Amish Build Miracle Fireplace Using Steam-Powered Adobe Photoshop

This ad for Amish “HOME SURGE” fireplaces that appeared in USA Today, designed to look like a typical USA Today article, begs the question: are the Amish allowed to use Photoshop?

Full size original [Marketplacelocal]

(Thanks to Zakarth!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Photoshop is OK, but those using Paint Shop Pro will be “shunned”.

  2. Skiffer says:

    Actually, the Amish are allowed to use any technology that their religious leaders permit – and different communities are less strict than others.

    For example, some allow the use of off-grid electricity (such as from generators), communal telephones, automobiles for emergencies, etc.

    And they’re more than allowed to pay other people to use technology – which is most likely the case for the ad…

    Sorry to kill the joke….

  3. MercuryPDX says:

    Saves money: uses less energy than a coffee maker, so leave it on day and night and never be cold again

    My BS detector just went off…

  4. formatc says:

    An ad similar to this one ran in my local paper a few months ago. A few coworkers and I dissected it for a while. It is clearly just a play on the concept of Amish-built goods. We suspected that it is only the mantle that is genuinely Amish-built, if anything, since the core fireplace heating unit is available without the mantle.

  5. MercuryPDX says:

    The website is a joy to behold as well…

  6. MercuryPDX says:

    @formatc: The mantles cost more than the heater: Cherry – $338 Oak – $298.

    Even though the shipping is free, I’d be sorely disappointed if it didn’t show up in the back of a buggy like the ad.

  7. formatc says:

    @mercurypdx: I’d be willing to pay $300 and take the day off of work just to see it delivered by buggy.

    @mercurypdx: What an excellent idea. I can’t even view on the terms and conditions or copyright policy without a claim code. It means they can know which ads are generating hits and which ones aren’t. I can’t quite make out the one in the scan, so I can’t actually look at anything beyond that. Too bad for them if I wanted to buy something.

  8. formatc says:

    Correction: I can make out the one in the scan, it’s just saying “THE ACCESS CODE YOU HAVE ENTERED IS INVALID OR EXPIRED.”

  9. zundian says:

    Let me get this straight, it’s a giant hair dryer? in the shape of a fireplace?

  10. formatc says:

    @zundian: in the shape of a fireplace built by the Amish

  11. Nytmare says:

    This ad has run at least twice in our local paper as well. The “48 hour order deadline” and other hurry-up restrictions mentioned in the ad are obviously lies.

    And in addition to the dubious actual value of the two items, they are playing up the “free”ness of the heater and its “$249 value”, while burying the deal’s actual price in the middle of the ad within a photo caption by writing it out using words (“two hundred ninety-eight dollars”). This is the first time I’ve seen an ad hide its prices in this manner.

  12. krom says:

    The mantles are not impressive. They just look like maple or oak wooden boxes. They’re probably not even safe for the heaters which fit so nicely inside them. In any case they don’t look worth $298.

    And my coffee maker pulls a fair wattage, I’d not leave it on all day, that’s for sure.

    Oh, and yeah, to the point, the PS job in the photo is tacky as all hell.

    • clickable says:

      @krom: My coffeemaker (currently a Senseo pod machine) uses 1200 watts, and operates for about 45-60 seconds to make a cup of coffee. The heater would be using those 1200 watts in continuous operation for hours at a time. So yeah, totally misleading ad.

  13. jackhandey says:

    @mercurypdx: “Saves money: uses less energy than a coffee maker, so leave it on day and night and never be cold again
    My BS detector just went off

    I agree with you. It uses 1500 watts of power (5118BTU/hr) which may be less than some coffee makers, so this is a factual statement. (A quick google search showed coffee makers in the 800-1500W range). However, the ad is misleading to those who aren’t technically inclined because the heater will be on much longer than a coffee maker, so the energy usage will be higher. Definite BS….

  14. jackhandey says:

    @zundian:” Let me get this straight, it’s a giant hair dryer? in the shape of a fireplace?”

    Yeah, just a glorified space heater. For what it’s worth, it won’t be any more efficient than any other electric resistance/forced air space heater. It just looks nicer.

    But according to the ad, “The HEAT SURGE miracle heater is a work of engineering genius from the China coast, so advanced you simply plug it into any standard wall outlet.” Wow, heat using electricity from a wall outlet! When did they start doing that?!? Sign me up!

  15. Buran says:

    @Skiffer: I was going to point that out. I think only the strictest sects would ban computers, although don’t they all preach a simple life? (and you can live a simple life with technology if you want)

  16. hn333 says:

    I think this is a joke.

  17. edjusted says:

    “…engineering genius from the China coast…” wh-what? The Chinese engineered it so the Amish could make it? What? I’m so confused. The Amish are awesome! They’ve figured out reverse-outsourcing!

  18. Andr0 says:

    Here’s where I blew the gasket.

    It’s a 1500W electric heater with a 5119BTU output.

    Now look at this (as an example):

    Same power drain, same heat output, 10% of price. Why? Simple.

    1500W of electrical power at ~99.something% efficiency converts into 5119ish BTU. This will hold true for -any- electrical heater on the market, unless one is exceedingly crappily made. In fact, they’re all so very standardized that lots of websites won’t even list BTU outputs for heaters anymore – they’ll just say “1500W heating power” and leave it at that.

    So what is $500 for? 3 things:

    1) Heating module Made in China. (At $250, it by itself is fairly ridiculously overpriced, especially for Chinese export.)

    2) Real wood cabinet for the said module, allegeldy handmade by some Amish chap. Fair enough.

    3) Cheap faux flame effect.

    You don’t even get the ‘SUCKER’ t-shirt with it. So sad, considering you paid 10 times the market average for 1500W heater.

  19. BruinEric says:

    The ad is awesome reading. I’m not sure I’ve seen so many techniques piled in one single ad. You’ve got the “free” angle, the “made in USA / Amish” angle (for the mantles only), and I especially love the “limit 2” point.

    And there are many, many more. Time limits for ordering, different phone numbers based on climate zones. This is really fun stuff.

  20. floydianslip6 says:

    Some amish neighborhoods even let the people use cellphones, the only catch is that the phones need to be left on a pole in a container outside. And everyones phone is there so that the stuff doesn’t enter the house. What a cop-out.

  21. says:

    I particularly like the Christmas order on its way to you — in a buggy. They must have to start in July to get orders out to California…

    Less on-topic, I always have a good laugh when people complain about the Amish making compromises. Unless you’re using LESS technology than they are, isn’t that a wee bit hypocritical?

    @hn333: I wish. I think they’re serious.

  22. FLConsumer says:

    I saw the same advert earlier this week and thought it was hilarious and also wondered if it was a joke. It’s no different than any other space heater, as pointed out by others. FWIW, Lowe’s & Target have similar items here.

  23. Bugsey says:

    This ad came out today in the Wichita Eagle. I’m a blue collar worker, looking to save my hard earned money, but the Good Lord gave me some common sense. My wife gobbled it up but I went to their website and found a link on it leading among others, to “scams”. I followed the link, need I say more, your reading my comment !!

  24. medic594 says:

    Don’t even waste your money….I purchased one of these and was not satisfied. It says that it is free shipping but it is actually not free shipping. They guarantee you 100% of your money back. Well it cost me $76.00 to ship it back to them because they say that the shipping is actually not free. It is 49.99 and is hidden in the cost. So if you return it you actually lose money.

  25. randomd00d says:

    Wait. You um.. BOUGHT one?!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Newspapers and tv stations across the country are reporting on how this company has an Unsatisfactory Rating. These work like $30 space heaters. They are made in China. The mantles are supposedly made by Amish, but no newspaper or tv station has been able to locate “where” or “who”. Amish state the people in the photos are not Amish, just by looking at their clothes (Amish do not allow any buttons, etc.) and the fact that Amish do NOT agree to be photographed. The assumption that Amish use their underage children to make these mantles for customers is insulting as well. If you want to buy anything authentically Amish or Mennonite, go into their communities firsthand, or go to the Lancaster PA tourism websites for authentic items – there are plenty, and you won’t be ripped off.

  27. Anonymous says:


    Amish Fireplace Offer Leaves Family Cold
    Reported by: Jeff Chirico
    Thursday, Oct 16, 2008 @07:48pm EST

    Read the entire article…but here’s a quote from the one left cold:

    But Hank says he’s not interested in tripling his power bills just to have a wooden mantle and fake fire. “Its a fraud. I don’t want to see anyone be taken the way we were. We put our heart and trust into them and they failed us.”

  28. Cary says:

    Why don’t we just burn the Amish?

    It’s not like they’re gonna call the cops.

  29. lewissalem says:

    Wow, website written in Cold Fusion. Welcome to 1999.