Old fashioned brooms made by hand are virtually a thing of the past. There are a handful of old fashioned broom makers practicing their craft around the United States. On our vacation we found one such shop making 1800’s style brooms, in the historic mountain town of Fort Davis, in West Texas.
Below is a photo of Mr. Cox making brooms the old fashioned way in his shop using authentic 1800’s style broom making equipment.
Mr. Ron Cox makes brooms using traditional “broom corn”, which he explained was actually sorghum. In the early 1700’s Benjamin Franklin noticed a small seed on a whisk broom used for cleaning beaver hats. The broom had been imported from France. Franklin planted the seed and grew the unusual sorghum as a garden novelty plant. Then a few years later the same sorghum was planted by a few farmers for animal food. In 1797 a farmer who had began to make brooms for sale using the sorghum he grew, was asked by a businessman who wanted to copy his brooms, what kind of plant he was using. Not wanting to give away his secret of using sorghum stalks, he answered “broom corn”. From that day on, the term “broom corn” was used to describe the kind of sorghum use in old fashioned brooms such as the ones made in the 1800’s Broom Shop in Fort Davis. Below is an image of broom corn.
The old fashioned broom making shop seen in the photos below is on the main street in Fort Davis, just a few blocks down from the entrance to the historic Civil War fort for the same name.
These old fashioned brooms are truly a work of art and will last for years. They can be used for decoration but actually do sweep very well. Some might find these old fashioned brooms are much better for sweeping in corners and along walls than modern brooms.
In addition to old fashioned brooms the Davis Mountain Broom shop also makes walking sticks for hikers. You can contact the shop at (432) 426-3297.