In the Smithsonian Museum there is a collection of furniture made by the Amish people who came to this country from the area of Europe where Germany, France, and Switzerland border each other. They came in the 1700’s and settled in the Westchester area of Pennsylvania. Before the American Revolution many of them moved and settled in Lancaster and Conestoga, Pennsylvania (yes, where the wagons were made and where Oregon road still exists today–the beginning of the Oregon Trail). These two cities became the starting point for most of the people who would first settle the Ohio Valley creating such states as Ohio and Indiana. Amish people moved with them and created the largest Amish communities which still exist today in these same states.
The Amish furniture that resides in the Smithsonian from the 1700’s was handcrafted from selected hardwoods, and carefully finished to bring out the grain in the wood and protect it for generations. Today, the Amish continue to live and work as the Amish did in the 1700’s. They still live without electricity, telephones, and automobiles (they drive horses and buggies). They make their own clothing and it is dyed in only one of three colors: black, white, or a dark purple. They do not wear any makeup or jewelry. They also continue to make handcrafted solid hardwood furniture much the same way as they did in the 1700’s; furniture that is made to last and be handed down from one family member to another. The furniture they make cannot be mass produced in some large and highly automated factory. The Amish are very humble and frugal people and are not interested in becoming giant corporations turning out high volume, nor do they want the notoriety or to become famous in anyway, which is one reason why they do not market themselves. They do like to keep their costs low so that they can sell their furniture at a very affordable price. They also prefer to partner with a select few furniture stores that understand the superior quality of Amish made furniture and will also sell it as they do at a very affordable price.
In Southern California the largest selection of Amish made furniture at the lowest price can be found at Stewart Roth’s Amish Furniture in Fountain Valley just off the 405 freeway.