Shaker Whisk Broom - John Keith Russell - Design Miami/ The global forum for collectible design
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Shaker Whisk Broom


Few objects bring together the spiritual and temporal as explicitly as the Shaker broom. ¶ “There is no dirt in Heaven,” pronounced Mother Ann Lee. As a part of their spiritual practice, the Shakers were instructed to “sweep” away sin through the literal sweeping of their villages. It is no surprise that, in the nineteenth century, no Shaker industry was more widespread than broom making. Almost every branch of the Society supported the manufacture of Shaker brooms and, often, multiple families within a single community would be engaged with their production. ¶ The Shakers are credited with the invention of the flat broom. Scholars have determined that Shaker broom making started at the Watervliet, New York, community around 1798, where the Shakers planted and harvested a crop of broomcorn on an island in the Mohawk River. To facilitate the production of brooms, Brother Theodore Bates (1762-1846) invented a special brush vice that flattened the bristles of a standard round broom so that heavy twine could be used to bind the broom into the traditional shape that we still know and use today. By 1805, broom manufacture in New Lebanon, New York, was in full swing, and the industry thrived there until being discontinued in the 1860s. It is estimated that the Shakers produced tens of thousands of brooms for use by the Society and for sale to the World.

  • Dimension/

    18.4 x x 39.4 cm (7.2 x x 15.5 in)

  • Style/


  • Heritage/


  • Ships from/

    NY, USA

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