Amish Buggies: They Come in Colors

When I bring 5-pound bags of Wenger’s famous ham-loaf frozen from Pennsylvania to Florida, the plastic-coated tubs of meat are wrapped in newspaper and then shrink-wrapped in plastic. The wrapping on one of the packages revealed answers to the intriguing question: Who make Amish buggies?

Amish Buggies1_5x5_300

Writer Jack Brubaker born in Bird-in-Hand, PA keeps Lancaster Countians informed about local culture, history, and humor in his syndicated column The Scribbler. In the Tuesday, October 1, 2013 edition of the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era, Jack noted that a reader from Mount Joy, PA requested more details about Amish buggies. The reader had never seen a used buggy lot and wondered if the Amish recycle buggies. Also, he had been to Indiana recently and saw the Amish using buggies with slanted undercarriages that looked like an armored Humvee. Here are the main points of Jack The Scribbler’s response to his reader:

  • “Jake King, the Amish operator of Weavertown Coach, along the Old Philadelphia Pike between Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse, says there are about 17 manufacturers of new Amish buggies in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania,” including his company which has its own wheelwright shop.
  • Buggy-making is a cooperative effort:  Five or six shops make buggy bodies, known as “the box.” Other businesses make axles, springs and wheels. Still others assemble fiberglass floors and side panels.
  • King says his various employees become good at one thing: “You have to be a good electrician, painter and upholstery trimmer.”
  • What is the cost of a new buggy? “The average carriage for the ‘young guys’ sells for about $ 8000, with a more elaborate dashboard and better grade of upholstery than the ordinary type of buggy which ranges from $ 6000-6500.
  • Buggy vs. car: Buggy resale is high. Buggies require a horse: $3000 for the animal plus harness and feed. But, King notes, “they also don’t drink $ 4-per-gallon gasoline.”
Courtesy Google Images
Courtesy Google Images                                          (Real . . . or a Photoshop job?)

The different colors and design reflect the owner’s community: Gray (PA), Black (Ohio and Indiana), Yellow (Byler Old Order Amish in Big Valley, Mifflin County, PA), White (Ohio), Brown (New Wilmington, PA and New York). Honestly, this surprised me as I think I’ve only ever seen black or dark gray buggies.

Like most Mennonites, Amish are thrifty, so of course they recycle their buggies, either through private sales or at spring “mud sales.”

 

Question Mark w border1_1x1_300

 

Are there Amish buggies in your community?

What new fact, opinion, or question can you add to the discussion?

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20 thoughts on “Amish Buggies: They Come in Colors

  1. Colored coded horse-drawn buggies, what will they come up with next? Colors enhance and enrich our lives in so many ways. The flowers that surround us, the colors we choose for our clothes, the color of our hair (mine changes periodically), always going back to my roots! The color we paint our houses and now even our personalities are identified by colors. Which color describes you best? Your BLOGs always take my mind in so many directions. Thanks for the stimuli.

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    1. I’ll choose red today. But I also like purple. Old Order Amish women often wear bright colors under their black aprons: dresses of bright blues and green, reds, hot pink, even purple. Women love beauty and have to express it with clothing, flowers, fancy recipes. Thanks for taking the topic today and pushing it on step further, Carolyn.

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  2. This has to be a first. I’ve never seen a colorful Amish buggy before. So is the photo real? 😉

    My folks lived in the Pennsylvania-Deutsche area. I admire the Amish’ resourcefulness, their cooking and their neighborliness. Thanks for sharing, Marian.

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    1. Judy, this is what I think. I believe the photo with the flame wisps is photoshopped. (The wheels, I think, give it away as fake.) However, Jack Brubaker, the Scribbler, is a reputable source, so I have to think that Amish buggies to come in assorted colors. Hard to believe . . . I know! Thanks for observing and commenting.

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  3. I absolutely respect and admire the thrift and recycle aspect of the Amish culture — it resonates right down to my core.

    When Len and I vacationed on Mackinac Island (no vehicles allowed – a horse and buggies/carriages only) we enjoyed watching a multitude of young couples who appeared to be honeymooning. We weren’t sure if they were Amish, Brethren, or Quaker, but it was clear from their clothing’s and head coverings that they were one of those spiritual traditions, or something very similar.

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  4. I never thought much about buggies before. I had no idea who made them or how much they cost. I’ve also have only ever seen the dark buggies. Even if this one is photo-shopped (the wheels do look like they don’t got with the buggy), it’s still fun. I wonder if Amish or Mennonite buggies might sometimes have smaller, less flashy, but colorful symbols somewhere that is not so observable? Something that perhaps personalizes the buggy?

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      1. Perhaps Hello Kitty, Marian. 🙂
        No, seriously I had never thought about it before, but now I wonder. Do people put their names on them for instance, or do kids or courting couples doodle inside?

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  5. There are many Amish farmers in my area of upstate NY. I think I’ve only seen black carriages here. Perhaps some are deep gray or dark brown, but the impression is black with all black clothing in men and on the clotheslines. Somebody has to be making all those buggies. Now I know. Thanks, Marian, for an interesting lesson about what I see.

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    1. Yes, the Amish make allowances for their young men, allowing them to sow some “wild oats” before they settle down to a calmer, married life. Thanks for your observations, Elaine.

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  6. Thanks for bringing up this topic; all my neighbors are Amish, and I’m so accustomed to seeing buggies that I’ve come to take them for granted. It’s good to see daily objects with new eyes, though. I suspect Photo Shop on the photo, but if my husband were given a used buggy and some paint, I also suspect he’d be more than happy to make it reality…

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    1. I didn’t realize you lived in plain country. What colors are the buggies where you live, I wonder. It sounds as though hubby like to color outside the lines, think outside the box . . . ! It’s always nice to hear from you. Hope you had a Happy Easter!

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