The Industrious Amanas
Five out of five stars
The Amana Colonies in Eastern Iowa were formed as a communal organization, where the means of production were owned by the community and the members ate in communal kitchens. The only personal possessions were household items and clothing. The land was farmed, but the people that worked the soil lived in houses in the villages. Over the years, the members found it necessary to adapt and so in the early 1930s, a corporation was formed, and shares of stock issued.
Several small factories were constructed, woolen mills, a furniture shop and a factory where refrigerators were made. There was an open-hearth bakery and a large warehouse where hams, bacon and sausages were smoked and cured. The phrase “Amana quality” was understood by all and people traveled from all around the globe to tour and buy products.
This pamphlet was designed to be sold to tourists and was published in the early sixties. It contains brief descriptions of the history of the Amana Society, how the residents lived their lives and explanations of the local industries. There are many images of the villages, people working at their tasks and the surrounding area.
Most of this has changed, corporate powers have taken over much of the industry. If you go to one of the shops, pick up an item that has the Amana label and read it carefully you will see that it was manufactured well outside the colonies. Therefore, this pamphlet is a nostalgic look back at the way things were.