Wired “Senior Maverick” Kevin Kelly writes a touching ode to Amish hackers. The German-speaking denizens of Lancaster County may eschew modern conveniences, but they’re still plenty tech-mad. A key passage on a jerryrigged electrical system in an Amish woodworking shop:
The boss takes me around to the back where a huge dump-truck-sized diesel generator sits. It’s massive. In addition to a gas engine there is a very large tank, which I learn, stores compressed air. The diesel engine burns fuel to drive the compressor that fills the reservoir with pressure. From the tank a series of high-pressure pipes snake off toward every corner of the factory. A hard rubber flexible hose connects each tool to a pipe. The entire shop runs on compressed air. Every piece of machine is running on pneumatic power. Amos even shows me a pneumatic switch, which you can flick like a light switch, to turn on some paint-drying fans.
Our species’ adaptability never ceases to amaze me.