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Broom Makers

Sidney, Ohio, was home to several broom making businesses.   The Sidney Broom Company’s operation was located at the northeast corner of Miami Avenue and Shelby Street (across the road from Sidney Dairy, 507 N. Miami) in a brick building that still stands. The Bryant and Donaldson Broom Factory, (workers are shown above in front of the plant during the 1890s), succeeded the Sidney Broom Company at that location. The Gerald Brothers Broom Co., and later on the Superior Broom Company, also had facilities here, but the locations of these businesses are unknown.

It is interesting to note that this industry was the scene of what was probably the first labor strike in Sidney's history. Mr. Donaldson, of the Donaldson firm, was secretary of the National Broom Manufacturers Association in 1897. After the industry set prices for its members (now prohibited by law as price fixing), the broom winders at Bryant and Donaldson went out on strike, after demanding, but not receiving, higher wages due to the price increases in their product. Other broom winders in town joined in sympathy. After trying but failing to recruit the broom workers in Urbana to join them, the workers returned to their jobs.

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Industry segment written in January, 1998 by Rich Wallace


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