A broom is a cleaning tool consisting of usually stiff fibers attached to, and roughly parallel to, a cylindrical handle (the broomstick). It is thus a variety of brush with a long handle. It is commonly used in combination with a dustpan.
Soft brooms are used in some cultures chiefly for sweeping walls of cobwebs and spiders, like a feather duster. Hard brooms are for rougher tasks like sweeping dirt off sidewalks or concrete floors, or even smoothing and texturing wet concrete. The majority of brooms are somewhere in between - soft enough to be flexible and to move even light dust, but stiff enough to achieve a firm sweeping action.
The broom is also a symbolic object associated with witches and ceremonial magic.
In 1797, the quality of brooms changed when Levi Dickenson, a farmer in Hadley, Massachusetts, made a broom for his wife, using the tassels of sorghum, a grain he was growing for the seeds. His wife complimented his creation around town, creating demand for Dickenson's sorghum brooms. Dickenson subsequently invented a machine that would make better brooms, and faster than he could. In 1810, the foot treadle broom machine was invented. This machine played an integral part in the Industrial Revolution.
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