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Broom Pounder

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This tool was used in the process of making brooms from the broom corn plant. Broom corn comes from a special variety of the corn plant, sorghum vulgare, a plant prized not for corn cobs but for its long tassels. The tassels were laid out to dry in long, straight strands. The broom pounder's dull, straight edge knocked off the seeds clinging to the tassels. The de-seeded tassels were then ready to be made into brooms. Levi Dickinson of Hadley, Massachusetts, is credited with making his wife the first broom made from broom corn in 1797. The brooms proved wildly popular. A new industry was born as farmers throughout the region began growing broom corn and local factories began making brooms. The invention of the foot treadle broom machine in 1810 sped production and improved broom quality. Towns in central and western Massachusetts had collectively become the broom capital of the world by the mid-19th century. Most brooms today are produced abroad.


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