never understood a reason for prohibiting pedals on bicycles, but the more I think about it, they would make the vehicle capable of much longer trips taking children and adults farther from home, and away from time with the family. With a scooter, you always think about the work getting back up the hill you just rode down, keeping you closer to home.
      I have a neighbor with one that has a dog pull it, and with the very low center of gravity, works well.
      Years ago my grandson wanted one, and I gave him a 50 dollar bill before heading to a local flea market in hopes of finding one. I found a good one that a vendor was given on his way there by a neighbor, and was getting rid of his neighbors unwanted items cheap. I got it for $1.00 !! I gave it to my grandson, told him “here you go, I told you I would find you one! Now give me the fifty dollars for it”. He did, and always took good care of it thinking it was so expensive. So I gained $49 dollars on that deal! He’s 18 now. I hope when he gets a car, he doesn’t want $50 for it. I’d like to have one and they aren’t cheap.

      1. Amish reasoning against bicycles

        Paul that is a good point and I bet that the distance you can travel would also factor into reasoning against bicycles. Some Holmes County Amish brothers I know, fairly young, have done at least one or two cross, or most of the way across-country bike trips. I don’t see that happening on a scooter 🙂

        I have also seen scooters in Swiss Amish churches.

    4. City Slicker

      Scooters

      We’ve noticed over the past couple years that more of the scooters used (primarily) by Amish children in Lancaster are painted in bright fluorescent pinks, reds, and greens; undoubtedly for the increased visibility and safety such colors afford.
      We’ve also seen that Amish of all ages are wearing safety vests with reflective strips when walking or riding scooters along some of the more heavily traveled roads.

    5. Models from Groffdale and others;

      http://www.letskickscoot.com/home/articles/Amish_scooter_models.cfm

    6. Mike

      Groffdale Machine Shop

      Not only do my uncles and cousins at Groffdale Machine Shop make scooters, they also make excellent quality croquet sets. I bought a set at an Amish benefit auction this summer.

      http://amishtoybox.com/products/deluxe-amish-crafted-wooden-pro-croquet-game-set?variant=781900115

    7. Bike to Scooter

      We had an old pedal bike, full size and gave it to an Amish family in Lancaster, probably about 15 years ago. Didn’t realize they couldn’t use it as a bike. Surprised us with turning it into a scooter and giving it back to us. My husband looked kinda silly on this converted bike, so we gave it to a local Amish family in Big Valley. Now we see lots on these converted scooters, mainly the older kids and adults use them. Smaller scooters for the little ones. As we often use the term “buggy” Amish, we also have joked that there are “scooter” Amish!

      1. Interesting Claudia, do you know which Amish groups in the valley use scooters? I wonder if any of the Nebraska groups have them. I haven’t ever thought to look when I’ve been there.

        1. Mark - Holmes Co.

          We have friends & family in Big Valley and my understanding is the Nebraska Amish do not allow scooters but the black & yellow toppers do. I’ve never seen a Nebraska on one, but that might change, as I know some Nebraska Amish now have phones (landline and/or cell) and at least one group has now allowed battery lights on their buggies, so maybe the scooter will find its way in, too.

    8. Emily

      Another source

      After we adopted our daughter from foster care in 2010 (she was 6), we quickly figured out that regular bikes, for some reason, were a huge trigger for her emotionally. We wanted her to have the “bike” experience, so when I saw an Amish scooter while visiting the LaGrange/Shipshe settlement, we went on the hunt for someone who would be able to ship to us.

      We ended up using http://www.amishscooters.com/ owned/run by Hoffman House (clearly an English company with a website, etc.). This was a great company with which to work and the scooter was beautifully made. Our daughter is now rounding off her 3rd year on her scooter and it proved the perfect substitute for the bike. Also, she loves things Amish (like her parents) and will frequently dress in one of her Amish dresses and ride around the yard on it.

    9. Oldkat

      I have one

      I got a scooter from Groffdale Machine for Christmas last year. It is very well made and is Hunter green with 24″ wheels.

      It is also a blast to ride, because where I live the terrain is gently rolling. I love coasting downhill, the uphill side not so much!

      DOK

      1. Agreed. They need to tweak the uphill drive technology a bit 🙂

    10. Linda

      Walking or riding scooters

      It looks to me like the two children are walking alongside their scooters instead of riding them.

    11. Best Deal

      Don’t buy from the shops right around Intercourse unless you absolutely must. That’s like buying stuff on the boardwalk… super high, tourist-trap prices. We live in the local area. If you want a good deal, try Honeybrook Hardware in Honeybrook. 24″ Groffdale scooters are $204 there. Online, I am seeing them advertised for $350… and $695!!! We got all ours at Honeybrook.

      Peace and blessings.

    12. Better Yet

      You can buy direct from Groffdale Machine:

      https://www.google.com/search?q=groffdale+machine&rlz=1C5CHFA_enIN698IN699&oq=groffdale+machine&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i59.4663j0j2&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8