I have to say I’ve never spent much time wondering how brooms are made. But I still quite enjoyed this video, with commentary by a talkative Amish woman named Ada.
In the video you see her making brooms using a clankety foot-powered contraption as she discusses the ins and outs of her craft.
As Ada works she is interviewed by LaVonne De Bois, who leads tours in Holmes County, Ohio. The clip opens with Ada speaking about a previous broom-maker, a blind man who had passed away. “I just thought somebody should take over the tradition,” she explains.
This must have been an Amishman known as “Blind Syl“, who ran a broom-making business business in the community for decades (the store that Syl founded is now known as A.T.’s Broom and Book Store; that might be what we are seeing here).
Ada explains she is using something called “broom corn”, which doesn’t have any “feeding value” but apparently is just right for brooms. Ada explains that it’s grown in “old Mexico”…”it’s not local”. Apparently it’s cheaper to import it than grow it locally, because of the labor involved.
At one point she comes across some corn she doesn’t like, which is “all broken up and cracked…and the ends aren’t done even.”
Ada also discusses how she’s injured herself on the device, pinching the meat of her palm in the broom wire. “It wakes you up,” she says with a chuckle.
Her bestselling broom? “As of now, the warehouse broom, for some reason.” Ada admits she doesn’t sell too many brooms to the locals, though. “If I would depend on the Amish for the broom business, I wouldn’t have any business.” This was surprising; Ada goes on to explain why.
This is the type of Old World cottage enterprise that fits common perceptions of the Amish, using technology that could have been around 100+ years ago (though in reality Amish use more tech than many imagine). Neat to have a closer look here at a true “hand”-icraft.