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Split Birch Broom
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This broom was made from a birch tree. To get long, flat splints, broom makers used a technique similar to that used in basket making. First, a modest-sized birch tree was harvested. The bark was removed and, using a mallet, the broom maker then pounded free the outer rings of the tree. A flat splint emerged through pounding, and a good pounder could carefully loosen long splints. The splints were then split into thin, flat ribbons, gathered together, and formed onto the broomstick. This particular broom was one of the first objects gathered for the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association's museum. It was given to PVMA as an object demonstrating a hard and distant past. By the time it was donated, the rise of the broomcorn industry meant that cheap, good brooms were widely available, and the hard work invested in making this kind of broom could best be put elsewhere.
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