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I have a tremendous amount of respect for the woodcrafting capabilities of the Amish. I’m sure most of them could run circles around many of us with hand tools, and the level of their craftsmanship is highly regarded in many circles. My question is what on earth made them think the Heat Surge was a good project to get involved with?

Better yet, I wonder if they’re getting a fair shake from “The English” setting up the deal. Do they even know what fair market value for their work is? Lots of folks have already figured out the miracle heater is, well, not a miracle to anyone but the Amish. Then again, an iPhone would blow their minds if they think the heater is cool.

The Amish angle could all be a marketing stunt, but let’s assume for a minute that it’s not and someone decides they’re in the market for an electric heater. Perhaps they’ve never had an encounter with the bearded “Plain Folk” and wonder why the commercial has the units being delivered in a horse-drawn wagon or why Amish involvement jacks the price of the fake-fireplace heater up to a staggering $587?

The marketers of the Heat Surge want to convey to you that the electric heater and Amish-crafted mantle compose some sort of mystical union that overcomes the very fabric of reality to save you money. This isn’t the case, of course, so they’ve opted for plan B, which is to bombard us with images of hardworking, suspender-wearing Amish folk to try and separate us from our cash.

It’s an electric heater on wheels. Hit Google and you can find an electric heater that’s many times less than $600. If you really want to go crazy, build a mantle/case for it yourself and grow a beard.

Next up:  the Inuit Easy-Bake Oven.

Heat Surge [Website]
Street Pricing [Google]
Electric Heater Street Pricing [Google]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


31 Responses to Editorial: Bringing The Amish Heat

  1. Bugler says:

    I doubt that the Amish have anything to do with this ripoff.

  2. Shopmonger says:

    I want to hear from someone who has one? Anyone out there?

    • Sonya Thibodeaux says:

      I have one. Worked really good for several years. Now I need a motor. Don’t where to go. Not sure on warranty.

  3. BigEdJr says:

    Don’t have on, don’t want one.

    I lived in Central PA for a few years and was sorely disappointed the first time I visited Intercourse, PA. (no I did not make that name up) We went to a couple of shops offering “Authentic Amish-styled” furniture. I check the tags and it was all made over-seas in China. It made me mad that these people were exploiting the Amish. They are wonderful people and deserve more respect.

    OK, rant over…. I agree with Bugler, there is no way “real” Amish craftsmen are involved with this.

  4. Michael W. says:

    The picture is great. They’re all “working” on units that are turned on….

  5. Not Whittler says:

    There are a couple of shops in Intercourse itself that purvey imitation Amish stuff. You know which places these are on Sunday, they’re open. The meat purveyor’s are authentic and have great sausages and bacon, and if you go down the road to Bird-in-Hand, their farmer’s market is great. There’s also an interesting looking weapons museum in Intercourse.

    There seems to be a romanticized tone through this post and comments. Perhaps Amish are in fact behind this product, they do appear to me, during our regular visits to Lancaster county, to interact quite openly and do business with “the English”. The popular view of Amish as cloistered naifs strikes me as a bit condescending.

  6. Bill Curnow says:

    I ran across a year-old article the other day that talks about this product. Apparently, the surround is made in Amish country, but the innards are made in China. I haven’t been able to track down the original article, but I did find a number of blog posts that pointed me to a BBB report:


  7. Michael says:

    I see the full two page color spread in the sunday paper every week and it bumps me, really hits the old cognitive dissonance button in the brain. The fake looking Amish, the fake fireplace, the shear audacity to pedal crap as craftsmanship. I wonder if the Amish have lawyers…….or hit men?

  8. Patrick says:

    Looks to me in the commercial that if they’re are any Amish involved they’re assembling pre cut boards basically like an Ikea flat pack assembly line.

  9. KMR says:

    Who cares? If the Amish aren’t involved, then they can choose to persue the matter… doesn’t effect me in any way.

  10. russ says:

    For a little more you can buy a HDTV with SD card input and an electric ceramic heater. Get some fireplace video off of the inet and put it together you have the same thing plus and HDTV! You can build the wood frame later as you accumulate scrap wood.

  11. Bill says:

    When I visited Lancaster PA, Amish country, I remember they mentioned that they do not use electricity. That was why they has a converted waher and dryer that runs on propane. So are these fake Amish that is pictured building this magnificent miracle fireplace that will fix global warming and wash your car (OK, I added that last part)?

  12. Chris Pugh says:

    Heat Surge is an established company with millions of satisfied customers whose focus is to exceed customer expectations.

    To accomplish this, along with other successful methods, we’ve set up a Web site to share the facts about our company at http://heatsurge.wordpress.com to address any questions or concerns you may have.

    Chris Pugh
    Heat Surge

  13. rg says:

    It maketh the heat, yet lacketh the flame?
    What manner of devilry be this?!

    Reminded me of this:

    Then again, if they ship each one individually in a horse-drawn wagon, it might explain the $600 price tag.

  14. salsa says:

    I’m sure it’s all on the up and up. My kind electronic pen pal in Nigeria (who is going to make me rich!!) says these heaters are of the highest qualty.

  15. Fzzt says:

    “Next up: the Inuit Easy-Bake Oven.”

    Cooks using the amazing power of Ice!

  16. KevinB says:

    I can almost hear the shamwow guy pitching this thing ” hey dis things is made by da Amish and you know the Amish guys always make good stuff”.

  17. Jerry says:

    I have seen one of these units “up close” in the home of a friend who got somewhat cheated out of some cash. Examination clearly reveals that these come as a box of parts all pre-cut, waiting to be assembled. MAYBE some Amish folks do the assembly – as for the heater portion of this creation, it is nothing special – just a dual wattage heating unit. I have a very similar item in my living room – “realistic” flames (yeah, right) and all. It does provide good heat and looks pretty nice. Mine don’t have wheels but I can easily pick it up and move it if I choose. Also, mine has an interesting flip-up portion on the back so it can be fit into a corner at an angle. The heater portion looks suspiciously like the Amish one. Oh, I paid less than $200 at a local store. Even Big Lots has some similar ones for about $300 every day.

  18. Pete D. says:

    I’ve only seen the print ads because I don’t watch TV. The print ads scream “scam.” I’m sure the thing works, but I’m also sure the price is out of line. The Amish pitch is in poor taste. I’m afraid I would never buy such a thing.

  19. Ray says:

    Suckers are often the last people to complain because they’re embarrassed they’ve been conned.

  20. Tom P says:

    I grew up in Amish country (Western PA), and there are real Amish wood working shops and stores that sell their products. Very good quality, and prices that reflect it.

    I can just about guarantee that the people pictured in the ads are NOT Amish. They believe that photos of themselves are a sign of vanity, so they do not allow them. There are different sects that are not as strict as others, but I doubt any of them would go along with this (at least I hope not!)

  21. kif says:

    My advise, quit reading Parade Magazine! That picture looks like it came from The Onion.

    There is a lot to understanding the Amish way of life, but there is a distinction between using something and being reliant on it. I’ve seen Amish farm equipment with gasoline motors, but they were still horse-drawn. Wrap your brain around that.

    I think the most impressive thing I’ve seen is an Amish barn raising, where there was one man overseeing the whole thing, directing everything – without plans. Everything in his head, with just a small sketch here and there to work things out.

    Now the funny thing is, I’ve read about clashes between Amish and housing inspectors! Absolutely ridiculous. I have yet to meet a builder who gives a rat’s tush about quality – hence ‘builder grade’ materials, and the Mr. Magoos who sign off on their work have the audacity to pick on the Amish!

    Like Amy Winehouse telling you how to clean up your life.

    Seriously, stop reading Parade!

  22. KevinB says:

    saw the commercial late night this week, funny thing was the same guy who was selling the Amish fireplace, was selling penis enlargement pills on the next channel, you can’t make this stuff up. Maybe the 2 products are related somehow, who knows?

  23. Joe says:

    Tom P. covered most of what I wanted to say (I too grew up in Western Pa.). I only want to add that, like most electric heaters of this type, they suck electricity way out of proportion to how much heat they put out. I have a customer who unfortunately bought one, and after the power bill came, it now sits in a closet.

  24. Nick says:

    Kif I have a couple bones to pick with you.

    The amish guy who was building a barn with no plans isnt something special. Anyone who has been framing for a while can do that. Hell I have tons of house plans in my head I want to build. Especially a barn being a rather simple structure, it dosent take a genius or plans.

    You seem jaded by the trades, sorry, defiantly there are people out there that dont care and will scam you, but there are many out there that do.

    The houses around here are constructed with 2×12 joists, and 2×6 rafters 16OC. Is it overkill? Probably, but are you telling me an amish guy will build a stronger house?! No way, especially when you consider all the Simpson hardware involved.

    Though its kind of like arguing a moot point. As i have seen very poorly built houses last through earthquakes where newer ones have not. It more comes down to the guy who is putting up each stud if he cares or not.

  25. Joe says:

    Thanks, Nick, for sticking up for good builders, they are out there, and I still think they predominate.

    It took me quite a few years of building to really understand why overbuilding is necessary, and required by the codes. It’s the nature of what we build with, sticks and little metal spikes–and the framers are usually the lesser-skilled (at least the majority, the helpers). This all adds up to too many possibilities for weak joints and/or pieces–hence the need for larger sections and closer spacing, to make up for those potentially (likely, even) weaker parts. Obvious when you think about it, and maddening when inspectors give you crap, but necessary in the long run.

    My Italian (language) teacher in college said something to the class one day that I’ll never forget, “When I was growing up in Italy, we could not understand why houses in America fell down so easily in storms. Then I moved here and found they were made from sticks!”

  26. JT says:

    Is using an air stapler OK with the Amish?? I saw that on the TV ad.

  27. kif says:

    @ Nick: I see things to the contrary. Given that most people need detailed drawings for a bookshelf, building a timber frame barn with no plans is amazing. If a builder manages to pound out the 19th copy of some shoddy four bedroom in the same development without consulting blueprints, bravo!

    Are we talking about overkill on spec. homes? I will believe it when I see it. I think there are many ethical and gifted remodelers and custom builders out there, but these big spec house developers, well.. The big builders in my area are shameless. One builder, in a radio ad, said that they build smaller closets to discourage consumerism and help simplify your life. And they were serious.

    Some of this financial crisis has to be blamed on builders, they were right behind the lenders in pushing for these risky loans because they new they were overproducing.

    @ Joe: Given that most builders today are engaged in slapping up dozens of homes in a single development, the impact of the overworked county inspector is arguable. I think he or she is probably more interested in focusing on the homeowner trying to finish his basement. The county assessor and every one else in the county building knows what side of bread is buttered. I once had to call a plumber out to my 6 month old house, after he finished we went through the house next to mine which was still being built. He just shook his head at the common cheats and shortcuts he saw.

  28. Evan says:

    there’s a food store on 9yh avenue in nyc called the amish market so i go in to check it.
    the women have big earrings on and there’s no amish there so i ask them whrer they’re from.
    no joke.

  29. Andrew W. says:

    I happen to know that some Amish craftsmen are indeed making these cabinets, but the whole scheme is not of Amish origin. They have very old-fashioned ideas on the respective roles of men and women, and you would not see a mixed group like this in any authentic Amish shop. Furthermore, the picture is fake; anyone with an Amish background (like myself) can quickly see that the clothing is not authentic. It would not meet their strict, unchanging rules governing what their members wear. Go to your local hardware, buy an efficient heater, and forget this whole scam. I wish some Amish person would start a class action lawsuit to expose this fraudulent exploitation of their group. Wonder if I’d qualify on the basis of growing up Amish?

  30. Sophie says:

    We first looked at these last year. The company has a very aggressive sales technique and the photos in the adverts and the web site are amusing to say the least, some of the best ones have been taken down. It does really insult our intelligence to show them been polished when switched on in the factory, sorry barn. We opted for the Arrowflame electric fireplace logs instead and have been very happy with them.

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