Brushes & sweepers View full size

Brushes & sweepers

Long before the days of vacuum cleaners with every imaginable attachment, all cleaning was done by hand. If you were lucky you may have had a carpet sweeper, but mostly you used a carpet beater to remove the dust. But the pre-war housewife had a brush for every task.

Hand brushes and brooms have changed little in shape over the decades, but few are now made from wood and bristle or real hair. Dust pans were largely tin with their colours reflecting colour trends. Originally open, by the forties they became somewhat enclosed.

Upholstry brushes were curved loops of hard bristles that would go round the curves of chairs and down the sides, whilst hearth brushes was small and soft with long handles to avoid bending. Sometimes little hearth brushes made from straw would be kept by the fireside. With the invention of the Venetian blind, a three pronged furry brush to clean both sides of a slat was the easiest way to tackle the task.

Brushes for scrubbing or for cleaning shoes have changed little, save for the fact that they espoused the name of the manufacturer and were fashioned from wood. Shoe brushes and polishes could be tidied away in little aluminium or tin boxes.

A brush for buffing a freshly blacked range had a curved handle and closely resembled one used for horses ! Washing up brushes were made from cotton strands bunched together onto a wire handle.

Many ingenious brushes came from Kleeneze, a company who still produces many household products today.


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