How the Amish Hack Technology to Meet Their Needs and Beliefs


The Amish are often portrayed as anti-technology Luddites, but in fact they often accept non-electrical forms of technology, as long as they can remain "off the grid" and independent. 

The photo shows a home-crafted gas-powered ice cutter used to harvest lake ice for non-electric iceboxes.

The diesel engine burns fuel to drive the compressor that fills the reservoir with pressure. From the tank a series of high-pressure pipes snake off toward every corner of the factory. A hard rubber flexible hose connects each tool to a pipe. The entire shop runs on compressed air. Every piece of machine is running on pneumatic power. Amos even shows me a pneumatic switch, which you can flick like a light switch, to turn on some paint-drying fans.

The Amish call this pneumatic system "Amish electricity."

Link - via reddit

From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by Minnesotastan.

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I live in a community that has a number of Amish families and we get along with them.

They use small gas engines left and right, and "mainline" diesel power engines, as well as minimal electricity for when they absolutely need it.
They are a bit more liberal about what "need" is though.
It stays out of the house, and they cannot have fixed electric lights, refrigeration, phones, or radios on the property, but are okay with renting it from neighbors.
They cannot use engines for "motive" power, they must pull with horses or a person. They use the old time manual reel lawn mowers, if they keep a lawn.
They are perfectly okay with hiring out certain jobs to people that do have equipment and can operate it.

We also live near a "sect" of Mennonites, which can have tractors, but can only use them for field work or their PTO power, never at the same time, and would sooner do "hand" tasks with unpowered tools.
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There's a company that makes garage doors, CHI Overhead Doors, that was founded by and is mostly staffed by Amish. The factory is completely off-grid and powered by diesel generators. They have computer controlled machinery, massive steel fabrication systems, even vacuum forming machines. Interestingly though, the Amish employs don't operate the machinery, they have a small staff of Mennonites that handle that. But all the hand labor is done by the Amish. You'd be hard pressed to find better built garage doors.
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This reminds me of ultra-orthodox Jews who won't turn on a light but will open a little door to reveal a light already light, or who have a Sabbath goy to do the things their creed bars from from doing on a certain day.

It raises two issues with me - firstly is it right to try to con god like this, and secondly, is he that easily fooled?

Not that I belive in a god anyway. It's just another puzzling aspect of religion.
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