The Amish team from Compass Ironworks in Chester County arrived at Jewish school in New York City early on a sticky morning towards the end of summer vacation.
They had spent over a year planning the details of this bulletproof barrier installation, using Compass’s own product – polished segments of bulletproof steel walls and posts.
Ironworks owner Amos Glick calls them “Bullistic barriersAs if to remind clients of both the company’s agricultural setting in West Caln Township and its anti-gun mission.
Straw hat workers descended on the school yard with tape measures, string and a laser, bought off the shelf but refitted by Compass staff to run on battery power. This allowed them to observe the scruples of the Amish, blocking reliance on commercial electric power and other systems outside their 300-year-old German-born Christian community.
Some of their other power tools ran on closed hydraulic systems, also bypassing the city’s electric utility.
“The cornerstone had to be perfect. They spent most of the day measuring, ”said Glick’s client, the Menachem Chernoff school administrator at Rabbi Chaim High School Berlin. “They were extremely professional and diligent.”
“The students, they wanted to see how it all worked out,” Glick marveled. “They struggled to continue their education that day. There are a lot of similarities in our communities.
Glick’s team included two of his seven children, Benjamin, 20, and Aaron, 16. This family, religious and community approach struck a chord with Jewish customers who practice Compass, the administrator added, “I appreciated that [Glick] was trying to stay within the culture and laws of her community, while also trying to start her business and make a living.
READ MORE: Auction revives small Chester County vegetable farms – and helps build Amish communities
School officers found Compass at a safety fair in May 2019 while searching for bulletproof fences, as parents worried about attacks such as the fatal shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018. There were few alternative providers, none with directly applicable experience. And their quotes were much higher. Bubble barriers start at $ 500 per foot and can cost up to $ 5,000 per foot, depending on the level of bulletproofing required.
“We are extremely happy,” Chernoff concluded after installing the heavy, long, smooth steel fences and posts, protecting the student areas from potential attackers coming from the nearby street. “We definitely feel safer. “
With his brimmed hat and wide beard, Glick, 45, looks like a Lancaster County farm kid who learned ironwork from his first job at a commercial foundry. Yet he also perfected his craft by studying early 1900s drawings by Italian-American masters based in Philadelphia.
A lot of his company, which has around ten employees, installed balconies, fences, gates and wrought iron ornaments for the large Main Line homes on the Jersey Shore. But in recent years, his company has turned to security.
Glick says he was preparing to launch Bullistic Barriers wall installations and a quick-to-assemble sibling system called RaDeBuRe – Short for bullet-resistant, rapid deployment riot fence – even before the pandemic.
“I heard, ‘I want a privacy fence, make it beautiful’ so that it complements the institutional architecture and reassures without being a crude reminder of the sudden dangers that can threaten modern life. “
But the wide array of protests in recent years and the attack on the United States Capitol earlier this year gave the company a boost it has tapped into its marketing materials.
We are in “a new era of civic unrest,” according to the Compass video. RaDeBuRe helps “protect against riots and mobs in this dangerous new era of civic unrest”.
Using the specifications of the International Security Council and the American Closing Association, Glick said his group had designed “level 3 barriers, which will stop a handgun; Level 8, which will stop rifles, like an AK-47 or AR-15. Some of them want to stop the .50 caliber (level 10). We said, “OK, we can develop a product that will stop a .50 caliber all-metal jacket and armor-piercing cartridge, 15 feet high. “
The barriers have been tested within test ranges approved by Underwriters Laboratories. The Security Industry Association has granted Bullistic Barriers its 2021 Terrorism / Force Protection new product award at ISC West.
In testimony, Curt A. Martinez, West Caln Township Police Chief, called RaDeBuRe “another tool that could help police and security officials”, helping “save a lot of time and money. time ”by closing the streets amidst unrest and“ protecting people and their property.
When the Glick team developed the products, at first “everyone thought we could use a Kevlar armor plate” from Wilmington-based DuPont, Glick recalls. “But I said, ‘We’re not going to take this approach,’ given the cost and the aesthetics. “
“We looked at laminates, composites, rubber and plastics. Would they be stable in a [hot] environment, like South Florida? You name it, we did some informal ballistic testing and focused on what works. “
They settled on a metal alloy skin with a coating that Glick calls a “secret potion”. Compass has built and tested garage doors with the combination. “Then we applied for a patent and started presenting it at trade shows, like the American Society for Industrial Security 2018 at the Javits Center” in New York.
The first calls poured in from government offices, including a foreign consulate on the west coast, as well as school groups and religious minorities.
“We came up with a design that would allow you to install a fence across the Capitol Steps and other rugged terrain. “
The first installation took place at a day care center run by a “major global company” which Glick says does not want to be named. It’s in the Midwest, in a neighborhood where a toddler was killed in a shooting a few blocks earlier this year.
The Amish use firearms, like other tools, for hunting. But they reject violence in their own relationships. Glick sees no inconsistency between his Amish beliefs and a business that responds to the threat of violence.
“This is a very controversial question, and I don’t know the answer,” Glick said. “But I know we have a product that offers security.”