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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

The France Broom Factory, Paxton, IL

Updated: Mar 6

Used to be, we all needed brooms everyday, all around the house and yard. Now we use vacuums, leaf blowers and quick mops. In Paxton IL there was a broom factory that was quite high tech. There were quite a few employees, all using different machines in a specialized production line.

The straw used for the brooms was special Broomcorn straw grown in Coles County. Alfred Carlson brought the straw into the factory on a handcart.

The first step in the manufacturing process was the initial sorting of the straw by size. Only the woman closest to the camera was named in the paper -- Jean Ronna.

After the initial sorting, the straw was sorted again by a machine. Walter Burgess operated the sorter and the man leaning on the wall was Cecil Fields, the supervisor.

Harold Dahl was in charge of taking bundles of straw and dipping them in a vat of dye. It was thought that having all the straw the same color was a selling point.

The broom stick and the straw came together in the "winding machine." Only the man closest to the camera was named in the paper -- Sylvan Jones. The broomsticks were made from maple trees.

Donald Hiser used the seed scraper to clean any extra seeds off the brooms.

Tom Cagle operated the "sewing" machine that presses the broom heads flat and bound the straws together with a strong cord.

Howard Rhodes operated the clipping machine, which finished the broom making process by cutting the straws to a uniform length.

The final touch was the France Broom Factory label, which was printed at the factory! Charles Rich added the labels.

The France Broom Factory was owned by H.P. France.

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