Amish ironworks promotes a plain bullet barrier as a hedge against civil disorder

Joseph N. DiStefano, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Business News

The Amish crew from Compass Ironworks in Chester County, Pennsylvania, arrived early at the Jewish school in New York on a sticky morning near the end of summer vacation.

They had spent more than a year planning details of this bullet-resistant-barrier installation, using Compass' own product — polished segments of bulletproof steel walls and posts.

Ironworks owner Amos Glick calls them "Bullistic Barriers," as if to remind customers of both the firm's farm-country setting in West Caln Township and its anti-weaponry mission.

The straw-brim-hatted workers descended on the schoolyard with tape measures, string — and a laser, purchased off-the-shelf but refitted by Compass staff to run on battery power. That enabled them to observe Amish scruples, blocking reliance on commercial electric power and other systems from outside their 300-year-old, German-descended Christian community.

Some of their other power tools ran on closed hydraulic systems, likewise bypassing the city's electric utility.

"The cornerstone had to be perfect. They spent the better part of a day measuring," Glick's client, school administrator Menachem Chernoff of Rabbi Chaim Berlin high school, said. "They were extremely professional and diligent."


"The students, they wanted to see how everything worked," Glick marveled. "They had a hard time staying on their studies that day. There is a lot of similarities in our communities."

Glick's crew included two of his seven children, Benjamin, 20, and Aaron, 16. This family, faith, and community approach struck a chord with Compass' observant Jewish clients, the administrator added: "I appreciated that (Glick) was trying to keep within the culture and the laws of his community, while at the same time trying to build his company and do a living."

Auction revives small vegetable farms in Chester County — and helps build Amish communities

School agents had found Compass at a security show in May 2019 during their search for bulletproof fencing, as parents worried about attacks like the fatal Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh in 2018. There were few alternative vendors, none with directly applicable experience. And their quotes were much higher. Bullistic Barriers start at $500 a foot and can cost up to $5,000 a foot, depending on the level of bulletproofing needed.


swipe to next page
©2021 The Philadelphia Inquirer, LLC. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.