Traditional Influences

Prior to the late 18th century, brooms were all round-shaped (at best).  Around that time the Shakers, masters of efficient design, hit upon the idea of sewing a broom flat to increase its sweeping effectiveness, while adding extra broomcorn fibers called “shoulders” to each side to fill out the broom. This simple yet profound innovation transformed the corn broom into the wide A-shaped implement we instantly recognize today – a shape emulated for its unsurpassed functionality even by many mass producers of synthetic brooms.

The plaiting, or weaving, seen on many of our brooms at the point where the handle meets the brush hearkens back to a time when most mountain folk couldn’t afford store-bought products like brooms. Suffering from no deficit of ingenuity and imagination, they quite competently made their own tools and household implements in response to necessity. This innate practicality, however, didn’t rob them of their appreciation for beauty and craftsmanship. Rather, they were and still are widely known for adding beautiful touches to practical handmade items – like plaiting or weaving broomcorn onto handles, rather than just winding string or wire around them sufficiently to hold them together. This ability to make every-day homemade items beautiful explains why traditional Appalachian crafts are so widely valued and sought after.

In case you were wondering, we aren’t Shakers nor are we from Appalachia (though we do share the Ulster Scot heritage of many mountain dwellers).  Traditional broom making in our neck of the woods, east central Georgia, involved wrapping a strip of old inner tube material around a hastily-gathered (“wrung-off”) bundle of broomsedge.  We preferred to adopt the mountain style of broom making for aesthetic and functional reasons.

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