|My first thought upon entering the store: "Wow, I didn't know Stickley
|My second thought, after inspecting the inlay work on a buffet: "Wow, I
|didn't know they had horse-drawn routers!"
|The use of modern power tools is apparent on some pieces, and I know
|the Amish (just like the large Mennonite communities where I grew up)
|have big, serious disagreements about the degree of modernity that they
|will permit. They periodically fracture over such issues, seek out
|others who agree with them, and establish new communities.
SWMBO and I have taken a couple of three-month long RV trips through
the American heartland. Her ancestors were brought up in Nebraska and
Iowa and on one trip we did a lot of poking around in tiny little
towns looking for gravesites and other genealogical stuff.
Also, our next-door neighbor's parents live in Spring Green, WI (Mecca
for the cultists that worship the murderous Frank Lloyd Wright) and we
have visited them on both trips. Leo, the neighbor's father, was born
in Spring Green and loves to tour us around in the backcountry. On
one of these tours we went to an Amish country store. We were loading
up on fresh baked bread, preserves, etc. when I heard the drone of a
gasoline engine emanating from an out building.
I asked Leo, "What's up with that?" He told me that the local
government required them to refrigerate certain products if they were
to be sold to the public, so it was okay to have electricity if the
government "forced" it on them.
Similarly, we were in some tiny little town with lots of Amish riding
around in horse-drawn buggies, where we were doing research at city
hall. The town "historian" was a woman, who was also the Mayor.
During our conversation, I mentioned that we had visited a lot of
communities where "Amish furniture" was for sale and it sure looked
machine-made to me.
She said, "Oh yes, it is, but the Amish are allowed to work with
machinery, they just can *own* it." She went on to say that it was
just dandy for Amish to ride in cars, they just couldn't own them and
that they were in using her telephone all day long. But strictly for
I also recall seeing an article someplace (probably FWW) where an
Amish guy was using lots of power tools, but they had all been
converted to hydraulic motor drive. As long as they weren't electric
it was okay. Go figure.