8 Great Books About the Amish

February 3rd, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 7.35.31 PMThose wanting to know more about the Amish are in luck. Many authors have tackled the topic of the Amish and have looked at Amish life from a variety of perspectives. In this article, we will take a look at some of the best books on the market. There are books that deal with Amish history as well as what it is like to be Amish and live in an Amish world.

 

Whether you want to learn more about Amish history, get a feel for what it is like to be Amish or both, this is the Amish book guide for you.

 

History of the Amish: Revised and Updated

 

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History of the Amish: Revised and Updated is a popular entry into the history of the Amish. Noted Amish history expert, Steven M. Nolt’s well read work pulls together all of Amish history over the last 300 years. In History of the Amish, readers learn not just about the founding of the Amish, but also about their history and belief system. The end result is a book that is an easy and informative read. Read this one book and you will definitely have a better and fuller understanding of the Amish people and their culture.

 

The Amish and Amish Society by John A. Hostetler

 

Considered by many to be a classic on the topic of the Amish, The Amish by John A. Hostetler was originally published in 1952 and has sold nearly 800,000 copies. Amish historian and expert Steven M. Nolt as well as the author’s daughter Ann Hostetler have updated the newest version. For those looking for a good, easy to read primer on all things Amish, The Amish by John A. Hostetler is a must read. The work covers everything from religious beliefs to community life and a good deal more.

 

A nice companion to The Amish, also penned by Hostetler, is Amish Society. In Amish Society, the author dives in and explores Amish society and culture in greater detail and depth. Published in 1993 Amish Society has a more contemporary feel than The Amish, which was first published in 1952.

 

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Another exceptionally well researched book on the Amish comes from authors Donald B. Kraybill, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner and well-known Amish expert Steven M. Nolt. In The Amish, the authors, who spent over 25 years researching this work, examine every aspect of Amish life, culture, religion, belief systems, way of life and more. Coming in at over 500 pages and published in 2013, The Amish is a fast and modern read. Full of the latest information, readers are sure to find The Amish a great second book on the Amish. After you’ve read a basic primer on the Amish, you’ll find this seminal work to be a great investment.

 

Amish in Their Own Words

 

No doubt reading works from researchers and experts will help anyone looking to learn about the Amish. That stated, works from the Amish themselves stand as the second key source of information on the topic of the Amish. Brad A Igou’s work Amish in Their Own Words has carefully assembled writings from the Amish people. The excerpts include everything from letters to articles.

 

The idea behind the work is to give people a glimpse into the minds of the Amish themselves, and the book succeeds. If you are looking for a book that helps you get a feel for the Amish and understand a little better how they perceive themselves, then Amish in Their Own Words is an excellent choice.

 

Living Without Electricity

 

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Oftentimes people are quite interested in learning more about the day-to-day lives of the Amish. How the Amish live might feel like such a huge topic that it can be hard to know where to start, but with Living Without Electricity, readers can quickly get a feel for life is like on a daily basis for the Amish.

 

Written by Stephen Scott and Kenneth Pellman, Living Without Electricity explores the different ways that the Amish deal with not having a modern convenience that so many of us take for granted. If you are curious about how the Amish live without modern gadgetry and devices (and many are!) then you’ll love this easy to read and informative entry into the world of the Amish.

 

Rumspringa: To Be or Not to Be Amish

 

Just as how the Amish live without electricity draws attention and curiosity, so does the Amish custom of rumspringa. In Rumspringa: To Be or Not to Be Amish, author Tom Shachtman explores this coming-of-age ritual. Published in 2007, this book explores all aspects of rumspringa in considerable detail.

 

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Growing Up Amish: A Memoir

 

The topic of rumspringa is also touched on in Ira Wagler’s Growing Up Amish: A Memoir. The book is a true story detailing the life of Wagler from his early childhood through rumspringa and his decision to leave the Amish Church at 26.

 

20 Most Asked Questions About the Amish and Mennonites, and Plain Answers About the Amish Life

 

Those looking for a basic, but quick and informative read on the Amish will enjoy Merle and Phyllis Good’s 20 Most Asked Questions About the Amish and Mennonites. A similar book is Mindy Starns Clark’s Plain Answers About the Amish Life, which also provides a nice overview of Amish like and quickly answers scores of important questions.

 

Together, these books provide a wide array of information regarding the Amish and their culture. Those looking to understand the Amish and their way of life will find that a great deal has been written on the topic. The books included in this article are just some of the best on what is a truly fascinating topic.





What are Old Order Amish?

January 18th, 2016

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You may have heard the term “Old Order Amish,” but had not known what it is. In this article, we are going to explore Old Order Amish in greater detail. You’ll find that this is an interesting topic not just for those interested in the Amish way of life, but also for those with an appreciation of history.

 

The Amish people are complex people with a diverse history and unique belief system and tradition that continues to this day. The notion that there is “one kind of Amish” is a wrong notion. The complexities of the Amish community are well represented by the Old Order Amish.

 

The Ethno-Religious Roots of Old Order Amish

 

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The Old Order Amish are what is often referred to as an ethno-religious group. This term “ethno-religious” refers to the fact that the group has both a genetic and religious component. More famous examples of an ethno-religious group would be the Jews or French Protestant group the Huguenots who were inspired by the work of John Calvin. Individuals who consider themselves to be part of an ethno-religious group associate their identity with both their religion and their ancestral heritage. The Old Order Amish identification is thus a reference to both a religious identity and an ancestral one.

 

The Old Order Amish and the Separation from the Mennonites

 

 

When many outsiders think of the term “Amish,” they are thinking of the Old Order Amish. The Old Order Amish separated from the Mennonites in 1693. It is important to note that the Old Order Amish are the single largest group of the Amish. By 1990, there were Old Order Amish settlements in 20 states across the U.S. as well as one Canadian province.

 

Exploring the Complex History of Old Order Amish

 

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The creation of the Old Order Amish is an interesting one with a complex and interesting history. In general, the Old Order Amish are viewed as being more conservative than other Amish groups. There were a series of conferences held between 1862 and 1878. These conferences served to create clearer guidelines between the more conservative Old Order Amish and other Amish groups.

 

Today, there are other Amish groups including the Bachy Amish, New Order Amish and Swartzentruber Amish. The uses of technology can differ considerably between these groups. For example the Swartzentruber group typically refrain from using virtually all technology. In general, the Old Order Amish refrain from most forms of technology and do not use indoor plumbing or any kind of machinery that has a motor.

 

In terms of doctrine, the Old Order Amish follow the Dutch Mennonite Confession of Faith, which was adopted in 1623. This doctrine involves the shunning of excommunicated members and a belief that salvation can only be hoped for and not guaranteed. Additionally, the majority of Old Order Amish do not build churches but instead worship in private homes. In terms of dress, Old Order Amish opt for very conservative clothing.

 

The Amish-A Large and Growing Membership

 

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In terms of numbers, the Old Order Amish are growing quickly. 1990 membership numbers put Old Amish Order members at over 80,000 with close to 900 church districts. Old Order Amish can be found in Pennsylvania, Ohio and other locations throughout the United States and Canada. Many would assess the Nebraska Amish as being the most conservative group within Old Order Amish; this group lives mostly in Pennsylvania.

 

Like the Nebraska Amish, the Swartzentruber Amish are also very conservative. The Swartzentruber Amish speak Pennsylvanian German and often do not associate with or marry into other Old Amish groups.

 

The Old Order Amish differ considerably from the New Order Amish in several key ways. Some New Order Amish may use a limited amount of technology such as telephones or even electricity, which would never be condoned within the Old Order Amish. Additionally, the New Order Amish are often less strict in their implementation of the use of shunning.

 

The Amish Consist of Many Groups Spread Across the United States and Canada

 

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Ultimately, there is much more variety within the Amish than many outsiders would initially believe. The idea that there is one kind of “Amish” is not supported by the facts in the end. Within the Amish community there is a great deal of variety in belief systems, actions and lifestyles. Moreover, of great surprise to many outsiders, is the fact that not all Amish groups associate with one another. Quite to the contrary, many Amish groups will avoid others. The idea that the Amish are easy to define and categorize is, in the end, actually quite false.

 

The complex history of the Amish and the way that the different groups have developed over the centuries serves to underscore just how diverse the Amish are both in belief systems and in ways of life. In the end, the commonalities that the Amish share, such as their restricted use of technology, are matched or even surpassed by their differences. The Old Order Amish take a highly conservative approach to Amish teachings, beliefs and the Amish way of life. Understanding the Amish entails understanding the Amish as not one group but many who have diverse beliefs that stretch across a complex belief spectrum.

 





7 Inspiring Ideas to Decorate your Dining Table

January 2nd, 2016

 

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If you are like most people your dining table is, well, somewhat forgotten. It does its job, doesn’t ask for much, and like a well-behaved middle child it can be somewhat (and sadly) overlooked. Most of us look at our dining room table every day, but don’t take steps to bring it into our home decoration strategies. Yet, your dining table likely has a great deal of wonderful untapped potential and it deserves its own blog post.

 

The typical dining table takes up a lot of space in the average home. But with the right approach and strategy, it can be transitioned from forgotten to fabulous! Once you start using the seven tips we’ve outlined in this article, you’ll never want to go back. Let’s take a look at some fun, festive and creative ways to infuse some life into your dining table.

 

Tip One-Go Seasonal

 

easter-eggs-828955_960_720One of the easiest ways to breath new life into your dining room table is to simply “go seasonal.” Holiday themes ranging from Christmas or Hanukah to Halloween, New Years celebration, Valentine’s Day, Easter and the light and festive colors of summer are all great starting points. From this simple foundation, you can build interesting and fun ideas.

 

Tip Two-Glasswear, Vases and Plants

 

Glass wear, such as vases or other containers and plants such as flowers are an easy way to transform your dining room table. Bring natural beauty to your table doesn’t have to be difficult. Two or three short vases or other glass wear combined with seasonal flowers or plants can not only transform your dining table but your entire dining room. One word of caution: some plants are poisonous to pets, so stick with safe flowers and plants.

 

By opting for seasonal choices, your dining room table will have a fresh and vibrant look year round. If you really want to impress friends and family alike, integrate your dining table glass and plant choices with other décor in your living room. The end result is a subtle but well thought out look.

 

Tip Three-Go Beyond Considering What Goes On Top of Your Table

 

A great rug can do wonders to help integrate your dining table into the rest of your home. Decorating your dining table isn’t just about what goes on top of your table, but also how you frame the areas around your table.

 

A well designed rug that has been chosen to complement the colors you’ve chosen for the decorations on top of your table will work wonders. Many people skip rugs under the dining table, but a rug helps to add color, warmth and charm in an unexpected way. Adding a rug to your dining room, specifically under your dining table, serves to frame your dining area and, in the process, adds a level of elegance.

 

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Tip Four-Candles, Candelabras and Mood Lighting

 
Much like rugs are overlooked in relation to the dining room table, the same can often be stated for dining room lighting. Any table top decorations you select will benefit from adding the right kind of lighting whether it is a chandelier, candlesticks or candelabras or track mood lighting from above. The combination of the right rug and the right lighting choice can quickly and inexpensively elevate any dining experience.

 

Tip Five-Small Artwork

 

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Small artwork whether in the form of sculptures, glass, such as blown glass, carved wood or even small postcard sized and framed paints or artistic photos can add an unexpected but welcomed addition to your dining table. The trick to effectively using this tip is to think small and understated. Art pieces included on a dining table should by design be small for a range of practical reasons. While using this tip might take a little extra work, it is well worth the effort and artwork can deliver an impressive “wow” factor.

 

Tip Six-Selecting Placemats

 

Placemats can be a quick way to transform your dining table. Since placemats run the color spectrum and come in all kinds of styles, materials and textures, it is possible to create a highly customized look and feel. Think about the palette of your dining room and your chairs when selecting your placemats.

 

Tip Seven-The Table as Art

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Some tables are works of art all on their own. Selecting a new table is often just what is needed to change the look of an entire dining room. If you have an old and worn out dining table, a table that doesn’t work with your décor or simply don’t like the table you have, it’s time to consider making a change. After all, the tips we’ve outlined here will work much better when matched with a beautiful table!

 

Used together, these seven tips will definitely help you decorate your dining table like never before. All too often the dining table is overlooked and it is quite a shame. The large and usually central location of the typical dining table means that it has tremendous decorating potential. If you are interested in making your dining experience something more, then you’ll find that these fun and easy tips can transform the look and feel of your dining table. From mood lighting to placement selection to the use of rugs and artwork, there are plenty of options for getting more out of your dining table every day of the year.





How to Determine Table Seating Capacity for Table Top Sizes

December 1st, 2015

 

Each table style and size has varying seating capacities.  As a rough/general rule, every 24″ of table edge length will accommodate one chair.  For example, a 42 x 72″ table will accommodate 8 chairs.  One on each end (42″/24″ = 1.75, one chair)  and three on each side (72″/24″ = 3, three chairs).  For exceptions to this rule, please read on below.

 

Trestle Tables

 

60” tables can only fit one chair between the trestle legs

 

66” tables – some can fit two chairs between the trestle legs, others only one

 

Product codes that start with CWA will fit one chair
Product codes that start with WPA will fit two chairs
Product codes that start with NWA will fit two chairs

 

72” and longer tables can fit two chairs between the trestle legs.

 

As a general rule trestle legs are usually set in about 18” from the end of the table. Anytime one or more leaves are added to the table the distance from the end of the table to the trestle legs increases as the table halves move apart to make room for the leaves.

 

As another general rule the overhang on the table’s short sides is about 7 to 10 inches from the trestle leg. The base size stays the same for either a 42” wide or 48” wide table top. On the 42” wide top the overhang will be about 7”, on the 48” wide top the overhang will be about 10”.

 

See our Trestle Table Seating Tips post to learn how chairs that overlap the trestle supports can not be fully pushed in under the table when expanded with leaves.

 

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Round Tables

 

A 36” round table will take 3 to 4 chairs; with two leaves you have an oval table that can fit 6 chairs

 

A 42” round table will take 4 chairs; with two leaves you have an oval table that can fit 6 chairs

 

A 48” round table will take 4 to 5 chairs; with two leaves you have an oval table that can fit 8 chairs

 

A 54” round table will take 5 to 6 chairs; with two leaves you have an oval table that can fit 8 chairs

 

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Leg & Pedestal Tables

 

The general rule is two feet per person. So a 72” table will seat 3 people on each side, 1 on each end which comes to 8 chairs.

 

When you add 2 leaves you add 2 more chairs, likewise when you add 4 leaves you add 4 more chairs.

 

For example: a 72” table with 4 leaves goes from 6 people to 10 people around the table.

 

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Trestle Table Seating Tips

November 24th, 2015

 

 
A trestle-style dining table is the pride of a home, but it merits extra consideration to fit into a dining room design. The trestles affect how many chairs fit around your table.
Buchanan Trestle Dining Table from Amish Furniture Factory 
Trestles create bulk under the table, so you will be able to push some chairs all the way in, while others will only fit in as far as the trestle. You may like that, but it means you have to allot more space for your table and chairs.
 
Different numbers of table leaves change the distance between the trestles. In this way, certain table sizes allow chairs to fit around the trestles instead of facing them directly. Try experimenting with different table sizes to see how you like the way the seating fits.
 
A trestle table is such a robust piece of heirloom furniture, many people choose them and are willing to try different seating arrangements. We have an article on other kinds of dining tables right here.
 





Hardwood Bar Stool Varieties

November 22nd, 2015

 

 
Scoop Bar Stool with round swivel seat and Windsor baseAmish bar stools come in many shapes. Their sizes? Taller than a chair, they’re usually available in both 24” and 30” heights. Although we have a section of the store for bar stools, don’t stop there: virtually every dining chair has a bar stool option.
 
This video showcases several bar stool types, starting with the stationary bar chair, which is simply a tall chair. The swivel bar stool is the fun kind, while the memory swivel turns back to its starting position once you get off.
 
Saddle bar stools have curvy, minimal seats while saddle scoop bar stools are more human-shaped. Almost every bar stool we have can be upholstered. There is so much variety that if you’re looking for some bar stools, you’ll find the right one here.
 





The Mission Display Bookcase with Seedy Glass

November 22nd, 2015

 

 
The Mission Display Bookcase with Seedy Glass has two elegant mullioned glass doors. The seedy glass is quite transparent but has the texture of bubbles inside. This bookcase comes standard with four adjustable shelves but you can give us a call for numerous customization options. We’re showing the bookcase in quarter-sawn white oak with the Michael’s Cherry finish. The standard size is 60” tall, 13” deep and 42” wide with a 46” wide top. The video shows the standard bookcase; here’s a wider one with an open center and side doors:
 
Mission Display Bookcase with Seedy Glass from Amish Furniture Factory
 





Children’s Furniture and Wooden Toys

November 22nd, 2015

 

 

Kid's Folding Desk with Chalk Board, Dry Erase Board, and Attached Chair

This child’s easel desk has a chalk board on one face that flips to a dry erase board on the other, and a fold-away chair.

Because kids know children’s furniture is just for them, they adore it. If you’re deciding on a gift for your kids, rest assured they will get a lot of use out of a child sized table and chairs, because of how versatile a table is. Think of all the activities they can do at their comfortable height.
 
But there are plenty of other types of child-sized furniture that are fun to use. Watch the video to see rocking horses, rocking chairs, high chairs and all kinds of toys.
 
The toys are handcrafted with the same impeccable care as our Amish furniture. We even have games that they can play on their children’s table.
 
If you’re an adult, even you might like to accessorize your space with handmade wooden toys and gorgeous playable games.
 





Hardwood Furniture Custom Finishes: Two-Tone and Burnishing

November 22nd, 2015

  Here we are showing a table and chairs whose custom finishes match them uniquely to each other. The set has a two-tone finish. The black table base is modern and makes the stained top more lively. The matching chair has a black base and back, and stained seat. For more character, the stained parts are burnished. Burnishing is a simple process but the results are brilliant. Once the furniture is stained and dry, mix more stain with black paint and gently feather it on the right places with a rag. Your burnished details have more depth, as shown on the rounded table edge and contoured chair seat. Burnishing is also a useful antiquing technique for distressed furniture. Call us if you would like to customize your furniture finishes. To get started and look at our regular finishes, click here

Arts and Crafts Pub Table from Amish Furniture Factory

This Arts and Crafts Pub Table has a two-tone finish. Watch the video to see a table with a burnished edge.

 





The Modesto Barrister Bookcase

November 22nd, 2015

 

 
Modesto 4-Door Barrister Bookcase with Leaded GlassThe Modesto Barrister Bookcase has glass doors that lift up and slide in. We’re showing the leaded glass but plain glass is available. You may ask about different leaded glass patterns available.
 
This video provides a rare glimpse of rustic quarter sawn white oak with the knots showing; call us about special wood choices when they are not on the website, and we just might surprise you. This bookcase comes standard with four doors, but two, three, four and five-door heights are available.