:> I was in an Amish home and it was explained that they won't use:> electricity from the power company but they had refrigerators and:> freezers supplied by gasoline generators.
If the point of avoiding grid electricity is to not share a system
used by English (outsiders), how do they justify making use of
a gas distribution system used by English? Or, for that matter, roads
made and used by them? is there any internal logic here?
: http://www.uwec.edu/geography/Ivogeler/w188/utopian/amish.htm has links
: near the top to some fascinating charts about Amish use of technology.
Fascinating, and hard to fathom.
-- Andy Barss
If you google "Amish electricity" you'll find a lot of weirdness and a
few sites that actually address this seriously. It seems to be one of
those deals where they decided that the tradeoff between utility and
effect on the community was unfavorable.
It doesn't seem to be a matter of objecting to "sharing a system used by
the English", it seems to be more a matter of not wanting to be at the
mercy of the power company and of concern over sociological side
With regard to the roads, they pay taxes too--there's no downside to the
roads other than the risk of getting rearended (at least none that I
know of--is walking on pavement harmful to horses?), they've already
paid their share of the construction and upkeep costs, and building
their own system of parallel roads would, I'm sure, be viewed as
prideful, so I don't see why they would want to avoid using the public
When considering the Amish, first make up your mind that they are _not_
crazies. They have reasons for what they do that make sense within
their value system, but their value system is not that of mainstream
society, and one of their priorities seems to be keeping it that way.
Seems to show that there are some universals--note what technology 95
percent of Amish have adopted--mechanically powered washing machines.
And one wonders how many elders' wives' headaches suddenly vanished when
_that_ decision was made.
Oh, I get it, the power company uses technology to produce electricity and
that's bad, but the gas was made by dinosaurs, so that's ok. Wait, made
*from* dinosaurs. Hmmm. What if the power company's electricity is
produced from a dam? Then it's not different because both groups use
running water to power things. Is that OK? I'm confused. Also, what if
the topography of the area doesn't even allow for water to run down hill
thereby eliminating that power source?
I think I have it. To run the refrigerators and such off of electricity
generated by their own water power in a topographically challenged area,
they use a pump to get the water from the lower holding pond to the upper
holding pond so it can continue to run over the wheel (that's recycling,
folks) powered by a generator which is run off of squeezins from organically
grown corn from the still out back.
Before anyone gets in a tizzy, it *is* meant to be humorous.
I don't think that the Amish think in terms of "technology bad".
You're confusing them with liberals and econuts.
I think it's more a matter of "what happens in our community if we adopt
this technology" and instead of opining based in little information they
look at "well, the 'English' have been using it now for over a hundred
years and here is what has happened with them--we have all these
benefits on this side and all these costs (not just financial or
environmental) on this side--are the benefits worth the costs?" For a
generator-driven Unisaw apparently it works out that they are, for
general connection to the electrical grid, apparently it works out that
It's different because the source of power seems to be irrelevant to
them--what is important is that on-grid electrical power brings in all
sorts of what they see as liabilities that don't have anything at all
to do with electricity pe se or the means by which it is generated but
rather have to do with the kinds of interactions with outside society
that are required in order to have it installed and which will be made
much easier once it is in place. For example, by going on grid they
then become bound by the electrical code, which while it doesn't control
how they use it exactly, does require that it be implemented in a way
that constitutes temptation to use it in ways that they see as harmful
to the community. And by having circuits all over the house now it
becomes _easy_ to have a radio or television or cell phone where all of
those were more difficult when there was one generator in the workshop
and no permanent wiring.
Actually, most of their refrigerators and the like are gas-fired, not
electric. Having electricity in the house at all would be very
liberal--some do but it's not mainstream.
Which it would be if their concerns about technology were based in the
issues that you address.
We got wood from a place called Amish Hardwoods around Burton, Ohio.
The land of snow, maple syrup and Amish buggies. Yes they looked Amish
to me. They had some of the coolest power tools I ever saw at my young
age of 20. Huge circular saws, power debarkers, kilns. It might be
more a question of how strict they are but I guess those guys strayed.
I read that the community leaders can decide on thngs like modern
cooling systems for their milk so they can sell for higher prices.
This article suggest that they need to feed themselves and land is
expensive so they might turn to jobs off the farm.
I read somewhere that the other benefit of metal pipe besides being
less prone to blow up it that is helps condensate the compressed air.
I doubt that it is really that effective as I recall plenty of spray
in a shop I worked in that had metal air plumbing.
That's not necessarily the case. The Amish don't seem to have any real
trouble with using steam or internal combustion engines to power
stationary or portable machinery, it's just self-propelled vehicles that
they seem to have trouble with.
People confuse the Amish with luddites--they aren't anti-technology but
they look really hard at how any given use of it will affect their
community and their values before they allow its general adoption.
> Unless this place was by a nicely moving creek and had either a
> or a pack of apprentices taking turns on the bicycle powering the
> compressor, you wern't in an Amish shop.
The Amish are allowed to use internal combustions for stationary power.
My dad used to sell oil and grease to them.
Among other things, they power thrashing machines using a flat belt
between the engine and the thrashing machine.
Not necessarily true. It depends upon where they are and what their
bishop will allow. I've seen articles where they use engines to power
milkers saying that's OK as long as the engine is not making a vehicle
move. I've also seen an 80's vintage White tractor for sale on the Old
Tractors web page indicating it came from an Amish farm. It had steel
wheels -- apparently rubber was the forbidden item -- I guess insulation
for the cables and wires was OK.
If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough
They seem to have some sort of bizzarre philosphy that is made up on
I was in one of those Amish towns a while ago, and was bemused to see
one of their horse-drawn buggies pull up at the gas station and fill
up several 2-3 gal gas cans. I asked a lady in the Amish shop why
that was, and the reply was that it's for generators, the use of
generators is permitted as the power is "under their control" ie it
does not come from the grid where some other (non believer?) contorls
I pointed out that the generators were probably made in Japan or China
and presumably not under their control either and questioned how that
could fit. The reply was that Amish philosphy/law was arrived at by a
wise old council of men.
It's like most religions, there's nothing rational about it.
Whereas secular communities are completely rational, right? Why is it that
people feel qualified to critique the Amish's decisions on how they choose
to live? I promise you they don't stay awake nights wondering if you accept
The biggest industrial users of pipe are oil refineries, petrochemical
and chemical plants.The specifications for the piping they use is
governed by various technical Societies (API etc). They will not
permits PVC in compressed air sevice for the reasons mentioned here by
One piece of equipment the big guys can afford is an air drier which
uses dessicant beds to dry the air. If someone made a low priced unit
woodwookers could use it for sprayi guns and pneumatic tools.
I have seen cabinet shops which fabricated a labyrinth of pipe down
stream of their compessor to allow the moist compessed air some heat
transfer exposure to the ambient air thereby cooling it to below the
dew point. Seems an inexpensive way to improve the quality of air in
small woodworking shops.
> I have seen cabinet shops which fabricated a labyrinth of pipe down
> stream of their compessor to allow the moist compessed air some heat
> transfer exposure to the ambient air thereby cooling it to below the
> dew point. Seems an inexpensive way to improve the quality of air in
> small woodworking shops.
Have posted a description of a shop air distribution system using 2"
pipe several times in the past.
Costs a few $ and takes a little time to install; however the rewards
are significant and include:
1) Cooler and drier air.
2) Increased storage capacity which allows longer off cycles for the
compressor which also helps produce drier air.
3) More uniform air pressure for longer periods delivered to the air tool.
Mark Jerde wrote:
> I have google groups open and you've posted a lot on this. If you don't
> mind I'd appreciate (a) link(s) to the message(s) you consider the most
Don't have any links, but consider the following:
You want to construct a closed rectangular loop around your shop using
2" is about as big as you can easily thread by hand.
Using 60" long, 2" nipples and 2x2x3/4 tees, along with a union allows
you to do this.
You also need four (4), 2x2x2 tees with plugs for the corners.
Arrange the tees so that the 3/4 side is facing up.
Install two (2), 3/4 street ells at each tee so that the opening is now
This forces the air to change directions by 180 degrees, which helps the
water to drop out.
That's about it.
Hope this helps.
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