Type: Analysis
Pages: 2 | Words: 371
Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Kraybill commences the narration with a statement without a definite answer — why do Amish use electricity in some cases, and don’t in others. Firstly, along with the technological development, electrical lines were built. The Amish were using batteries at that time, as they could be used for limited purposes and did not link them with the outside world in any way. Power lines, coming from the big cities, were fully inacceptable in the views of Amish leaders. However, generating power from the autonomic generators, fueled by gasoline or diesel, became acceptable, especially for use by the farmers. The leaders didn’t allow using any innovations, and only batteries that came from the past were good to go. The Amish also rejected 110-volt alternating current, as it was a symbol of new age, of the larger society and technological progress. So far as most new devices used AC, the Amish made themselves automatically more isolated from the rest of the world.

In order to maintain milk business, Amish farmers had to use bulk tanks for milk storage, and the last ones required electricity to power the stirring engines. In order not to break the old order that ruled Amish society, a compromise was derived, allowing using 12-volt electricity to power the milk stirrers. Batteries served as energy source, and the Amish used generators to recharge the batteries. Later church leaders allowed using generators for welding, as it was necessary for the farmers who needed to maintain their equipment in proper condition. Carpentry also became involved in using electricity for simplifying of certain tasks.

The 80-s brought a new development to the Amish culture — the inverters, which converted 12 volts to 110. The source of the energy was still as of a battery, but the transformed electricity was used for cash cashiers, soldering guns etc. Such innovations depend on the local bishops of every church who can either allow or forbid them. Despite the use of electricity in some forms, it is still generally forbidden in the Amish society, and serves a symbol of the new world. The Amish still use gas lantern for lighting, and the limited use of electricity does not allow new electricity-run devices to enter the life of this society.

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