Natural brooms are a traditional alternatives to plastic mass-manufactured brooms, and they can also be used as decor items.
When you’re looking for a broom, you have the choice to buy one with natural bristles, but you might wonder why you should choose those over a plastic one.
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I asked Briana Meckley of Meckley Brooms to give me a little background on this type of broom. She wrote this guest post about what natural brooms are made of and how to care for them:
Since 1797 sorghum vulgare, or broomcorn, has been used to construct most natural-bristled brooms. There are long shoots that grow from the top of the corn stalk and are referred to as tassels, and these are the pieces that are cut to use as the bristles on a natural corn broom. Prior to the 19th century natural brooms were made with bundles of twigs.
Stitching has been added to the traditional cylinder-shaped broom to create a flat broom which provides a much wider sweep path, cutting sweeping time in half.
In 1797 the corn broom was created in the US by a loving farmer in MA who wanted to make his wife’s chores easier. Using the tassels from corn to create the bristles increased efficiency, and was intended to cut down sweeping time in order to provide more time for other homestead chores.
In the mid-1800’s broom manufacturing exploded in the US. Factories popped up that used basic wooden foot-powered treadles to wind broomcorn onto a wooden handle.
Near the end of the 1800’s, auto stitchers replaced the time-consuming hand sewing of brooms. It also improved the quality of the corn broom, making tighter and more uniform stitches.
The US was the world’s largest manufacturer of corn brooms during this era.
How do you care for a natural bristle broom?
To care for a natural corn broom, you need to allow the broom to stay dry and prevent the bristles from bending while in storage. The broom should be hung from a hook or stood upright on the handle, but the bristles should not be left to support the weight of the broom. This will prevent the bristles from becoming misshapen due to pressing against the ground.
Keep the broom in a dry location so the natural fiber won’t get wet and develop mold.
Meckley brooms aren’t treated with preservatives and are totally natural unless they’re dyed. If they are colored they shouldn’t be left in a very sunny spot for long periods or the color can fade.
In order to keep the broom useful for years, you should remember to turn the handle often so that you’re not pressing the bristles in one direction all the time. Rotating it as you sweep will prevent it from becoming misshapen.
Where can I buy a natural broom?
One source is our family business…Meckley Brooms has been crafting brooms since 1897 using a wooden winder, press and cutter that has since been handed down thru 6 generations of Meckleys.
Early generations crafted brooms for bartering during the great depression, then as a hobby. Later, our brooms were a very small side hustle at craft shows.
Six years ago, the current patriarch of Meckley Brooms decided that his retirement plans would be to resurrect the family craft before it skipped his generation.
The same equipment from the 1800’s was dug out of the barn, dusted off and has since produced over 8,000 house brooms. Today the 7th generation of Meckleys has taken a once-known only locally, single-man operation, to a worldwide broom making family business with the help of e-commerce.
Meckley Brooms now crafts beautiful brooms of all types. We make hand brooms or whisks in many sizes, styles, and vivid colors.
Our house brooms, or sweepers, are also crafted in a traditional natural color, or in bold colors. We make brooms for everyone.
From house chores and decor, to magical and spiritual, and of course, Halloween accessories for decoration and cosplay, everyone can find a superior quality, handcrafted broom in our online store.
All products are handmade, hand dyed and are eco-friendly.
Thanks to Briana for the guest post! You can go to Meckley Brooms to see more: MeckleyBrooms.com
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