The title of the video below is “Amish Table Saw one horsepower motor”. The fellow who shot is certainly not Amish, since he drove to the shop in a truck, shot video, and then posted it on the web. Those aren’t things Amish folks do.

But some Amish do use power tools; sometimes powered by electricity they generate themselves, sometimes powered by gasoline or diesel engines, and sometimes powered by livestock. I have no idea whether or not the guy in the video is actually Amish. The beard and clothing seem right but it's odd he agreed to be videotaped. The Amish won’t pose for photos (which is considered to be a form of vanity) and avoid being photographed face-on. That this fellow allowed himself to be videotaped may fall into a gray area because he’s working—not posing.

No matter—what’s interesting about this is the setup for powering the saw. As you can see from the video a horse is harnessed to a gearbox that drives a shaft that is in turn connected by belt to the saw. If you stop the video and look closely you can see that a shaft runs along the back of the shop in a floor-level plywood enclosure. There’s no on/off switch here; just the operator telling the horse when to start and when to stop.

In some ways this saw is ahead of its time. After all, it was not until recently that manufacturers began to put intelligence (in the form of circuit boards) into tools and machines. And what could be more intelligent than a man and a horse? A man and a dog maybe—but then who would want a one dogpower saw?