In the furniture community, anything that is Amish made has a certain status, but what exactly does that mean? Its means that Amish made gazebos are made with techniques passed down for generations. Amish built barns are constructed without any electric-powered tools. Amish chicken coops are made to last decades and withstand all kinds of weather. Amish made furniture has a history and status that is inextricably linked with that of the Amish people themselves.
A Short History of the Amish
In the late 17th century, swarms of Swiss people migrated from Switzerland because of a split in the Swiss Mennonite Church that lead to their persecution. They settled in Pennsylvania and parts of the Midwest, creating close-knit communities that centered themselves on ethics of integrity, self-sufficiency, and hard work. Members of the Amish community are committed to living basic lives and as modern conveniences like electricity and automobiles developed, they continued living as they always had. They do use gas or diesel compressors to power things like refrigerators — which they need in order to comply with food safety laws to store the milk they produce and sell — and some of the tools they use to make furniture. As they are largely off of the electric grid, their choices of livelihood are a bit limited and those who do not want to be farmers often turn to furniture making instead.
Amish Furniture 101
Between the late 1800s and the 1920s the arts and crafts movement in the United States developed. Early factories tended to mass-produce items that had a poor design quality and lower aesthetic value, so this movement sought out creative designs and quality products. By the 1920s, Amish furniture had gained nationwide attention as this movement “discovered” early American folk art and dealers were more concerned with the beauty and quality of pieces. Their pieces — which range from Amish made gazebos to Amish sheds and pergolas — commonly come in two styles: Shaker and Mission. The Mission style is simple and clean, defined by classic straight lines and exposed joinery. Shaker style is simple as well, but primarily designed with durability and functionality. Although their styles are straightforward, Amish furniture is well known for its intricate details and finish completed by hand.
When you purchase Amish made gazebos, tables, or chairs, you know that it was made with incredible attention and care. By using simple tools and trusted techniques, the Amish create long-lasting furniture that you can proudly hand down for generations to come.