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A Timeline of the Mighty Broom

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Thousands of years ago:  Well, we do not have a birth certificate of broom. However, I believe thousands of years ago when our ancestors used to live in caves, they started using a form of broom to keep the caves clean. Since then, various form of brooms were used for similar purposes but nobody has bothered to keep a reference. I don’t think till date archeologists have discovered any form of brooms from those ancient sites mainly because it is a nature of broom to fall apart at the end.

Long Long Time ago: This is how we narrate when it comes to our own mythology. Broom has a prominent place in Hindu Mythology as well. Ma Sheetala, the Goddess of sores, ghouls, pustules and diseases uses a broom as her primary weapon.

1453: We have our first record and this reference exists because for the first time brooms were used not to clean an area but to fly. The witches. Male as well as female witches defying the force of gravity gave a different definition to broom. All leading newspapers of that era published stories of such incidents for many years to follow. However, according to some, the earliest recorded use of the broomstick was in 962, in a German illustrated manuscript.

1797: Levi Dickinson from Hadley, Massachusetts started manufacturing brooms from a species of tasseled grass (sorghum vulgare). Being an American, he patented the same as his wife liked it very much.

1810: The foot-treadle broom machine was invented. This clever machine played an integral part in the Industrial Revolution. Thanks to Dickinson again. A separate handle was also added to make it little fancy and use it for other purpose when required.

Early 19th century but after 1810: It was the Shakers, a Christian religious sect centered in the northeast of America and revered for their facility with handicrafts, who made the broom flat. The Shaker intervention is one major update to the broom since the introduction of the broom machine. The Shakers also pioneered the smaller whisk broom, perfect for one-handed dusting and sweeping of higher surfaces, a design which we use even today. Hence, the Award of Excellence, without doubt goes to the Shakers.

1939 to 1945: No major development happen to broom since the early 19th century other than the fact that many factories came up to meet the growing worldwide demand of broom. Usage of broom by witches continued in many books and articles. The next highlight came during World War II. American submarine crews would hoist a broom onto their boat’s fore-truck when returning to port to indicate that they had “swept” the seas clean of enemy shipping. This is probably the first symbolic use of broom on record. It is unknown since when women in India have started using broom to threaten someone and occasionally used it in domestic wars.

1950-1960: Following the development of the first synthetic fibers in the 1940s, companies started manufacturing broom from plastic which later on fully capitalized by our Chinese friends.

1976:Roots: The Saga of an American Family‘,a novel, written by Alex Haley which was published in 1976 helped revive an old tradition called “Jumping the Broom”. Jumping the broom is a phrase and custom relating to a wedding ceremony where the couple jumps over a broom and currently popular amongst the American Africans. The tradition has originated in the late 19th century or so. The phrase has also inspired a movie by the same name which is rated 5.5 in IMDB, most likely voted by the American africans.

2001: Broom came into limelight again with the introduction of Harry Potter. In 1993, Harry Potter received a Firebolt racing broom as a Christmas present from an anonymous benefactor following the destruction of his Nimbus 2000. Correctly suspecting that Sirius Black sent it, Hermione Granger reported it to Professor McGonagall, who confiscated it for testing but didn’t find any nuclear warhead attached to it and hence, Harry was issued a new license.

2013: This is a remarkable year in the timeline of broom. Broom entered the political arena. Broom became the symbol of Aam Admi Party with an agenda to sweep all evil. With broom getting so much of footage, AK Devata’s vahan Blue WagonR has also came into limelight. As of now, the broom is successful in sweeping lots of people to Jantar-Mantar and going by what is usually believed in India:

  1. AAP members must continue carrying broom above their shoulder as it is considered as giving bad luck to others.
  2. Congress and BJP must not burn a broom or touch it by their feet because doing show will bring bad luck and anger Laxmiji.

P.S: What you should not do if you have a weapon called broom and a car like Wagon-R? You should not clean the garden of Rail Bhawan to sleep at night parking the car besides you to cover yourself from wind. You can rather sleep inside the car giving your weapon a much needed break. Advice is for Aam Aadmi only without any P attached to it. 🙂

*the above picture is taken from internet and in case you may want to raise an objection, pls write to me.

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