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Little Known Facts and History of the Amish

History of the Amish in the United States

The Amish have large populations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Wisconsin.  Our builder is from the Viroqua, WI area and his woodworking shop sits on a couple acres tucked high on the bluffs above the Mississippi River valley.  It's beautiful area of the country with rolling hills, deep valleys called coulees, and a population of some of the nicest people you will ever come across.  The "English", what the Amish call non-Amish people, are mostly farmers and live side by side with the Amish.  They help the Amish with simple items such as letting them borrow the phone or giving them a lift to town to get supplies. The Amish will build things for them in return, whether it's on a barter system or a fully commissioned item.  It's a place where society is in harmony and the influence of the outside world seems to have little circumstance on the day-to-day life.  The solitude and slow pace of life is such a nice change from chaos of the world we live in.  We try to find time to take a country drives even if we don't have pressing needs for Acoustic Remedy because it's good for the soul.

History of the Amish in Wisconsin

The Amish have large populations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Wisconsin.  Our builder is from the Viroqua, WI area and his woodworking shop sits on a couple acres tucked high on the bluffs above the Mississippi River valley.  It's beautiful area of the country with rolling hills, deep valleys called coulees, and a population of some of the nicest people you will ever come across.  The "English", what the Amish call non-Amish people, are mostly farmers and live side by side with the Amish.  They help the Amish with simple items such as letting them borrow the phone or giving them a lift to town to get supplies. The Amish will build things for them in return, whether it's on a barter system or a fully commissioned item.  It's a place where society is in harmony and the influence of the outside world seems to have little circumstance on the day-to-day life.  The solitude and slow pace of life is such a nice change from chaos of the world we live in.  We try to find time to take a country drives even if we don't have pressing needs for Acoustic Remedy because it's good for the soul.

The History of Amish Furniture

Amish furniture has its roots in two different styles – original pieces dating from the 18th and 19th centuries have fetched bids in the hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction.

You can see examples of the styles from that era in folk art collections in museums across the country, but by the beginning of the 20th century, a great deal of Amish furniture was made in the Shaker and Mission styles.

These simple but elegant designs lent themselves readily to the skill sets of the craftsmen who learned and passed down their skills in small Amish communities across Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The design meshed with those skills and produced timeless and beautiful furniture.

During much of that same period from the late 1800s through the 1920s, the arts and crafts movement developed. The movement was a direct reaction to the poor design quality and lower aesthetic value of mass-produced items offered by early factories. The movement craved creative designs and quality products, and it was only a matter of time before it would embrace Amish furniture’s handcrafted quality and beauty.

By the 1920s the arts and crafts movement had made Amish furniture an incredibly popular choice for furniture buyers throughout the country. The combination of simple, beautiful designs and excellent craftsmanship made Amish furniture popular well past the end of the arts and crafts period and through the trends that followed – and it’s still prevalent today.

Do Amish Craftsmen Use Power Tools?

Everyone can conjure the image of an Amish family riding a horse-drawn buggy or of an Amish farmer tilling the fields with a horse-drawn plow. It’s relatively common knowledge that they don’t use electricity, as their religious beliefs lead them to keep their customs separated from much of modern society. And staying off the electric grid helps them do just that.

However, when food safety laws started dictating that they had to refrigerate the milk they were selling from their small dairy operations, they began using refrigerators powered by gas or diesel compressors. This led to harnessing that same power to run some small appliances in the home as well as some of the tools used in furniture making.

Using power woodworking tools has helped Amish craftsmen maintain their high standards of precision and quality, and it saves them valuable time. They use pneumatic and hydraulic tools powered by gas or diesel compressors. Some may use a generator to turn a series of pulleys with various instruments connected to the pulley system throughout the workshop.

Depending on the shop, different Amish craftsmen use different blends of manual and power tool. A rip cut — a cut in the same direction as the grain — may require a power tool, while a hand saw may suffice for a cut across the grain. A hand auger drill may work for a small job, but a power drill may make sense for putting a hole in a larger piece of wood.