The origins of the
The Shakers were
originally a radical sect of the Quaker religion that became known in the 1760’s as Shaking Quakers due to their ecstatic
worship practices. The name was later shortened to Shakers. Today, members of the religion are still referred to as Shakers
although their ecstatic form of worship is far less visible in present day time.
Hands to Work, Heart to God
The Shakers invented several time
saving devices such as:
- A wringer
- The flat
- A pea sheller
- A revolving
- A machine
for coring and quartering apples
Shaker communities were often
the first in their areas to get electricity. The Sabbathday Lake Shakers were the first in New Gloucester, Maine, to get an
automobile, which they bought used in 1909.
Both music and dance play a large
role in the Shaker worship services. They believe that participation in the worship service involves one's whole body rather
than just their voice.
Shakers are masters at saving
space. In many of their buildings, drawers are built into the wall or into the space under staircases. The walls are usually lined
with pegs which are used to hang everything from hats and coats to chairs.
The song “Simple Gifts”
was written by the Shakers. It became well known in the twentieth century when Aaron Copland used it as the theme for his
piece Appalachian Spring.