View Full Version : Amish Technology - Amazing

Tom Leftley
01-09-2014, 10:02 PM
This morning, while driving my early morning school bus route (7:30), I was fortunate to see an amazing sight.

Just north east of Tillsongburg Ontario, I drive past an Amish farm which has a wide creek running not far from their farm house.

There was an Amish hay wagon on the ice in the creek. The four horses pulling the wagon were standing on the bank of the creek.
For those who aren't familiar with a hay wagon, it is about thirty feet long and six feet wide with a front and rear rack.

There was one man standing on the wagon, stacking blocks of ice, while a second man, standing on the ice on the creek was handing him a block of ice.
The wagon was half-filled several rows high with these blocks of ice up to the mans shoulders.

These blocks appeared to be about two feet square.
I didn't see the saw he was using to cut the blocks but it would have been one used manually.

Wish I could have taken a photo, but with Amish or Mennonites, that is not permitted.

David Weaver
01-09-2014, 10:03 PM
They may have hired the blocks cut by someone with a chainsaw. I'm sure they're being put in a barn and insulated with straw or hay so they can be delivered and used in ice boxes through the summer.

Phil Thien
01-09-2014, 10:10 PM
They may have hired the blocks cut by someone with a chainsaw. I'm sure they're being put in a barn and insulated with straw or hay so they can be delivered and used in ice boxes through the summer.

If the power grid ever completely fails us, the Amish will be the only ones with cold beer.

David Weaver
01-09-2014, 10:14 PM
Well, if you put the beer in their ice box, they would be :)

John Coloccia
01-09-2014, 10:16 PM
I would just fill a container with water, let it freeze, and stack my blocks of ice.

Stephen Cherry
01-09-2014, 10:43 PM
I don't care what anybody says, the Amish market near me make a really good pumpkin roll.

John Coloccia
01-09-2014, 11:11 PM
Apparently, here's the technology:


Ken Fitzgerald
01-09-2014, 11:17 PM
The Amish are not the only ones who currently or previously cut and sawed ice and stored it for cooking. Currently on E-bay there are catalogs for sale that list single buck ice saws for sale.

Fred Perreault
01-10-2014, 6:45 AM
I have 2 ice saws. They were used many moons ago at the icehouse pond in my town. Since then they have been borrowed to cut the ice around 2 classic wooden hull cabin cruisers caught in the winter ice in our local harbor. They would make one long for the Filipino and his chainsaw from the video. The boats were usually kept at dock year round, and the owners chose the hand saws rather than chain saws....?

William Adams
01-10-2014, 6:54 AM
The cottage I rented in college was a converted ice house, they even had an old ice saw hanging over one of the doors as a decoration.

Dave Anderson NH
01-10-2014, 10:46 AM
Earlier this week was the first ice cutting on Squam Lake (Golden Pond). Blocks are 8" thick x 12" x 24". They are stacked on a flatbed and then trucked over to the icehouse where they are packed in sawdust. The blocks are used for refridgeration at several summer camps and a couple of small resorts who rent cabins. Ice cutting was a huge industry here in NH in the days before mechanical refridgeration. NH ice was often loaded on ships in Portsmouth and sold around the world.

David G Baker
01-10-2014, 2:12 PM
When I was a kid in Lansing Michigan we had an Iceman come around with blocks of ice for our ice box. The ice was cut from the river and stored in saw dust at the old ice house. It was a way of life in many areas of the country.

Ken Fitzgerald
01-10-2014, 2:20 PM
David.....as a kid in Wyoming we had an icebox to use in the summer and a window box to use in the winter. In the winter you controlled the temperature in the window box by adjusting the position of the window (raising or lowering it) to allow heat from the kitchen into the window box to prevent freezing.

Fred Perreault
01-10-2014, 3:08 PM
Ken, that's the first I've heard about a "windowbox" that wasn't for flowers. I grew up with an ice box and the weekly iceman until I was 8 yrs. old. Were these window boxes commercial, or mostly home made rigs?

Mike Henderson
01-10-2014, 3:14 PM
This is a bit off subject but I had the opportunity to visit an Amish woodworking shop in Pennsylvania one time. Any of us would feel right at home in it. All the tools were exactly what we use today, except the electric motors were replaced by alternate motors. In that shop, he had flexible cables driven from a diesel engine, but I know others use hydraulic motors, driven by a pump attached to a diesel engine.

Also, no lights in the shop, just windows and skylights.

I don't remember all the tools but he had a table saw, lathe, jointer, planer, band saw. Even small tools like a random orbital sander which had a flexible shaft stuck into the top of it. He told me there were people who modified regular tools for the Amish.

I asked him about Amish welding shops since all welding is electric today. He told me that they could use electricity for welding as long as they were not connected to the grid - that they had a diesel generator at the welding shop.

I also saw combines being used by the Amish, powered by diesel engines, but pulled by horses. I was told that the local bishop had given approval for the engines to run the combines but not for moving it. Go figure.


David Weaver
01-10-2014, 3:34 PM
I was told that the local bishop had given approval for the engines to run the combines but not for moving it.

That's generally true unless you get to the sects of tractor amish. If you were in lancaster, they were probably old order, though. I've met a couple of cabinetmakers, one at a wedding, but I never asked him about the lack of locomotion by engine. I've heard other people say it was a rule from the bishop to prevent people from getting a tractor to drive around like a car, but I didn't hear that from an amishman.

The cabinetmaker I've talked to a fair amount is closer to carlisle, and since he's single, he usually floats to someone else's house to watch TV every night. He's got a stationary shop that's as you describe, a 60 horsepower diesel motor with pneumatic and hydraulic tools (and no dust collection), and he's got portable tools, but the portable tools are for site work and they are electrical. He's allowed to use them on job sites if someone else supplies electricity, but he's not allowed to use them in his shop. That's just the rules.

Local lawn equipment dealer there is also amish, though he's not allowed to use some of the stuff he sells, I guess it's OK for him to sell it.