AuthorTopic: The Amish Horse-Drawn Buggy Is More Tech-Forward Than You Think  (Read 1220 times)

Offline jdwheeler42

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The Amish Horse-Drawn Buggy Is More Tech-Forward Than You Think
« on: January 15, 2017, 12:32:36 PM »
Go to http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/technology/a24666/how-the-amish-build-a-buggy/ for links and pictures....


The Amish Horse-Drawn Buggy Is More Tech-Forward Than You Think


The tech inside this 19th-century conveyance isn't stuck in the 19th century.


By Matthew Jancer


  Jan 9, 2017 

Despite what you heard, the Amish aren't against technology. Communities adopt new gadgets such as fax machines and business-use cell phones all the time—so long as the local church approves each one ahead of time, determining that it won't drastically change their way of life.

So it is with the Amish horse-drawn buggy. You might have thought the technology inside this 1800s method of transportation stopped progressing right around then. Instead, buggy tech keeps advancing, and buggy makers have become electricians and metalworkers to build in all the new tech you can't see under the traditional black paint.


Even if you skip luxury options such as a propane-powered heater, cupholders, and speedometer, a buggy is an expensive thing.


One builder in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, was rather busy when we spoke. In a half-hour, four people called in to discuss orders. Amish people often shy away from using their names and businesses in publication, but one of the shop's builders was happy to talk about all the new system being developed for this old technology.


Brakes

Buggy brakes are automotive-style, non-powered drum or disc brakes mounted to two wheels. When a driver wants to stop, he or she halts the horse using the reins and halts the buggy by stepping on the brake pedal so that it doesn't run into the horse. Our builder estimates 90 percent of buggy buyers stick with drums, in part because of the old-fashioned aesthetics—braking systems on buggies are very visible—and partly because all drum components can be made in Amish communities.


"Back in the '60s, a local Amish man started going through junkyards and getting the old seven-inch VW brakes," our builder says, "salvaging them, repairing them, and cleaning them up, and retrofitting them to buggies. After a while he started getting good castings made. Now all the buggy brakes are manufactured by buggy shops."


Builders cast the drums in steel and the backer plates and shoes in aluminum-tin alloy. "We'll buy the castings, and we'll machine, we'll drill the holes, we'll process them, and install the components," he says. "We actually bond our own shoes. We buy brake lining from a brake company in Ohio."

The few disc brakes used on buggies are off-the-shelf parts bought from outside Amish communities and usually were manufactured for dune buggies. For both drums and discs, the brake master cylinder, which moves the hydraulic fluid that actuates the brakes, is mounted underneath the body near an Amish-made pedal assembly whose foot pedal pokes up through the floor into the interior. The master cylinders are made of anodized aluminum at an Amish shop, also in Ohio.

Electrical


States with large Amish populations, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, have laws that require buggies to light up when sharing public roads with automotive traffic. Which means these old-fashioned vehicles have electrical components.



"Ninety-nine percent of buggies are built with a dash—a console on the front panel—and in that switch box is all the switches you need," says our builder. "We have headlights, taillights, interior lights, and a turn signal switch."

Shops buy LED components and assemble systems based on a customized turn signal developed by Lancaster County's Amish builders 50 years ago. It's a pedestal lamp with an amber headlight on the front and a red taillight on the back, one lamp for each side of the buggy. Bulbs stay on low-beam during normal use, but flicking a turn signal toggle switch activates a brake-light-style system that turns on the high-beams. There's your Amish turn signal: A buggy whose left-side headlight and taillight are brighter than their right-side counterparts is about to turn left.


"We actually looked into doing financing through the banks, but we don't have titles for buggies, so the banks are squeamish about it."


To power these lights, batteries are all over the place. "For many, many years we just simply used a standard deep-cycle marine battery because everything was incandescent, and we needed more power," says the builder. Nowadays, they use cordless tool batteries. A single 20-volt/6-amp battery, the type that powers an electric drill, runs the whole electrical system for two to three hours on a charge. Those traveling for longer carry spare batteries.

"There was actually an alternator system attempted in the last five years," he says. "It worked about 60 percent, but it never took off."

Body

The main body is fiberglass. It's pre-manufactured off-site and shipped to Amish builders across the country for finishing. They add aluminum components to areas that see a lot of wear, such as door sills. Everything else is white oak or ash wood framing stretched over with fabric, plusher linings for interior surfaces, and a tough polyester for exterior surfaces, all to save weight.


"Back in the '60s, a local Amish man started going through junkyards and getting the old seven-inch VW brakes."



"A new technology is thermally modified wood," our builder says. "Thermally modified is, basically, they cook the livin' daylights out of it. Like a kiln. Your common dried lumber, they take it down to 10 to 20 percent moisture. Thermally modified is taken down to almost zero-percent moisture. They just bake the moisture out of it, and then it's stabilized and real hard to rot."

Tires and Wheels


Amish buggies roll on either steel or solid rubber tires, but our builder says most use steel. Both are built in-house. "Your steel-tire buggy actually pulls easier than a rubber-tire one because of the compression of the rubber," he says. "Now, if you'd have pneumatic tires it'd be different, but with a solid rubber tire it has compression. Of course, the pro with rubber is that it'll be quieter."

Rubber tires also stress the turning mechanism (the fifth wheel) harder, so brakes are mounted on the rear wheels if a buggy has rubber tires. Steel-tire buggies have the brakes on the front wheels because the sliding of metal on road takes some of the stress off the fifth wheel. For the wheels mounted within the tires, they're wood, steel, aluminum, or fiberglass.

"I prefer the wooden wheel yet," the builder says. "That's my number-one choice, for several reasons. It's quieter, and it's repairable. If you bust a spoke or something, you can easily pop off a tire, replace a spoke, and pop it back together again." In the past five years, Amish buggy builders have developed an automotive-style tubular-steel torsion bar suspension that mounts the body over traditional leaf springs or, more recently, air bags.

How the Amish Buy a Buggy



Shady Lane Wagons


Like car-shopping, the first step is to choose a general model of buggy as a base to build upon. You could opt for a two-seater, four-seater, half-enclosed, completely open, and so on. Then you pile on the options from the shop's checklist. Even if you skip luxury options such as a propane-powered heater, cupholders, and speedometer, a buggy is an expensive thing.

"Average cost of a buggy is, I'm gonna say, $8,000," says our builder. Families usually have several types at once, for different uses, and each one they buy outright with cash. "We actually looked into doing financing through the banks," he says, "but we don't have titles for buggies, so the banks are squeamish about it." If somebody needs it, though, builders will finance them a buggy without the banks.

"A lot of people will get 20 or 30 years out of a buggy before they do any major rebuilding of it. There's a strong demand for good used buggies because of youth. Most people will buy their 16-year-old son a horse, a harness, and a used buggy. And then we have people who trade in their buggy every five to eight years. It's like the mainstream world. A lot of these buggies will be running 40 or 50 years, rebuilt several times."
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Offline RE

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Re: The Amish Horse-Drawn Buggy Is More Tech-Forward Than You Think
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2017, 01:20:32 PM »
IOW, the Amish are total hypocrites!  lol.

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Re: The Amish Horse-Drawn Buggy Is More Tech-Forward Than You Think
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2017, 09:07:37 PM »
IOW, the Amish are total hypocrites!  lol.

RE

No they are not.  It is all about the Ordnung.

Quote
In the 1700’s the Anabaptist believers began to create rules within each congregation called the Ordnung, a German term that means order or discipline. This practice has survived to the present day especially among the Amish people.  Today each Amish church district (congregation) boasts its own set of Ordnung rules.  Although remaining unwritten, these rules are taught to Amish of every age beginning with the very young.  Twice each year these rules are reviewed (at communion time) where they can be altered to add or subtract as necessary.  The Ordnung is not necessarily considered the law of God, but rather a list of guidelines for daily living.  They give each church its distinctive character.  The Amish people feel it reflects God’s orderliness which stands in stark contrast with the disorderliness of the world.
...
The purpose of the Ordnung is simple.  The Amish believe that without a detailed set of rules, over time the church will lose its identity.  These rules govern everything that would threaten their existence such as style of clothing, family life, worship, and education.  When a young Amish man or woman is baptized, he or she promises never to forsake the Ordnung.  If they do, they will be excommunicated. One Amish woman said, “The Ordnung is not meant to tell us what to do, just what we are not to do.”<-- http://amishinsights.com/amish-news/index.php/amish-news/the-ordnung-rules-but-not
Emphasis mine.

The Ordnung is exactly what we as Diners should embrace to be in harmony with our collapsing asses.  Limits and appropriate use of technology and resources and the cultivation of brotherly love in so doing.  I know you were joking but no harm in pulling out the Ordnung. Consider humanity to be the church! 

Offline RE

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We Need a BIGGER ORDNUNG!
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2017, 09:19:37 PM »

The Ordnung is exactly what we as Diners should embrace to be in harmony with our collapsing asses.  Limits and appropriate use of technology and resources and the cultivation of brotherly love in so doing.  I know you were joking but no harm in pulling out the Ordnung. Consider humanity to be the church!

We're going to need a Bigger Ordnung than the Amish have.   ::)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/VquLerRp-ps" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/VquLerRp-ps</a>

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Re: The Amish Horse-Drawn Buggy Is More Tech-Forward Than You Think
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2017, 09:21:52 PM »
Yes, a much bigger one!

Offline RE

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Re: The Amish Horse-Drawn Buggy Is More Tech-Forward Than You Think
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2017, 09:28:32 PM »
Yes, a much bigger one!

Perhaps the Diners need to set up a new Ordnung?  I'll start the Diner Ordnung with this one

1- Money must be repudiated.  It is destructive to our way of life.

Feel free to add rules to the Diner Ordnung.

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Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: The Amish Horse-Drawn Buggy Is More Tech-Forward Than You Think
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2017, 11:24:09 PM »
Yes, a much bigger one!

Perhaps the Diners need to set up a new Ordnung?  I'll start the Diner Ordnung with this one

1- Money must be repudiated.  It is destructive to our way of life.

Feel free to add rules to the Diner Ordnung.

RE
This is what I love about the Diner.... I had no idea when I posted that article that the discussion would head off on this tangent....

While I love the idea of your first rule, RE, it is not very practicable.... unless and until we can form a completely independent community, or the financial system collapses, it will be virtually impossible to get rid of money altogether.

In its place:

1. No Diner, at any time for any reason, shall charge another Diner interest.
Any transactions done over a sufficiently long time period for inflation to be a factor should be denominated in something which has a stable value.

2.  Anything that requires the use of money should be considered unsustainable, to be avoided whenever possible.



And on a slightly different note:


3.  Do not use more energy over the course of a year than can be collected during the year.
Not to be interpreted too strictly; for example, if you have a four-year coppice wood rotation, then you only collect 4-year-old stems, never dip into the 3-year-old ones.

4.  For any technology used by the community, someone in the community should understand it thoroughly.
Being able to build it from scratch, given sufficient time, is the quintessential test of thorough understanding.
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

Offline RE

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Re: The Amish Horse-Drawn Buggy Is More Tech-Forward Than You Think
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2017, 07:04:34 AM »
While I love the idea of your first rule, RE, it is not very practicable.... unless and until we can form a completely independent community, or the financial system collapses, it will be virtually impossible to get rid of money altogether.

In its place:

1. No Diner, at any time for any reason, shall charge another Diner interest.
Any transactions done over a sufficiently long time period for inflation to be a factor should be denominated in something which has a stable value.

2.  Anything that requires the use of money should be considered unsustainable, to be avoided whenever possible.



And on a slightly different note:


3.  Do not use more energy over the course of a year than can be collected during the year.
Not to be interpreted too strictly; for example, if you have a four-year coppice wood rotation, then you only collect 4-year-old stems, never dip into the 3-year-old ones.

4.  For any technology used by the community, someone in the community should understand it thoroughly.
Being able to build it from scratch, given sufficient time, is the quintessential test of thorough understanding.

I assume a complete collapse of the monetary system.  Once that occurs, we simply don't replace it and go to a gift economy.  Communities of necessity will need to be small and self sufficient.

If you feel there MUST be money as long as we still have industrial civilzation going, then all the basics of food, shelter, water, clothing and health care should be provided free.  These are basic human rights if you are born into a given society.  They don't need to be fancy, for a single person an efficiency apartment, a SNAP Card food budget, two changes of clothing plus warm clothing in a cold climate and a nationalized health care system.  Anything else or more and fancier things can be on the money economy.

For your #3 Energy I would add another

#4- There shall be no burning of fossil fuels or nuclear fuel used to provide energy

This of course would mean there would be very little in the way of electricity around and it would be pretty intermittent coming just from solar panels and wind turbines.  Probably not enough to run full blown EVs like Teslas, maybe enough for Ewz Scooters for a while.  However, both solar panels and wind turbines probably won't be working in 50 years, and if you're not burning fossil fuels you're not going to be able to make new ones or new batteries either.

Basically, once the FFs are taken out of the equation you're going to be back to Stone Age technology, since trying to smelt metal with wood charcoal would burn your copicing system out in no time.  Stone Age people did not use money, and the few that are left in the Amazon still don't use it.

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Offline RE

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The Diner Ordnung: Interest on Money
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2017, 08:33:41 AM »
1. No Diner, at any time for any reason, shall charge another Diner interest.

If you can't charge Interest on a Loan, what is the incentive for making the loan in the first place?  You can't make any money by making the loan, you can only lose it if the person you loan it to goes BK.

Without loans being made, how is a person with no money going to start a bizness to make money?  Traditional answer would be by SAVING up enough money to do this, but think about it for a minute (or longer if these concepts are too abstract, and I think they might be).

For the person who does have money, what is the incentive to pay anyone any more than what it costs that person to live, thus making it impossible for that person to save money?  There is no incentive, so the person with money running the show who owns the land the peasants live on charges them just enough for rent so they can afford to live on the land he owns.  The money he pays out in salary all comes back to him as rent.  In fact, the rentier will often charge MORE than the peasant can afford, and over time the peasant goes BK and is kicked out of his McHovel and freezes to death on the streets of Palmer, Alaska!

So in this system, the Rich stay Rich, and the Poor get Poorer.

For a monetary system to work and for loans to be made to J6P, there needs to be an interest charge on the money as incentive for those in control of the monetary system to make those loans.  Such incentive is NOT necessary up at the top of the food chain, as you see with the ZIRP and NIRP loans being made by the Central Banks to the TBTF Banks.  The TBTF Banks have no incentive to make further loans down the chain though, because the loans they already made are NPL.  All they do now is roll over old loans made to corporations who are also TBTF.  If Exxon-Mobil goes BK, so does JP Morgan Chase.  And on down the line in the daisy chain of debt.

So I don't see any monetary system working without interest on the money.  You need to pitch the whole idea of money out the window.  It is the ROOT OF ALL EVIL:evil4:

RE
« Last Edit: January 16, 2017, 08:36:42 AM by RE »
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Online Eddie

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Re: The Amish Horse-Drawn Buggy Is More Tech-Forward Than You Think
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2017, 09:04:57 AM »
The root of evil in my opinion, is the (almost universal) failure by humans to consider long term consequences of actions that accrue short term gains in power, status, and wealth.

You could abbreviate that as "short-sightedness". 

Debt based money is just one example, albeit a good one. 

How about pollution? Waste of scarce resources? Failure to control population? War?
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Offline RE

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Re: The Amish Horse-Drawn Buggy Is More Tech-Forward Than You Think
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2017, 09:23:19 AM »
How about pollution? Waste of scarce resources? Failure to control population? War?

I will treat all 4 of these in the context of money.

Pollution:  Generally comes from Greed and putting the costs of extracting resources on the population while those in control of the resource extract the profit.  Privatize the Profit, Socialize the Loss.

Waste of Scarce Resources:  The faster you go through the resources, the more money you make.  For those who gained control over the Oil resource, this made them Richer than God, or at least all the Pharoahs, Emperors and Kings that had gone before them.  Greed once again for MONEY.

Failure to control population:  The more people in your society, the larger the Ponzi scheme and the more money the people at the top of the Ponzi make.  Thus the encouragement of Immigration on the Statue of Liberty back in the early days when there were still many resources to exploit and the folks in control needed laborers to do that explaoitation.

War:  Necessary for a given set of Elite to maintain control over what they currently have, and then to further expand that control to other locations and increase the size of their Ponzi.

Money: The ROOT of all EVIL  :evil4:

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Offline Farmer McGregor

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Re: The Amish Horse-Drawn Buggy Is More Tech-Forward Than You Think
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2017, 09:13:50 PM »
Quote
Money: The ROOT of all EVIL  :evil4:

RE
Can't leave this one alone, RE.
The great one you are (mis)quoting actually said that the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.
Money is just a medium of exchange, neutral and physically innocuous.
It's the damn greedy humans that screw it all up.  That's why he said it the way he did.

I like this from JDWheeler:
Quote
3.  Do not use more energy over the course of a year than can be collected during the year.
Not to be interpreted too strictly; for example, if you have a four-year coppice wood rotation, then you only collect 4-year-old stems, never dip into the 3-year-old ones.

As a corollary to this, or perhaps an Ordnung rule in itself: No resource or potential resource shall be allowed to go to waste, but where possible shall be used to fullest potential.  For example, anything edible by man, beast or bug shall be fed to the appropriate entity or as a last resort shall be composted.  Additionally, all bodily wastes from said men or beasts shall be composted or otherwise used to maximize soil fertility.

I suggest this as a possible corollary to JDW's #3 above since this is very much an energy issue.  All foods are "food" precisely because they embody the solar energy that was used to produce them (through plant photosynthesis, whether that food be a plant product, or the product of an animal that ate plants or ate other creatures that ate plants, and so on).  All foods starts with plants, including phytoplankton and algae, the base of the ocean food chain, and grasses, which are a critical part of the food chain for us beef and cheese eaters.

That embodied solar energy persists through many generations of eaters as our wastes (as well as our ultimately dead bodies), and those of our livestock, are happily consumed by various critters, insects, worms, bacteria and fungi, etc. (each harvesting what energy it can by further breaking down the complex carbohydrates produced during photosynthesis) until the last carbon bonds are broken and all that remains are the humic substances that enrich the soil to produce new plants. lt is entirely an energy economy.  Solar energy, that is.

It is foolish for us to not utilize every available bit of that energy as best we can, ultimately putting what remains back into the soil to be cycled back to us again by the action of water and sunlight.

--Greg
For years we have let ourselves believe that as long as we have money we will have food. This is a mistake. The government will bring forth no food by providing hundreds of billions of dollars to the agribusiness industry.  --Wendell Berry after the 2008 crash

Offline RE

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Re: The Amish Horse-Drawn Buggy Is More Tech-Forward Than You Think
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2017, 09:35:33 PM »
Quote
Money: The ROOT of all EVIL  :evil4:

RE
Can't leave this one alone, RE.
The great one you are (mis)quoting actually said that the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.
Money is just a medium of exchange, neutral and physically innocuous.
It's the damn greedy humans that screw it all up.  That's why he said it the way he did.

It's not a misquote FM, and we have been over this particular quote from JC many times.  It's a distinction without a difference.  Anyone who has a lot of money clearly covets it and loves it.  This of course begets greed, one of the 7 Deadly Sins.  Greed and the ability to accumulate large amounts of wealth are exacerbated by the creation and existence of money.

Greed exists in incipient form as a seed in all creatures, they all seek to get as much for themselves as they can.  Trees steal sunlight from Grasses so they get the wealth of the Sun before the grasses do.  For Homo Sap, what money serves as is Fertilizer for Greed, and so is at the ROOT of the explosion of greed we see in this population.

Get rid of the money, and the Greed Plant does not grow from the seed.  Or at least not as fast.  It's not a neutral thing.

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Offline Farmer McGregor

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Re: The Amish Horse-Drawn Buggy Is More Tech-Forward Than You Think
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2017, 10:26:38 PM »
I dunno, RE.  Think there's a definite distinction there.

Ever heard of Stanislaw Lem?  He was a Polish writer that penned some interesting Sci-Fi/Social Commentary stories.  The one that comes to mind involved a planet on which (if I remember right) the colonists that were sent from earth (and again, IIRR, they were chosen to be colonists because they were annoying things like insurance salesmen, etc.) didn't have the means to print money, so they decided, for whatever reason, to use leaves (ie tree leaves) which they would stuff into their clothing to carry around.  As can be expected, before too terribly long they had thoroughly defoliated the entire continent.

Quote
Get rid of the money, and the Greed Plant does not grow from the seed.

If we didn't use money, we would, in our avarice, hoard all the food, or whatever else was the means of storing and accumulating value.  JC was speaking to our intent, not to the physical object.
--Greg
For years we have let ourselves believe that as long as we have money we will have food. This is a mistake. The government will bring forth no food by providing hundreds of billions of dollars to the agribusiness industry.  --Wendell Berry after the 2008 crash

Offline Farmer McGregor

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Re: The Amish Horse-Drawn Buggy Is More Tech-Forward Than You Think
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2017, 10:31:16 PM »
Gotta throw in another relevant quote:

"They that desire to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men's souls in destruction and perdition."

(Totally from memory so I hope I didn't bugger it up too much...)
--Greg
For years we have let ourselves believe that as long as we have money we will have food. This is a mistake. The government will bring forth no food by providing hundreds of billions of dollars to the agribusiness industry.  --Wendell Berry after the 2008 crash

 

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