A Rare Gem
The Broom house was originally used to house strawberry pickers in the nineteenth century. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the building was converted into a broom-making house. The equipment used by our broom makers is original and came with the building when it was donated to Furnace Town. The Kicker Winder is especially rare, and as far as can be determined only a few are left in existence, including one housed in the Smithsonian Institution.
The equipment in the broom house includes a “kicker winder” and a “broom vise” which were used, traditionally by men, in this building to make brooms near the end of the nineteenth century and today are used for standard, child’s and natural handled brooms. There are smaller “winders” which are used to make pot-scrubbers, cake-testers, whiskbrooms, turkey wings and more.
The Broom House was donated by the Banks Family and restored by the Paul M. Jones Foundation, Inc. in 1979-1980.
The Broom House was moved to Furnace Town on January 22, 1980. It was formerly on the property of the late Mr. & Mrs. Richard W. Banks near Bishopville, MD. During Mr. Bank's lifetime, the building was used for the handcrafting of brooms, the repair of clocks and watches, and the repair of shoes -- all by Mr. Banks. The loft often housed strawberry pickers.
The exhibit materials are symbolic of the type of equipment used to make brooms in the early and mid-nineteenth century at Furnace Town. The building and most of its contents are a gift of the heirs of Mr. & Mrs. Banks: Edna Banks Hall, Arthur Banks, Zenia Shipley, Clifton Banks, and Richard Warren Banks.