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Brooms have been around for hundreds of years and the best ones are made from broomcorn. The broomcorn plant is in the sorghum family and is grown specifically for making brooms. When it is growing it looks just like regular corn except the plant and leaves are somewhat thinner and the tassel grows to about 24-36" long and has no ear of corn. The tassel is full of small seeds and they must be removed before a broom can be made. Broomcorn takes as long to grow as normal corn so it has a fairly long growing season and should be harvested by hand. Just before the seed is ripe the corn tassel is bent down about a foot below were the bristles join the stalk. They are bent down so that the weight of the seeds does not deform the bristles and allows them to dry straight for several days. Once they have dried like this they are then picked and ready to be de-seeded. There are several ways to do this one is with a de-seeding machine which is a barrel with several sharp knives or spikes sticking out and you drag the bristles across them as it is rotating. Another way is to use a horse currycomb and comb the seed out. When you comb it out make sure you comb from the stalk out to the end of the bristles so you don't damage them. All of the seed can be saved for next year's crop of broomcorn so make sure you save it. It is also great to feed to the birds in the winter when food is scarce.

It is said that Benjamin Franklin found a small seed on a whiskbroom that a friend brought him from France and he took that seed and planted it the next spring and it grew into a corn-like plant. From these seeds more were grown and that is how broomcorn came to this country. This was in the early 1790's, and then by 1797 a man from Massachusetts had planted a half-acre of it and began making and selling crude brooms.


 

 

 

 


 


 


 


 

 

My winder "kicker" for winding the standard flat broom.


 

            My traveling table that I take to shows.


 


This is a very old combination winder and vice.