Amish Furniture - The Differenceby James Miller
The Qualitative Difference
While many American furniture makers lose way to foreign imports, the Amish are thriving as skilled furniture craftsmen in places like Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Holmes County, Ohio; and Shipshewana, Indiana. The Amish have earned a well-deserved reputation for high quality and value, practicing their art in places where American furniture has been made for generations. It is this qualitative difference that is evident in our Amish furniture.
While the Amish in general have earned a reputation for high quality, quality can still vary from one Amish furniture maker to another. We've combed the back roads and countryside, carefully selecting woodworkers whose commitment to quality furniture matches our customers' expectations.
Amish furniture is well-known for its high quality, traditional designs and master craftsmanship. Many Amish today are also making very handsome furniture with more modern designs in order to meet a wider variety of consumer preferences.
Amish furniture is generally made in solid oak, cherry or maple. Popular furniture styles include Shaker, Colonial, French Country, Queen Anne, Mission and Windsor. The Amish specialize in dining room tables, hutches, chairs, office furniture, bedroom furniture, entertainment centers, and much more. Because various woodworkers have different specialties, we can offer a wide selection of specializations to you.We trust that you will enjoy owning your Amish handcrafted furniture as much as the Amish enjoy making it and as much as we enjoy bringing it to you. Heirloom quality Amish furniture is a treasure that you can pass along to the next generation. Learn more about the features of our Amish furniture...
Amish Dining TablesAmish woodworkers may be the best known for their handcrafted dining tables. Our dining tables are handcrafted of solid wood, through and through. No veneers or particleboards are used on any of these solid wood dining tables. Our dining tables are individually handcrafted and made to order in an Amish woodworking shop, not built on an assembly line or in a factory.
Made for GatheringThe Amish generally have large families and are very communal. The dining table is a central place in the life and faith of the Amish. Gathering around the table, blessing the food, sharing a meal together, talking and telling stories - these are the experiences that take place around these handcrafted masterpieces. It is this type of experience that the Amish hope you will also enjoy, as you sit around a solid wood dining table heirloom.
Superior ConstructionOur dining tables have a number of design features that showcase our Amish craftsmen's deep understanding of wood and furniture making. All of our dining tables have a solid one-inch-thick table top for durability as well as an attractive appearance. Some dining tables are available with a thicker table top, upon request. Our dining tables include solid wood steam bent aprons with a slight gap inserted where the extensions fit to allow room for the natural contraction and expansion of solid wood. A number of our dining tables have apron gap covers to disguise the gap. Generally, our Amish woodworkers use one of two assembly designs on table legs: 1) the legs are inserted into the table frame with a mortise and tenon joint or 2) the legs are bolted to a v-groove corner block that is glued and screwed in place. Both styles provide extreme sturdiness, strength and durability.
Various SizesAlong with their solid design and heirloom quality manufacturing, our Amish dining tables are available in many styles and sizes. We offer leg, pedestal and trestle tables. We have elegant Queen Anne tables, casual farm tables and sleek Mission and Shaker tables, among many other styles. Our wide range of sizes offers options for those with tight spaces - very difficult to find in this age of over-sized furniture - as well as those preparing for large parties or family gatherings. Nearly all of our tables are available with extensions, some with up to 20 extensions for maximum versatility.
More Options to PersonalizeIn addition to wood type, finish, size, and style, our dining tables generally come with additional options such as the table top edge style that allow you to personalize your table. Many of our tables are signed upon request, showcasing the individuality that comes with each table.
Durable Slides for Strength and VersatilityOur Amish woodworkers choose the appropriate extension slides for the type of table to ensure ease in opening the table along with the proper durability. Most of our leg tables have wooden slides and our pedestal tables have gear slides. Many of the gear slides are equalizers, which allow the table to be opened when just pulling on one end, providing plenty of room for even large families to gather. This convenient function requires only one person to prepare the table with additional space and insert the extensions. All of our dining tables are beautifully finished and carefully delivered to your home. They are a treasure that will last for generations. (List link for shopping and our three best sellers)
Amish ChairsOur Amish handcrafted dining chairs are constructed with the highest attention to detail, resulting in maximum strength, durability, beauty and comfort. Made in America, our handcrafted solid wood chairs are quickly becoming a rarity. In general, the features of our dining chairs include...
Solid Hardwood ConstructionEach dining chair is handcrafted from select hardwoods such as oak, cherry, maple, hickory, quarter sawn oak, or walnut. The wood is carefully inspected throughout the construction process for strength, precision, and uniformity in grain. There is a zero tolerance for imperfections, resulting in a perfectly handcrafted chair.
Steam BendingBent chair parts are in the backs and bows of our Amish made dining chairs. The wood is steamed for flexibility and then shaped and clamped in forms until it is set. Steam-bent parts provide beauty, comfort and strength in your dining chair.
Pressback DetailThe traditional pressback designs that are featured on a variety of our dining chairs are produced in a special embossing process. The wood is placed in a heated die press with over 100 tons of pressure. This leaves a permanently "engraved" pattern in the chair back.
Leg Turning DetailTurned spindles with simple tenon joinery offer character to many of our dining chairs.
Mortise and Tenon JoineryOne important feature of most of our dining chairs is the use of the mortise and tenon joint that creates a sturdy, tight-fitting chair. Simple and strong, the mortise and tenon joint has been used for millennia by woodworkers around the world to join two pieces of wood, most often at an angle close to 90. Although there are variations on the theme, the basic idea is that the end of one piece of wood is inserted into a hole cut in the other piece of wood. The end of the first piece of wood is called the tenon, and it is usually narrowed with respect to the rest of the piece. The hole in the second piece of wood is called the mortise. Most of our chair legs receive a single screw to add even more stability to the chair. The Amish use mortise and tenon joinery extensively.
Corner Block FrameChair seat corners are generally anchored with corner blocks under the seat to provide a solid structure for the whole chair. This provides the chair with strength and durability, even after years of use.
Molded SeatAll dining chair wooden seats are cut and molded to a contour for maximum comfort.
Matching SetMany of our dining chairs can also be made into bar stools or desk chairs, so you can purchase an entire matching set for your home.
FinishAn otherwise perfect chair can be ruined by a poor finish job. Our dining chairs are hand-finished with a two part catalyzed stain to protect the chair and enhance its beauty. The chairs are carefully inspected for uniformity in color and clarity in application. If you're ordering a set of dining chairs with a dining table, hutch, or other furniture, the finishing is always done together, providing for a completely matching set of Amish furniture. Our dining chairs can be found in homes, offices, universities and restaurants throughout America. They are comfortable, durable, and beautiful. Purchase a set today! (List link for shopping and our three best sellers)
Amish HutchesAmish hutches are among the most extraordinary furniture pieces that we offer. Our solid wood hutches all offer ample storage space for dinnerware and linens. Our hutches are available in a variety of sizes, wood types, styles and finishes. Each hutch is carefully handcrafted by Amish woodworkers, made as a labor of love.
Solid Wood Superior ConstructionOur Amish hutches are made of solid wood - usually oak or cherry. Increasingly, brown maple is a popular selection. Other wood types such as maple, walnut, hickory, and more are options as well, allowing you a wide variety to choose from for the perfect heirloom hutch to store your keepsakes. Generally, the back of the hutch top is made of strips of solid wood linked together in a tongue and groove design. The buffet backs and drawer bottoms are normally made of same species plywood to protect them from the contraction and expansion of solid wood. (Check the QuickSpecs on each hutch or talk to a sales associate for details on each hutch.)
Dovetailed DrawersThe drawers on our Amish made hutches are dovetailed, except for corner hutch drawers because their shape does not allow for dovetailing. (Some of our pine hutches do not offer dovetail drawers.) All glass and wood shelves have plate grooves.
Many Options for PersonalizationAlong with their solid design and heirloom quality manufacturing, our Amish hutches are available in many designs and sizes to match any lifestyle. We have elegant Queen Anne, sleek Mission and simple Shaker hutches, among many other styles. Corner hutches are perfect for those with tight spaces and will turn a vacant corner into an advantage. We offer grand four-door to petite one-door hutches to fit any storage need that you may have. Our Amish woodworkers also build our hutches with a variety of options that allow you to personalize your hutch to your own taste. Choose between wood or glass shelves, add lights or mirror backs, or change the door design, depending on the hutch you're purchasing.
Beautifully FinishedMost of our Amish woodworkers finish their hutches in the stain of your choice with a catalyzed lacquer or conversion varnish. It is chosen to withstand years of wear and offers superior protection for your hutch. Our Cottage Collection hutches are finished with a paint and wax finish to fit the antique primitive look. We offer a wide variety of stain and paint options to closely match existing furniture or fit the decor preferences of the customer. We will gladly send out samples to help you in your finish selection. An Amish handcrafted hutch will be the centerpiece of your dining room. Its beauty, durability and function will make it an heirloom piece of furniture that you'll use and love for years to come. (List link for shopping and our three best sellers)
Amish Office FurnitureWe offer an extensive collection of solid wood office furniture. Whether for the corporate setting or home office, we have the design to fit your need. Don't see what you are looking for? Call us - we're ready to help! Our desks, filing cabinets and other office furniture are handcrafted of solid wood. They are handsome heirlooms and fully functional. Our desks and cabinets are beautifully finished and most ship fully assembled.
CustomizationCustomization is available on most of our Amish made office furniture. Let us know what unique features you would like, and we'll do our very best to accommodate them. Don't hesitate to call us at 866-272-6773 to discuss customization and special options.
HardwareEach piece of Amish made office furniture includes the very highest quality hardware, including locks, lights and drawer slides. Wooden drawer pulls are handcrafted. We offer a variety of hardware options - antique to modern - to create the look you want. Already have hardware? Send us your set and we'll install it on your new Amish furniture.
Raised PanelsSome of our desks feature raised panel sides for an elegant, sophisticated look. In most collections, the raised panels are free-floating to allow for the natural expansion and contraction of the hardwood. The standard back on each rolltop desk ¾" plywood, stained and finished. Raised panels and solid wood can be added to the back for an additional charge.
DrawersMost of our desks feature dovetailed drawers with full extension drawer slides. The drawer boxes are made from solid wood and glued at the dovetails for long-lasting strength. The drawers hold letter-size paper. Dividers can be added to drawers to help keep things organized, and locks can be added to keep the contents of your desk secure.
Expert CarpentryThe carpentry on all of our desks is second to none. One unique feature in our rolltop desks is that the tambours are carefully crafted from a single piece of hardwood. Quality hardwood construction creates the perfect heirloom office furniture.
Beautifully FinishedAs with all of our Amish furniture, our office furniture is handsomely finished for maximum protection and beauty. We have a wide variety of finish options to choose from and will send you stain samples to help you in your selection. Our Amish handcrafted Amish furniture is a collection of uniquely crafted treasures. If you're looking for solid wood, heirloom quality, American made office furniture that you'll want to pass down to future generations, you've found it. A pleasant alternative to knock down stuff made of particle board, you'll notice the difference! Our collections of Amish furniture include the more progressive Mt. Eaton Collection, which features many options in wood types and customizable options. If you're looking for a unique treasure, also consider the rolltop desks in our Holmes Office Collection, made by an Amish man and his sons in a small woodshop off the beaten path in the hills of Ohio.
Amish Bedroom FurnitureOur handcrafted Amish bedroom furniture is made of solid wood throughout. It is finely handcrafted by Amish woodworkers in the hill country of Ohio and Pennsylvania. The bedroom furniture that you'll find in our collections is exceptional in workmanship, and will last for generations. Within our collections you'll find beds, dressers, night stands, armoires, and other pieces that are available in a variety of sizes, wood types, and styles - everything you need for your new bedroom set.
CustomizationSome customization is available on much of our bedroom furniture. Because it is made to order, we can often make changes in design that will give you a piece that is truly unique. All of our beds are available in a variety of sizes.
HardwareAll of our bedroom furniture includes the very highest quality hardware. This includes the hardware that you see, such as drawer pulls, and the hardware that you don't see, such as the bed rail connectors that provide strength and durability to your bed.
DrawersMost of the dressers, armoires and night stands that we offer feature dovetailed drawers with the option of full extension drawer slides. The drawers are generally made of a solid wood face and sides and plywood bottoms for optimal beauty and functionality.
Expert CarpentryThe carpentry on all of our Amish bedroom furniture is second to none. Each piece is built with superb quality and craftsmanship.
Beautifully FinishedAs with all of our Amish furniture, our bedroom furniture is handsomely finished for maximum protection and beauty. We have a wide variety of finish options to choose from and will send you stain samples to help you in your selection. Our bedroom furniture is shipped fully assembled, except for the beds in which the rails, headboard, footboard and slats are easily put together. Consider an Amish made quilt to put the final touch on your new bedroom set! QuiltsByLinse.com features a variety of Amish quilts that are ready to ship.
More Amish FurnitureIn addition to the popular dining room tables and chairs, hutches, office furniture and bedroom furniture that so many of our happy customers have enjoyed, we have a variety of other Amish made pieces as well. We offer Amish made bars, entertainment centers, benches, rockers & gliders, sofas and much more! Looking for something for the kids? Our selection of Amish made kids furniture and toys is extensive, from cribs to kid-sized desks to solid wood handcrafted toys, we have a unique treasure read for that special little person in your family. All of our Amish furniture is made in America, handcrafted by Amish or Mennonite craftsmen. Unless otherwise noted, it is made of solid hardwood construction. We have the largest variety of Amish furniture among any internet retailer. So if you're looking for a special piece, try using our search feature to find it or give us a call at 866-272-6773. If the Amish are making it, chances are we have it!
Amish Outdoor FurnitureIn addition to fine indoor furniture, you'll find hundreds of Amish made outdoor furniture in our Outdoor Furniture section. Available in many shapes, sizes, styles and colors, we're confident that you'll find what you're looking for amongst our several collections.
Pine or PolyGenerally speaking, most of our Amish made outdoor furniture is made of treated pine wood. Our pine is carefully selected for strength and durability. It is affordable and has been highly popular for decades. Increasingly, many of our customers are choosing polywood furniture over pine. Polywood furniture is made of recycled plastics, generally HDPE. It is ecologically friendly, incredibly long-lasting, and does not require refinishing. Several of our Amish woodworkers have embraced polywood as an alternative to pine. They apply the same expert craftsmanship, so the end product is handsomely crafted, highly durable, easy to maintain, and quite "green". We also offer a collection of cypress Amish outdoor furniture. Though not as popular as the pine, it is a handsome collection that provides you with an additional alternative.
Amish Made CraftsIn addition to the Amish furniture that we offer, you'll find thousands of Amish made crafts that reflect the same values and skills that go into our furniture. Looking for something specific? Try our Search Tool or give us a call at 866-272-6773.
Indoor Amish CraftsOur indoor crafts include such a wide variety of products that it is a futile effort to describe them all. A few of the more popular items include our cedar chests, wooden toys, and Amish rugs made of recycled chenille and cotton. Our Amish made crafts embody the same work ethic and spirit of authenticity that goes into the making of our Amish furniture.
Outdoor Amish CraftsOur outdoor crafts are even more popular than our indoor crafts. In fact, we began our business by selling our enormously popular Amish handcrafted lighthouses, then quickly added wishing wells, barn stars, mailboxes, bird houses, and Amish made wind chimes to our repertoire. Our goat wagons are a special treasure. Whether you're looking for something decorative or functional, our Amish Outdoor Crafts are a terrific choice.
In general, the Amish are an inward focused people that reflect many generations of isolation from the rest of the world. For that reason, they tend to focus on building furniture rather than selling it. With any high quality product, this is where the focus should be!
The Amish believe that all of life is sacred, including work. They believe that honesty is something that is lived, and that everything they do is a reflection of their faith and belief in God. The Amish believe that work brings honor to God, if it is done faithfully and honestly. Therefore, work is more about a life of faith than making a profit.
Because of these fundamental beliefs, the Amish do not take shortcuts. The quality of their furniture is authentic, even in the parts that are not easily seen. Substandard work is not a part of the equation. Because of this, our Amish furniture is both handsome and durable throughout.
For you, this means that the Amish furniture that you purchase is a labor of love - a product built not only with wood and glue, but of honesty and hard work.
Handcrafted in America
We are proud that our Amish furniture is handcrafted in America - most of it in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and Holmes County, Ohio.
There is something unique about American made furniture, particularly furniture that is handcrafted by the Amish. Our Amish woodworkers make fine furniture using small tools powered by generators and hand tools as they have for decades, according to time-honored traditions.
When you purchase our fine Amish furniture, you're buying an heirloom product that will last for generations. Additionally, you're supporting a cottage industry that is truly American - an investment you can take pride in.
Our customers take great pride in buying these American Made Heirlooms, knowing that their furniture was made as a labor of love, not in some factory assembly line overseas. And we take pride in selling each handsomely crafted piece.
Solid Hardwood Construction
At a time when mass production and the use of synthetics and veneers has become the standard, we offer you solid wood furniture, inside and out. Our Amish craftsmen pay personal attention to detail, quality, and craftsmanship instead of volume. And because each piece is handcrafted, you can be assured that the furniture you purchase is made of the highest quality wood. When you purchase from us, you are selecting furniture that is made with both American wood and American labor.
Our Amish craftsmen pay special attention to grain patterns, consistency in color, and the overall quality of wood that they work.Locally Harvested Hardwoods
The Amish select their hardwoods from locally grown forests as much as possible. Most of the hardwoods that are used in the construction of our Amish made furniture are grown in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and the forests of Southeast Canada. The vast majority of the wood comes from certified managed forests, which means that the hardwoods are replanted after they are harvested. We make every effort to ensure that the most ecologically friendly techniques are used in the construction of our furniture, and the Amish were conservationists long before it became popular in mainstream society. Energy is saved by harvesting locally instead of shipping the wood from overseas. Scraps, shavings, and other wood waste is gathered and used in farming or heating. As much as possible, we try to ship our furniture with local shippers that use blanket wrapping techniques, which cuts down on boxes and other packing materials. These small things add up to create beautiful furniture that leaves a very small ecological footprint.
Except for our pine furniture, all of the Amish furniture we offer is made of carefully selected hardwoods. While oak and cherry are the standards and by far the most popular, many of our pieces are available in other wood types as well. Here's an overview...
Oak wood is a naturally light wood with a prominent grain, which makes groves in the wood that you can feel when you slide your finger across them. This grain is evident even with dark stains or paints and usually appears darker than the rest of the wood. Knots may occasionally appear in the wood, which add to its character. Oak is well known for its strength and resilience. Oak has a strong heavy hook and the look isn't deceiving. When oak is finished natural it will have a pale blonde reddish cast, which overtime will oxidize to a golden honey color. A great choice for staining. Both red oak and white oak are used in furniture making, but the majority of our furniture is made with red oak.
Quarter Sawn Oak refers to oak that is cut with a special technique. Quarter sawn oak is cut at an angle, creating a distinct tight speckled grain that is especially popular with mission furniture. Beautiful irregular markings or flakes are a result of logs cut in a special way. Quarter sawn oak is known for its amazing strength and firm texture. Quarter sawn oak is quickly becoming a top choice for many of our customers! Quarter sawn oak stains very well.
Cherry wood has less grain and is quite smooth. A favorite for good reasons! Cherry has many interesting characteristics. Aging to a rich reddish brown patina over time and often peppered with exotic black specs and swirling grain. It has a natural light gold/red tone but can be stained to create many appearances. Cherry has very small knots that are dark in appearance and sometimes create a dip in the wood. Cherry naturally darkens with age and sometimes features contrasts in color. This is part of the charm of cherry, and should be expected. Natural cherry is a beautiful look, as is the more traditional darker stained cherry.
Hard Maple is naturally a light wood with very little grain that is quite smooth. Maple mellows to beautiful golden tone overtime. Occasionally flecked with naturally occurring black mineral deposits. Maple is an excellent choice for strong durable furniture. Maple can also be stained to create many appearances. Certain colors on hard maple tend to stain unevenly or have a blotchy appearance - please consult with a sales associate to avoid these issues.
Brown Maple comes from the same logs as regular maple but is the darker heartwood. Brown maple can be a smart choice for darker staining or painting. Certain colors on brown maple tend to stain unevenly or have a blotchy appearance - please consult with a sales associate to avoid these issues.
Walnut is a dark wood with a medium amount of grain that makes slight groves in the wood. Even with different stains, the appearance of walnut does not change much. Knots may occasionally appear in the wood. Walnut will bring extra elegance to any room. If your tastes run more toward the formal, then the rich dark browns of walnut may be the way to go.
Hickory is a very hard and durable wood by mixing the color tones the finished product is a characteristic piece of natural art. The appearance of natural hickory does vary from a very light appearance to a medium light appearance. Hickory is a very heavy wood.
Birch grain sometimes has a curl which creates an iridescent effect. Light to medium blond sapwood usually but not always contrasts against darker toned heartwood. Curl can also cause uneven staining. Birch will age to a golden color over time.
Pine is not a hardwood, but remains a popular option for many of our customers who are looking for a rustic, inexpensive option that has been somewhat traditional with many Amish woodworkers. Pine is knotty with a light grain. It is easily stained and is especially popular when painted. Pine furniture is often used in kitchens, restrooms, or entryways. We have many unique pine pieces that are very charming and well-constructed. Customers who purchase pine should expect more imperfections, as pine offers more of a rustic look in contrast to fine hardwood furniture.
The beauty and durability provided by solid hardwood is undeniable. It provides several unique benefits:
- Enduring value from one generation to another.
- Natural warmth that synthetics cannot give.
- Expression of each individual tree by its own unique color and grain.
Solid hardwood furniture can also be repaired if damaged because there is no veneer or artificial surface that can be scraped or rubbed through.
Hardwoods are a natural fiber. Therefore, even furniture that has a good protective finish may swell or shrink slightly from one season to another. With proper care, your solid wood furniture will bring you satisfaction for years to come.
Small Woodshops Offer Customization
The small size of most Amish woodshops means that many of the pieces can be customized, within certain parameters. (Extensive customization is often outside the ability of a small woodshop.) If you've fallen in love with a particular piece that you've found on our website, but it simply won't fit in the corner of the living room as you had imagined, give us a call. There's a chance we can alter it to fit.
We typically can customize the size of many of our furniture pieces. We also can offer customization options on many pieces that include unique hardware requests, extra shelves, special finishes, or other types of special needs. Call one of our sales associates at 866-272-6773 to discuss your customization interests.Amish Woodshops
The Amish make furniture using handheld tools and small power tools run by generators, usually working out of small woodshops beside their rural homes. They are a unique cultural group that avoids many modern conveniences, including computers, cell phones, cars and electricity.
Amish furniture is painstakingly made by hand, one piece at a time. Each piece is individually crafted and inspected to become an heirloom quality piece of furniture that will awe your guests and be passed down to the next generation.
Because of their unique cultural identity and their emphasis on separation from the outside world, the Amish tend to be inward focused. Most Amish craftsmen would rather concentrate on what they do best - building their furniture, rather than on selling it.
For this reason, our small company is an important partner to the Amish woodshops that we work with. We help to open up new markets to this geographically concentrated people, and help to present their furniture to people who want it - people like you!
In November 2002, Jim Miller and Miao Xue, former classmates at the University of South Florida graduate program in organizational management, began sharing their aspirations about starting a business together. The conversations culminated over lunch at the Hillview Grill in Sarasota, Florida in early 2003, where they agreed to proceed with an e-commerce firm, merging the initials of their names to create JMX.
Miller, who had been a Mennonite pastor and had experience in academic administration at Goshen College (a small Mennonite college in Goshen, Indiana), had strong familiarity with the Amish and their crafts. He had grown up in southern Michigan, within an Amish and Mennonite community, and had worked alongside many Amish in his uncles' Amish restaurants.
Xue had strong experience and training in e-commerce. He had previously worked as the IT Director in an e-commerce firm. The experiences of both men blended naturally to complement one another, and JMX benefited as a result.
Because of Miller's background, he found success with many Amish products – many of which had not been seriously marketed with an e-commerce model before. Because he was familiar with the peculiarities of Amish culture and working with the Amish, Miller brought a unique skill to the irregular process of bringing Amish made products to customers outside the Amish communities.
With the success of Amish crafts, Amish-made furniture and Amish quilts were added to JMX's product line with the opening of DutchCrafters.com and QuiltsByLinse.com. Miller and his wife, Linse, traveled the country roads throughout Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, searching for Amish made products, observing firsthand the quality with which they were made, and meeting the craftspeople who made them. They were met with some skepticism, but gradually built a strong network of craftsmen who were committed to partnering with JMX.
The small company grew quickly as the DutchCrafters Amish Furniture brand led the way. The Miller's developed a good reputation amongst the Amish in Pennsylvania and expanded their network to Ohio as well. Customers from all over America began to recommend DutchCrafters to their friends and families, and many came back for repeat purchases.
Today, the Millers seek to maintain the small business culture that has been so instrumental in caring for customers' needs and relating to the Amish woodworkers who have proved the foundation of the company's success. The office is located in a small warehouse in Sarasota, Florida, where employees share the Miller's passion for high quality, Amish made furniture.
The Millers continue to travel frequently to Pennsylvania and Ohio, meeting with the craftsman who build our furniture and their families, running their hands over the bare wood in dusty woodshops, pulling on drawers and turning over chairs - all in the quest for perfect furniture.
At DutchCrafters, we believe that the quality of our product doesn't really matter unless it is matched by the quality of our service. Throughout our organization, we are dedicated to providing our customers with outstanding service - before, during, and after the sale.User Friendly, Informative & Safe Online Shopping
Our commitment to caring for our customers begins with our websites. We try to put as much information into our sites as we can, with the focus on accuracy and user-friendliness. Unlike many Amish furniture websites, we offer safe online shopping that allows you to browse at your own pace and purchase at your own convenience. We have a high respect for security and privacy. We use the latest technologies to safeguard your information, do not store your credit card numbers, and never sell your private information to third parties.Our Phones - Live People
About 50% of our customers choose to call our toll-free number - 866-272-6773 - rather than placing their order online. We welcome your calls - whether to place your order, ask a question, or just to determine that we are real people! When you call, we don't put you through to automated phone systems or voicemail. Instead, you'll get a live, friendly, professional sales associate who can help you with your specific needs. In the event that we're busy with other customers, we will invite you to leave a voicemail and will get back to you as soon as we're able. We're here to help you with your questions and with placing your order.Helpful Sales Associates
Our sales associates understand all that goes into the decision to purchase furniture. They know that spending thousands of dollars on furniture site unseen can be a new and daunting experience for many shoppers. They understand that furniture is a highly personal decision, and that our customers have many different preferences and tastes. And they understand that the process can take days, weeks, months or even years! Our sales associates are highly knowledgeable about our many products and can answer many of your questions. If they don't know the answer, they are committed to finding it. They do their very best to be helpful, and will follow-up as needed without being intrusive or pressuring you to make a decision.Help with Finish Selection
For virtually all furniture sales, we send finish samples to help you in choosing or confirming your stain or paint selection. The samples will help you to compare and contrast with existing furniture or décor. They will also help you to see the actual finish in your hand, on actual wood, which may be a little different than what you see on the computer screen.Customer Service & Order Status
Our service goes beyond order placement. We understand that waiting for your furniture can stretch even the most patient customers. We continually check on the status of each order to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. We'll be happy to discuss the process with you in the event that you want to call and check on it. After your order is placed, you can track the status online with your order ID. Or, if you prefer to call, we'll be happy to track it for you. Our attention to detail in communication is high. We do our best to help with any special needs.Delivery with Care
Once your furniture is finished, our commitment to service continues with our selection of a trusted shipping company to bring your order to you. We choose companies that specialize in shipping furniture and that have demonstrated care in delivery.
Finally, we realize that the day your Amish furniture arrives is a big day for you. Your furniture is delivered by polite professionals. They'll deliver your furniture in mint condition and offer inside delivery as an upgradeable option. They are so good that many of our satisfied customer comments are about the shippers!
Premium Selection, Variety
While the Amish have rightly earned a reputation for their master craftsmanship, the reality is that not all Amish furniture is made equally. In furniture-making, the small things make the difference. At DutchCrafters, we continue to roam the back roads of Amish country as the Millers did in the first years of our company's history. We carefully inspect our woodshops and the furniture they produce - not paternalistically, but as partners in the quest for excellence. We turn over chairs, slide drawers back and forth, rub our hands over wood, inspect the finishing, and talk frankly with the craftsmen who provide their labor of love.
The result is that we are highly selective in the Amish woodworkers we partner with. If our DutchCrafters name is behind it, we want nothing but the best.
For you, our valued customer, this means that you can expect the highest quality of workmanship in all the products that you see on these pages.
As our good reputation has spread amongst the woodworking community in Amish country, so our network of quality partners has expanded. We're proud to offer a wide variety of the best Amish furniture we can find. With the largest number of Amish products to choose from anywhere on the Internet, we are both the biggest AND the best!
Since 2003 we've steadily grown to become the largest Internet retailer of Amish furniture in the world. Our experience in working with the Amish, evaluating workmanship, and working with thousands of customers has led to superior products and services that we continue to perfect year after year.
We work hard to build upon this success, continuing the pursuit of excellence in all that we do.
Our prices are competitive with other reputable internet retailers. We do not engage in price slashing or auctions, as ultimately we believe that our superior products and services are worth every penny of what we charge. We work with our woodworkers to encourage pricing policies that protect their long-term interests, as well as the long term interests of retailers and you, our valued customers.
We believe that our customer testimonials and the service that our current customers receive speaks for itself. However, many of our customers appreciate that we are a member of the Better Business Bureau and The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. Associations such as these bring credibility and accountability to any business.
Our Amish furniture is an ecological choice for a variety of reasons.
Nearly all of the wood used in the manufacture of our Amish furniture comes from certified managed forests in the Northeast United States or Southeast Canada. The trees in these forests are replaced once they are cut, so that the cultivation of wood is a sustainable long term practice.
The Amish waste very little. Every piece of wood can be used in some way or another. Cuts are saved to use in smaller pieces. If wood cannot be used in the manufacture of furniture, it is generally used as fuel for heating Amish homes or workshops during winter. Even sawdust is often gathered and used for heating, fertilizer, or other farming uses.
Energy is saved by harvesting locally instead of shipping the wood from overseas. And as much as possible, we try to ship our Amish furniture with local shippers that use blanket wrapping techniques, which cuts down on boxes and other packing materials. These small things add up to create beautiful furniture that leaves a very small ecological footprint.
The best way to eliminate waste is to reduce consumables. When you purchase heirloom quality furniture, you are making a decision to purchase something that will last for generations. In this age of discardable commodities of all sorts, buying long-lasting furniture is a way to reduce the amount of energy and resources that goes into the manufacturing and packaging of cheap furniture destined for landfills within ten years.
Stories & Testimonials
We believe that the furniture we sell is the best around, but our customers are more convincing than we ever could be! Here is what they have to say...
In addition to the thousands and thousands of satisfied homeowners we have served, many businesses and other organizations have called us to help them with a large variety of projects. From restaurants to filmmakers, universities to the armed forces, retirement communities to boutique hotels - we're proud to serve the needs of our business customers. Here are a few of their profiles...
JMX USA is the corporate entity that owns the brands and websites that we promote. JMX is a privately held Florida corporation, located in Sarasota, Florida.
So if our woodshops are in Amish country, why is our office in Sarasota, Florida?
First, Sarasota has been home to a significant Amish and Mennonite community since the 1930's. Many of the woodworkers that build our furniture visit Sarasota (as many people do) during the winter. It serves as a convenient meeting place where we can maintain relationships with our woodworkers from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere.
Second, our geographic separation from Amish Country has forced us to perfect our business model in ways that most likely would not have occurred if we had been tempted with a showroom in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, like many of our competitors. The ironic effect is that we are better at staying in touch with woodworkers, shippers, and customers, that we put more emphasis on perfecting our websites, and that we focus more on our telephone support. This is helpful to most of our customers who are NOT in Amish Country! We also have "eyes on the ground" in Lancaster and Ohio, to help when we need them. Of course, we frequently travel to inspect our furniture and stay in touch with our craftsmen, but most of what we do can be done from anywhere.
Finally, Sarasota is home. Our families are a part of the Sarasota community, and we believe in the importance of that stability.
And the fishing isn't bad either, even in February!
How to Purchase
How to Find What You're Looking For
With over 5000 products to choose from, it may be a little difficult to find that special piece you're looking for. Here are a few ideas to help you narrow it down...Search Tool
First, simply look for it by typing in what you're looking for and then click search here . It may be helpful to be specific in your search.Browse Categories
Many of our products can be found through more than one of our category trees. For example, you might find our French Country Dining Chairs by browsing through our Dining Room category, or by looking in the product type Dining Chairs, or by looking in the French Country Style category, and finally by looking within a particular collection you might have your eye on, such as our Byershaus Collection.Call Us
Many of our customers simply find what they're looking for by contacting one of our sales associates at our toll free number, 866-272-6773. If we're not available, leave a message and we'll call you back as soon as we can. Our sales associates can answer most of your questions and will find the answer if they don't know it. They are courteous and helpful in walking many customers through the decision-making process.Email
Finally, if you prefer, simply type your question here and we'll get back to you by email or phone. Email us with any questions you have, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can to help.
Once you've found the products that you are looking for, you'll need to select from the variety of options that are available on many of our products. Options are dependant on the product that you're looking at. Simply use the drop down menus to view the options available, select one, then click on "Update Price."Selecting a Wood Type
Most of our furniture comes in a variety of wood types. Selection of a wood type is a fundamental option that will change the price of your furniture. For more information on wood types or help in making a selection, click here or call us at 866-272-6773. Don't see the wood type you are looking for? Call us, and we'll see if it can be done.Choosing a Finish
Another fundamental option that you'll have, if you are purchasing furniture, is the type and color of finish (stain or paint) that you want. We have a wide selection of finishes to choose from. The decision regarding finish does NOT have to be made at the time of purchase, so we can get the order moving and select a finish later in the process.
For virtually all furniture sales, we send finish samples to help you in choosing or confirming your stain or paint selection. The samples will help you to compare and contrast with existing furniture or décor. They will also help you to see the actual stain in your hand, which may be a little different than what you see on the computer screen.
If you have questions about placing your order, a particular product, or anything else, don't hesitate to call one of our sales associates at our toll free number, 866-272-6773. If we're not available, leave a message and we'll call you back as soon as we can. Our sales associates can answer most of your questions and will find the answer if they don't know it. They are courteous and helpful in walking many customers through the decision-making process.
Finally, if you prefer, simply type your question here and we'll get back to you by email or phone.
Placing Your Order and Payment Options
Secure Internet Purchasing
You can shop and purchase on our site with confidence, knowing that we've taken the security measures to keep your information safe. When you make a payment in our online check out process, you are taken to a secure server at Authorize.Net where you enter your credit card information.
When you click to submit the payment, the payment information is encrypted using 128-bit SSL technology and securely sent to an Authorize.Net transaction server. The server sends the data through the authorization network to the appropriate card issuer's bank using a secure propriety connection. When the authorization process is completed - after about five seconds - you'll receive an approval or decline response, and the Authorize.Net server stores the transaction.
As a merchant, we do not store your credit card number when you make a payment online. In fact, we don't even see it. That information remains protected private data between you and the secure server. All the credit card numbers saved on the Authorize.Net server are masked, leaving only the first and last digits displayed to us.
Purchasing by Phone
While we work hard to make Internet purchases safe and secure, we welcome your orders by phone. If you would like to make your purchase by telephone, for any reason, please do not hesitate to call us toll free at 866-272-6773. We'll have someone on the other end of the phone to help you with your questions, take your shipping information and accept payment.
You can make online purchases by using one of the following credit cards: American Express, Discover, Mastercard or VISA. Please note that the payee that will appear on your credit card statement is JMX USA.
We also accept virtually any other form of payment in U.S. funds, including international wire transfers. Please call us toll free at 866-272-6773 to inquire.
For furniture orders above $1,000, we gladly offer a free payment plan. Pay 50%
down and the other 50% is not due until the furniture is shipped, with no interest
fees or finance charges. Other free payment plans are available for furniture orders
over $4,000. Please call us toll free at 866-272-6773 to find out more. Account
balance must be received in full by time of delivery.
At DutchCrafters.com , we welcome our international customers. We do our best to accommodate special requests and complex shipping instructions. We are able to accommodate email in English, Spanish, French and Mandarin Chinese. All international transactions (except for Canada) must be paid via wire transfer or cashier's check in U.S. funds.
Tracking Your Order
Customers ordering online often wonder about the shipment of their purchase. Time of delivery and method of shipment depends on the products that you ordered. Below is some additional information on our shipping practices.
Most of our smaller products ship within 3 to 5 business days of order and usually take around the same number of days for shipping in the continental United States. Please expect your order within 6 to 10 business days.
Because most of the furniture at DutchCrafters.com is handcrafted, it is generally not available to ship immediately. Many of our furniture items take between 8-14 weeks before they are ready to ship. They can take one to two weeks to be delivered once they are finished. We understand that you are eager to receive your product. Please exercise patience, and we will ship as soon as the product is ready!
Furniture Shipping Costs and Options
At DutchCrafters.com , our first priority is getting the furniture to you in a safe and secure manner that will prevent damage. Because of the size of the furniture or distance it needs to be shipped, the cost of shipping can be expensive, but we also do our best to keep the shipping cost down without compromising safety and speed. In fact, we sometimes subsidize the cost of shipping depending upon the size of the order. Our other priority is an expedient shipment. We try to balance these priorities as best we can, realizing that each situation is slightly unique.
It is important to note that the best shipping method for one piece of furniture may not be the best method for another piece. While a few of the furniture items at DutchCrafters.com can be shipped via UPS, most of the pieces are too large and require other solutions. Among the other possibilities are a number of options from bulk freight to highly specialized furniture movers. We try to select the option that makes the most sense for that product in terms of protection of the product, cost and expediency.
Delivery of Furniture
We believe that you will be more than satisfied with the quality of our furniture. We also believe that effective shipping is critical for the delivery of this furniture. As soon as your furniture is ordered, our shipping coordinator starts tracking the completion of your purchase and planning its delivery. For orders that take longer than a month to finish, our shipping coordinator will contact you close to when it is ready to ship and keep you up to date on its process as needed.
Most of our furniture is delivered via truck line. If a truck line is delivering your purchase, the shipper will be in touch with you personally to establish a time of delivery. Since most deliveries are made by a single driver, y ou will need to make accommodations to assist the driver with unloading. It is also important to note that furniture movers are insured to deliver the product to your home, but not inside your house. It will be your responsibility to move it from the rear of the truck. Please note that our shippers use large trucks. On the occasion that the truck is too large to enter your street or neighborhood, you may need to meet the driver to take possession of your furniture.
We will do whatever we can to earn your satisfaction when it comes to shipping and receiving your order. We do ask that you keep in mind the issues outlined here, and that moving large furniture around the country is not a simple process. Your satisfaction is our goal. If you have questions regarding shipping, do not hesitate to contact us at 866-272-6773.
Cancellations & Returns
Orders of non-furniture items can be cancelled up until the shipping of the order. Once the non-furniture order has shipped, the return policy applies. Decorative wooden and fiberglass lighthouses and mailboxes are excluded from this policy because they are specialty made items. Cancellation of these orders must be made within 48 hours or before they ship, whichever comes first.
Orders of furniture items can be cancelled within 48 hours of when they are placed. Since all of our furniture is made to order and our woodworkers sometimes get to work on them right away, we are not able to cancel the order with them after this time period. Forty-eight hours after an order has been placed, all furniture sales are considered final, and our furniture return policy for damaged or defective pieces apply after this time.
Please inform us of any modifications you may want to make to your order as soon as you are able. These changes may not be possible after 48 hours. Those who have placed your order but are still deciding on your stain may take longer to make your choice. The woodworker has been informed to wait on your stain choice to complete the piece. We request that you make your decision in a timely manner to ensure that your furniture is completed on schedule.
Our return policy covers three categories of returns:
Please be sure to thoroughly check your purchase when you receive it. Look for signs of damage to be sure that it has arrived safely. If you receive a product and see that it has been damaged during shipping, please refuse the shipment, and tell the shipper to return it to its sender. If this is the case, notify us immediately at DutchCrafters.com, and we will replace your order at no additional cost to you.
Defective or Wrong Products
If you see that you have received a product that is different than what you have ordered, we will replace it at no additional cost to you. If possible, tell the shipper to simply return it to the sender. If you discover the manufacturer's defect after the shipper has left, please notify us and we will make arrangements to have the product picked up and replaced at no additional cost to you. You must inform us of any defects within five days of receiving your purchase (Photographs may be required as proof of defect.).
In all other cases except for those mentioned above, please contact us at DutchCrafters.com to obtain an authorization for return. Unless the product is defective, we charge a 15% restocking fee plus all shipping costs on returns of non-furniture items. All furniture purchases are final.
Privacy & Security
Here at DutchCrafters.com, we understand that people are concerned about their personal information that is collected and how it is used when they are shopping online. We believe that our customers' personal information is their private property and are committed to protecting it.
Collecting and Sharing Personal Information
When you purchase from us, we only collect the personal information that we need to serve you. Besides sharing your address and phone number with our woodworkers and shippers for shipping purposes, we promise not to sell or share any of your personal information with any other company or organization.
Our Satisfied Customers
We may post messages that customers send us expressing their satisfaction with our products. With these messages, we normally include the customer's name, state, and the date of the message. No other personal information is shared.
Many web surfers are concerned about the use of 'cookies' on the Internet. We don't identify personal information with our cookies, such as who our visitors are. Our cookies cannot be read by other sites. Neither do we read other sites' cookies. Therefore, we don't know who you are or what you do on other sites.
You can shop and purchase on our site with confidence, knowing that we've taken the security measures to keep your information safe. When you make a payment in our online check out process, you are taken to a secure server at Authorize.Net where you enter your credit card information. When you click to submit the payment, the payment information is encrypted using 128-bit SSL technology and securely sent to an Authorize.Net transaction server. The server sends the data through the authorization network to the appropriate card issuer's bank using a secure propriety connection. When the authorization process is complete after about five seconds you'll receive an approval or decline response, and the Authorize.Net server stores the transaction. As a merchant, we do not store your credit card number when you make a payment online. In fact, we don't even see it. That information remains protected private data between you and the secure server. All the credit card numbers saved on the Authorize.Net server are masked, leaving only the first and last digits displayed to us.
To learn more about Authorize.Net, click here.
To learn more about SSL secure link, click here.
Caring for Your Amish Furniture
With just a little care, genuine hardwood furniture will last a lifetime-several lifetimes, in fact. Taking good care of your solid wood furniture ensures that it will remain beautiful and useful for years to come.Heat, Humidity and Hardwoods
Half the weight of freshly sawn wood is water. Amish furniture is crafted from wood that is carefully dried, retaining just enough moisture for the furniture to properly acclimate to the relative humidity in your home. The wood in furniture continues to exchange moisture with the air, shrinking and expanding in response to changes in heat and humidity. Here are some ways to ensure your solid hardwood furniture's longevity:
- Avoid drastic humidity changes. Use a humidifier in the winter and an air conditioner in the summer to keep the relative humidity at 25 to 35 percent.
- Avoid placing furniture directly in front of radiators, heat runs or fireplaces.
- Don't expose hardwood furniture to continuous direct sunlight.
- Store table leaves as close as possible to the table, so that the table leaves are adjusting to the same relative humidity as the table. Be sure to not store them in a damp basement or garage.
Keep Your Furniture Clean
It's surprisingly simple to protect and enhance hardwood's natural beauty. All that's needed is some tender loving care. Here are a few tips from the experts:
- Dust often to remove everyday abrasive particles from wood surfaces. Before dusting, lightly moisten a soft cloth (old T-shirt, baby diaper or cheesecloth that's been laundered) with a few drops of water or a dusting aid or polish. A dry cloth can leave hairline scratches on the finish. The trick is to moisten the cloth just enough to make dust adhere to it. The cloth should not be so damp that it wets the wood. Dust by following the grain pattern of the wood. When dusting, always lift lamps and other objects; don't slide them across the furniture's surface.
- Wood finishes benefit from an occasional polishing. Polish approximately once a month.
Furniture is made to be used and enjoyed. Accidents happen, especially when there are small children at home. Take these steps to keep damage from everyday life to a minimum:
- Use pads, cloth or coasters to prevent spills, stains and damage.
- Protect your finish by using felt under all accessories.
- Blot all spills immediately.
- Keep solvents, alcohol, nail polish and polish removers away from your furniture surfaces.
- Always lift furniture to move it; don't drag it.
- Open and close doors, drawers and lids gently.
- Avoid placing plastic or rubber objects on the wood finish, as their ingredients may react with those of the finish.
- Use a protective pad when writing with a ballpoint pen.
- Lift and place objects, do not drag them across the furniture surface.
The Amish are a religious group who find their heritage in the Protestant Reformation. Generally, the Amish reside in close-knit communities in 47 states of the United States as well as Ontario, Canada. The Amish population continues to grow, due to large family size and a church-member retention rate of approximately 80%. The largest concentrations of Amish in the United States are in Holmes County, Ohio, LaGrange County, Indiana, and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. By state, the largest Amish population is in Ohio, and the second largest is in Pennsylvania. There are an estimated 150,000 to 228,000 Amish in the United States in all groups, and another 1500 in Ontario, Canada.
There are as many as eight different groups within the Amish population, with the majority affiliated with one of five religious orders: Old Order Amish, New Order Amish, Andy Weaver Amish, Beachy Amish and Swartzentruber Amish. These churches operate independently from each other with differences in how they practice their religion and conduct their daily lives. The Old Order Amish are the largest group and the Swartzentruber Amish, an offshoot of the Old Order, are the most conservative.
The Amish are Anabaptists (a term which means re-baptizer)--a movement that also includes Mennonites, Brethren and others. The Anabaptists were considered radicals during the Reformation and were persecuted by both Catholics and Protestants. The Amish continue to believe in many of the conclusions of the 16th Century Anabaptists, including the concepts of individual freedom and the priesthood of all believers. They reject infant baptism and instead baptize adults upon a confession of faith. They also believe in a separation of church and state and practice pacifism. Their lives emphasize simplicity, humility, community, family and separation from the world.
The Amish have their roots in the Mennonite community. Mennonites were part of the early Anabaptist movement in Europe, which took place at the time of the Protestant Reformation. The Anabaptists believed that only adults who had confessed their faith should be baptized, and that they should remain separate from the larger society. Many early Anabaptists were put to death as heretics by both Catholics and Protestants, and many others fled to the mountains of Switzerland and southern Germany. Here began the Amish tradition of farming and holding their worship services in homes rather than churches.
The Amish originated in 1693 when a Swiss bishop named Jacob Amman and his followers broke from the Mennonite Church in an attempt to restore some of the early practices of the Mennonites. Amman had been an elder or bishop among the Swiss Brethren (Mennonite). Amman advocated a strong view on shunning (or the ban, which is a disassociation with members of the community who do not conform to the rules of the community--a form of discipline). The Amish and Mennonite churches still share the same beliefs concerning baptism, non-resistance, and basic Bible doctrines. They differ in matters of dress, technology, language, form of worship, and interpretation of the Bible.
Coming to North America
The Amish who split from Mennonites generally lived in Switzerland and in the southern Rhine river region. The Amish, like the Mennonites, were persecuted for their faith throughout the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries in Europe. Many were tortured and killed. Because of this, the Amish were a quiet people and constantly on the move.
In 1681, William Penn, an English Quaker, received ownership of the land that would eventually become the state of Pennsylvania. He decided to try a "holy experiment:" to establish a colony that would allow religious tolerance. Amish, Quakers, Mennonites, Moravians, Schwenkfelders and others in Europe responded to the opportunity by moving to the area. High taxes, high rents, inflation, wars and rumors of wars, the military draft, and religious persecution encouraged believers to leave Europe.
Amish settlers began to immigrate to Pennsylvania as early as 1720. The first sizable group of Amish arrived in Lancaster County in the 1720's or 1730's. A congregation was organized by 1749, when an ordained bishop named Jacob Hertzler came from Switzerland to lead the new settlers.
Waves of Amish emigrating from Europe continued throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. They settled in Lancaster County (PA), Holmes County (OH), northern Indiana and in smaller communities in Michigan, New York, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Ontario. Today they live in numerous states and Ontario, but the largest communities remain in Lancaster County, Holmes County, and northern Indiana. More recently some Beachy Amish have relocated in several locations in Central America in an attempt to remove themselves from the influences of modern society. There are no Amish living in Europe today.
The fascination that many people (including sociologists) have with the Amish culture and lifestyle sometimes dwarfs the simple fact that the Amish are Christian. It is this simple faith that compels them to the lifestyles they choose and provides them with the hope in their salvation.
The Bible is the sacred text of the Amish people. The Amish interpret the Bible literally and directly in many cases, which explains certain aspects of their lifestyle.
In addition to the Bible, there are unwritten rules on which the Amish people base their morals and way of life. The Ordnung is an oral tradition of rules that regulates how the Amish way of life should be conducted. Specific details of the Ordnung differ among various church districts. The rules are generally reviewed biannually and occasionally revised as needed.
The Amish believe that at its core, faith and life are not complex. As the world around them hurries by with cell phones and PDAs in a rush to make the next sale or run the kids off to soccer games, the Amish find freedom for the mind and soul in their adherence to simplicity.
While the early Anabaptists were concerned with the individual freedom of each believer, they also believed that it was important that the believer was solidly rooted in the community of faith. The Amish believe that faith finds expression in the way one treats one's neighbors, service and mutual accountability.
The Amish believe that Jesus set an example in putting others before himself to the extent that he denied his own selfish desires. The Amish model this attitude and lifestyle.
The Amish take very seriously (and literally) the words of Jesus. So as Jesus commanded his followers to love their enemies and not to resist an evil person, the Amish take him at his word. During the Reformation, many Anabaptists went willingly to their graves, praying for their persecutors right up until the end. Along with pacifism come other beliefs that follow the literal words of Jesus, such as an admonition not to swear oaths.
The Amish believe that the Church was founded to bear witness to the world, but that the followers of Jesus are called to be separate from the world. They believe in remaining quite separate from the rest of the world, physically and socially. Part of this may also be caused by the belief that association with others--often referred to as "The English"--may be polluting. Part may be because of the intense persecution experienced by their ancestors as a result of government oppression.
Appearance and Attire
Amish women and girls wear modest one-color dresses with long sleeves and a full skirt. They wear a cape or apron over the dress and fasten everything with pins or snaps. They do not cut their hair, which they wear up in a bun. They wear a prayer covering or bonnet on their heads. They do not wear jewelry or makeup.
Men and boys wear trousers with suspenders, solid-colored shirts, and suits or straight-cut coats of one color. They fasten their coats with hooks. They wear black socks and black or brown shoes and black or straw hats. Amish men wear beards after they are married. They do not grow mustaches because of the long association of mustaches with the military.
The Amish do not value formal education. Although they pay school taxes, the Amish have fought to keep their children out of public schools. In 1972, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark unanimous decision that exempted the Old Order Amish and related groups from state compulsory attendance laws beyond the eighth grade. Amish children generally attend school through the eighth grade, often in one-room schoolhouses with a single teacher. They learn the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. Higher education is considered unnecessary and something that can lead one away from a life of simplicity and humility as well as the community. However, the Amish know the importance of informal education, and many boys and girls learn the mechanics of farm life or other crafts at a young age.
The Amish avoid modern conveniences as an expression of their ideals of simplicity and separation from the world. Amish homes do not draw power from the electrical grid. Generally the Amish do not use electricity in their homes at all but some have generators to run machinery for work.
With very few exceptions, Old Order Amish congregations do not allow the owning or use of automobiles or farm tractors. However, they will ride in cars when needed.
They do not have radios, TV sets, personal computers, computer games, etc. In-home telephones are not normally allowed. Some families have a phone remote from the house or shop for business purposes or use answering services.
The Amish do not take photographs or allow themselves to be photographed. To do so would be evidence of vanity and pride. Also, it might violate the prohibition in Exodus 20:4, the second of the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that...is in the earth..."
Most Amish speak three languages: Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch) at home or when speaking with other Amish, High German in worship, and English at school and when speaking with anyone who is not Amish.
There is much neighboring in the Amish community, and helping each other is the most common way of socializing. The Amish carry no life or property insurance; the church assists in cases of major loss. Large families generally give assurance of care for the elderly. Only rarely do Amish retire to places other than the dawdyhaus, a small house built next to the main farm house. Retired Amish farmers do not receive Social Security.
Amish worship services are held every other Sunday morning. They are held in homes and conducted in the High German language. Services usually consist of singing, two prayers, Bible reading, a short opening sermon, and a main sermon. Singing is slow. Normally hymns are sung from the Ausbund of 1564--one of the oldest Protestant hymnals. Worship services often last for four hours or more.
Communion services are held twice yearly in the spring and fall. Before the service, a council meeting is held in which the attendees resolve any disagreements that they have with each other. They also discuss matters regarding proper lifestyle and conduct.
The Amish celebrate the traditional Christian holy days. They also observe a Fast Day on October 11.
Marriage and Family Life
Marriages outside the faith are not allowed. Couples are married in one of their homes during November or early December, after harvest season. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the days for weddings; these are the least busy days of the week.
Divorce is not permitted and separation is very rare. They are strictly monogamous and generally patriarchal. Sex roles are clearly defined. The average family size is 7-8 children.
Amish funerals are conducted in the home without a eulogy, flower decorations, or other display. The casket is plain, without adornment. At death, a woman is usually buried in her bridal dress. A simple tombstone is erected after burial like all the other tombstones in the Amish cemetery--in death as in life, no one person is elevated above another.
Occupation and the Philosophy of Work
Acceptable occupations in the Amish community are ones that emphasize community, do not require higher education, and avoid the use of technology, modern conveniences or labor-saving devises. Manual labor, hard work and thriftiness are virtues. A strong work ethic is certainly built into the Amish heritage.
In the past, most Amish were farmers. While many continue to farm, large tracks of land have become more difficult to acquire, and many Amish are turning to other acceptable occupations. These businesses generally involve trades that they have learned since childhood, like furniture building, quilt making or cooking. While Amish communities try to stay as isolated from the secular world as possible, the commercialization of their culture has made these products known to non-Amish consumers. The Amish dedication to hard work and the "bootstrapping" business style of the Amish community contributes to its success as members move from their farms into entrepreneurship.
Information for this article was collected from several websites:
Designers and Volume Contracts
Our physical and mailing address is 1877 Porter Lake Drive, Sarasota, FL, 34240. Click here to map.Here's more contact info:
Toll Free: 866-272-6773