The History Of The Broom

June 12, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

Brooms. In every building you go to there isn’t one too far away. But we rarely give much credit to this under-appreciated tool writes J. Bryan Lowder who seeks to change that by giving a short overview of its history:

  • There isn’t an exact date for the ‘invention’ of the broom. But bundles of various fibers have been used as a cleaning tool for centuries.
  • Before the 19th century brooms were created by individual families at home. They didn’t last long and would have to be remade often.
  • Artisanal broom makers started off in Anglo-Saxon England where they would take twigs from birch trees to make brooms.
  • The modern broom truly dawned on western civilization however when a sweet corn plant now known as “broomcorn” was first used to make brooms. It would be more durable than other types of fibers, and the person who discovered it was soon making several hundred a year.
  • Other farmers cultivated the crop and made their own to sell – it was a profitable side business.
  • A Christian religious sect invented the flat broom that is prevalent today.
  • The broom industry continued to gradually grow in the United States, going through industrialization and mechanization. Then NAFTA happened and it was no longer profitable to make brooms in the United States. Today most come from Mexico.

To read more about the rise of synthetic brooms, the role that DuPont played, the types of brooms to use for different jobs, how the vacuum cleaner fits into all this, mentions of the broom in the Bible, what exactly beson squires are, what broomcorn was used for before it was used to make brooms, different versions of broom machines, why flat brooms are superior, who pioneered whisk brooms, and a photo gallery that visualizes the history of the broom click here.

Source: Slate