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Amish furniture.

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Amish furniture have been maintained over decades as a widely used for interior decoration resource.

These furniture are manufactured by the Amish, a community united by strong traditions and principles, and are known for their simple lifestyle and often disconnected from modern society.

Amish furniture is made entirely of wood, and is usually constructed without wood sheets or industrial agglomerates, maintaining the traditional style and philosophy of the community.

Since the 1920s, when Amish furniture was “discovered” on a popular level by Americans, they began to be valued for its originality and quality.

Amish furniture first drew attention in the 1920s, when American popular art was “discovered” and merchants and historians valued the beauty and quality of the pieces.

Amish furniture schools.

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Many different Amish furniture schools emerged, and all in one way or another brought their particular touch, both in the design and construction of them.

  • The Jonestown School.

The Jonestown School began in the late eighteenth century in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, and is known for its hand-painted and decorated with flowers in three panels chests.

Some of these chests are displayed in the Smithsonian Museum and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

  • Soap Hollow School.

Designed and built in Soap Hollow, Pennsylvania, this furniture usually painted with bright colors, particularly reds, golds and blacks.

The designs of Henry Lapp, furniture maker of Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, are the ones that most closely resemble the traditional style.

Lapp was one of the first to shelve the influence of painting furniture Germanic style, choosing a very simple and without decorative elements in their style pieces.

As a curiosity, it should be noted that the Lapp catalog included watercolors of their designs, and is currently exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

A high case watch manufactured in 1801 by Johannes Spitler was sold in 1986 by Sotheby’s for more than 200,000 euros.

Style and design of Amish furniture.

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Amish furniture are designed in different styles, and each has its own distinctive features.

  • Shaker style.

Shakers furniture is simple and functional, although they have an elegant touch.

Its design is very simple and focuses on the functionality of the furniture and durability.

Many design details of Shakers furniture can be seen in modern furniture.

  • Mission style.

The Mission furniture design style is similar in some ways to the Shakers.

This furniture is characterized by its straight lines and exposed carpentry appliqués.

Many decoration experts and designers consider them clean and modern designs.

  • Queen Anne style.

This Amish furniture design style contrasts directly with the Shaker and the Mission.

They are considered more traditional furniture, using ornate moldings and distinctive ornamentation details.

There are also other styles of Amish furniture design, such as Southwestern, Rustic, Cottage, Country, Quaker and Beachfront.

How Amish furniture is built.

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Because of their strong beliefs, the Amish avoid the use of electricity, and many of the woodworking tools they use work with hydraulic, pneumatic, and diesel compressors.

Most communities allow some technology, and concessions can be made in the case of carpentry, as the trade often supports several families within the community.

Great attention is paid to the details of the wood in the furniture manufacturing process, and each piece of wood is selected by hand to match the specific furniture that is built.

While they are not very sophisticated furniture, and are built with very little or no modern technology, Amish carpenters pay close attention to details, such as the grain of the wood and the way they glue the pieces.

Amish furniture is also valued for its sustainability, and is considered an ecological product.

Amish carpenters take pride in their work and see their products as pieces of art and furniture to be used for several generations.

Wood Amish furniture.

Amish furniture is built with a wide variety of woods (oak, maple, cherry, beech, mahogany, walnut, cedar, etc).

  • Red Oak.

Red oak is one of the options preferred by consumers of American furniture for its warmth, color and durability.

This wood is typically found in the eastern United States, particularly in the Appalachian Mountains.

  • White Oak.

White oak is a little harder than red oak and can be cut to show more spots and streaks in rays.

The old aspect of white oak makes it one of the materials preferred by the designers of Shakers and Mission furniture.

  • Maple wood.

Maple wood offers a spectrum of beauty from different angles, and is a significantly harder wood than oak.

The maple is growing in popularity for the construction of Amish furniture due to its beauty and durability.

  • American Beech.

American beech is white with a red tint and easily bends when steamed.

Depending on the Amish school, it is widely used mainly for the construction of comfortable bedrooms.

  • Elm wood.

The elm varies in color from almost white to brown with a red tint and is quite stiff and heavy.

It is generally used to build beds, tables and furniture that need to offer good stability.

  • Mahogany wood.

Mahogany is normally used in high quality furniture due to its attractive finish.

As mahogany matures, its color varies from yellowish or pinkish to dark red or brown.

  • Walnut.

The walnut is heavy, hard and rigid and varies in color from almost white to dark brown.

Walnut is harder than oak and is distinguished by extreme contrasts of light and dark colors.

  • Cedar wood.

Cedar has a deep pink glow and stripes of clear golden sapwood, and that is why it is used in Amish furniture that is used in living rooms and living rooms.

This wood offers furniture a more sophisticated and attractive style.

  • Pine wood.

The pine is a soft wood, and tends to have more knots than a hard wood, in addition to the passage of time it can adopt a yellowish color.

Although it is not one of the woods preferred by the Amish to build their furniture, they use it for its low cost compared to others.

A tradition that passes from generation to generation.

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The manufacture of Amish furniture is often a skill that is passed through many generations.

Most Amish children rarely attend school beyond completion, and often dedicate themselves to helping in their homes and family businesses.

Many families become known for their specific design details in the construction of furniture, and specialize in a type of furniture.

Many Amish carpenters focus only on the construction of outdoor furniture, others on pieces for the living room or bedroom.

No Amish furniture is identical to another because of the care that is taken when selecting wood, and carpenters often try to highlight the characteristics of each individual piece as if it were their personal seal.


  • Forman, Benno M. German Influences in Pennsylvania Furniture, in Arts of the Pennsylvania Germans, ed. Scott T. Swank and others. New York: Norton, 1983: 102-70.
  • Bird, Michael and Terry Kobayashi. A Splendid Harvest: Germanic Folk and Decorative Arts in Canada. Toronto: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1981.
  • Kaufman, Stanley A. and Ricky Clark. Germanic Folk Culture in Eastern Ohio. Walnut Creek, Ohio: German Culture Museum, 1986.
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