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A broom (also known in some forms as a broomstick) is a
cleaning toolCleaning tools include the following: *Acoustic cleaning An acoustic cleaning horn on material handling equipment Acoustic cleaning is a maintenance method used in Material handling equipment, material-handling and storage systems that handle Bul ...
consisting of usually stiff fibers (often made of materials such as plastic, hair, or corn husks) attached to, and roughly parallel to, a cylindrical handle, the broomstick. It is thus a variety of
brush A brush is a common tool with bristles, wire or other filaments. It generally consists of a handle or block to which filaments are affixed in either a parallel or perpendicular orientation, depending on the way the brush is to be gripped durin ...

brush
with a long handle. It is commonly used in combination with a
dustpan 250px, Dustpan and brush A dustpan, the small version of which is also known as a "half brush and shovel", is a cleaning tool, utensil. The dustpan is commonly used in combination with a broom or long brush. The small dustpan may appear to be a typ ...

dustpan
. A distinction is made between a "hard broom" and a "soft broom" and a spectrum in between. Soft brooms are used in some cultures chiefly for sweeping walls of cobwebs and
spiders Spiders ( order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropod An arthropod (, (gen. ποδός)) is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton, a Segmentation (biology), segmented body, and paired jointed appendages. Arthropods form the phylum Euar ...

spiders
, like a "
feather duster A feather duster is an implement used for cleaning. It is typically made from a wooden dowel handle onto which ostrich feathers are wound with a wire. Feather dusters are most often long. Some have a retractable casing instead of a dowel handle. ...

feather duster
", with hard brooms are for rougher tasks like sweeping dirt off sidewalks or concrete floors, or even smoothing and texturing wet
concrete Concrete is a composed of fine and coarse bonded together with a fluid (cement paste) that hardens (cures) over time. Concrete is the second-most-used substance in the world after water, and is the most widely used building material. Its ...

concrete
. The majority of brooms are somewhere in between, suitable for sweeping the floors of homes and businesses, soft enough to be flexible and to move even light dust, but stiff enough to achieve a firm sweeping action. The broom is also a symbolic object associated with
witchcraft Witchcraft is the practice of what the practitioner ("witch") believes to be Magic (supernatural), magical skills and abilities such as using spell (paranormal), spells, incantations, and magical rituals. ''Witchcraft'' is a broad term that var ...

witchcraft
and
ceremonial magic Ceremonial magic (ritual magic, high magic or learned magic) encompasses a wide variety of rituals of Magic (supernatural), magic. The works included are characterized by ceremony and numerous requisite accessories to aid the practitioner. It c ...
.


Etymology

The word "broom" derives from the name of certain thorny
shrubs A shrub (or bush, but this is more of a gardening term) is a small- to medium-sized perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives more than two years. The term ('' per-'' + '' -ennial'', "through the years") is of ...
(''
Genista ''Genista'' is a genus of flowering plants in the legume family (biology), family Fabaceae, native plant, native to open habitats such as moorland and pasture in Europe and western Asia. They include species commonly called broom (shrub), broom, ...

Genista
'' and others) used for sweeping. The name of the shrubs began to be used for the household implement in
Late Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. English language underwent distinct variations and developments following the Old English period. Scholarl ...
and gradually replaced the earlier ''
besom A besom is a broom A broom (also known in some forms as a broomstick) is a cleaning tool consisting of usually stiff fibers (often made of materials such as plastic, hair, or corn husks) attached to, and roughly parallel to, a cylindrical h ...
'' during the
Early Modern English Early Modern English or Early New English (sometimes abbreviated EModE, EMnE, or EME) is the stage of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early ...
period. The song '' Buy Broom Buzzems'' (by William Purvis 1752–1832) still refers to the "broom besom" as one type of
besom A besom is a broom A broom (also known in some forms as a broomstick) is a cleaning tool consisting of usually stiff fibers (often made of materials such as plastic, hair, or corn husks) attached to, and roughly parallel to, a cylindrical h ...
(i.e. "a besom made from broom"). Flat brooms, made of broom corn, were invented by
Shakers The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, more commonly known as the Shakers, are a millenarian Millenarianism (also millenarism), from Latin ''mīllēnārius'' "containing a thousand", is the belief by a religious ...

Shakers
in the 19th century with the invention of the broom vice. A smaller whisk broom or brush is sometimes called a duster.


Manufacture

In 1797, the quality of brooms changed when Levi Dickenson, a farmer in
Hadley, Massachusetts Hadley (, ) is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin an ...
, made a broom for his wife, using the tassels of
sorghum ''Sorghum'' is a genus of about 25 species of flowering plants in the grass family ( Poaceae). Some of these species are grown as cereals for human consumption and some in pastures for animals. One species, '' Sorghum bicolor'', was originally ...

sorghum
, a grain he was growing for the seeds. His wife spread good words around town, creating demand for Dickenson's sorghum brooms. The sorghum brooms held up well, but ultimately, like all brooms, fell apart. Dickenson subsequently invented a machine that would make better brooms, and faster than he could. In 1810, the foot treadle broom machine was invented. This machine played an integral part in the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
.


United States

One source mentions that the United States had 303 broom factories by 1839 and that the number peaked at 1,039 in 1919. Most of these were in the
Eastern United States 300px, This video was taken by the crew of ISS. The pass goes over the eastern United States.">International_Space_Station.html" ;"title="Expedition 29 on board the International Space Station">ISS. The pass goes over the eastern United States. ...
; during the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning . The timing of the Great Depression varied around the world; in most countries, it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s. It was the l ...
in the 1930s, the number of factories declined to 320 in 1939. The state of
Oklahoma Oklahoma () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...
became a major center for broom production because broom corn grew especially well there, with The Oklahoma Broom Corn Company opening a factory in
El Reno El Reno is a city in and county seat of Canadian County, Oklahoma, Canadian County, Oklahoma, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the city population was 16,729. The city was begun shortly after the 1889 land rush and ...
in 1906. Faced with competition from imported brooms and synthetic bristles, most of the factories closed by the 1960s.


Magic

In the context of
witchcraft Witchcraft is the practice of what the practitioner ("witch") believes to be Magic (supernatural), magical skills and abilities such as using spell (paranormal), spells, incantations, and magical rituals. ''Witchcraft'' is a broad term that var ...

witchcraft
, ''broomstick'' is likely to refer to the broom as a whole, known as a
besom A besom is a broom A broom (also known in some forms as a broomstick) is a cleaning tool consisting of usually stiff fibers (often made of materials such as plastic, hair, or corn husks) attached to, and roughly parallel to, a cylindrical h ...
. The first known reference to
witch Witchcraft is the practice of what the practitioner ("witch") believes to be magical skills and abilities such as using spells, incantations, and magical ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or obj ...

witch
es flying on broomsticks dates to 1453, confessed by the male witch Guillaume Edelin. The concept of a
flying ointment 400px, A Witches' Sabbath by Frans Francken the Younger. Note on extreme right pots of magic ointment and older witch applying ointment to back of naked younger witch Flying ointment is a Hallucinogens#Deliriants, hallucinogenic ointment said t ...
used by witches appears at about the same time, recorded in 1456. In
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (also known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures or MGM) is an American media company, founded in 1924, that produces and distributes feature films and television programs. It is based in Beverly Hills, California ...
's 1939 film, ''
The Wizard of Oz ''The Wizard of Oz'' may refer to: *''The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'', a 1900 American novel by L. Frank Baum **Wizard of Oz (character), from the Baum novel series The Wizard of Oz may also refer to: Adaptations of the novel Film * The Wonderful ...
'', the
Wicked Witch of the West The Wicked Witch of the West is a fictional Character (arts), character who appears in the classic children's novel ''The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'' (1900), created by American author L. Frank Baum. In Baum's subsequent List of Oz books, ''Oz'' nove ...

Wicked Witch of the West
used a broomstick to fly over . She also used it to skywrite " Surrender Dorothy" above the
Emerald City The Emerald City (sometimes called the City of Emeralds) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the municipality holding primary status in a country, Constituent state, state, province, Department (country subdivision), department, o ...

Emerald City
.
The Wizard Wizard, the wizard, or wizards may refer to: * Wizard (paranormal), a practitioner of magic Arts, entertainment and media Fictional characters * Wizard (Archie Comics), a comic book superhero * Wizard (character class), magic-wielding characte ...
commands Dorothy and her three traveling companions to bring the Wicked Witch's broomstick to him in order to grant their wishes. Dorothy carries it to the Wizard with the
Scarecrow A scarecrow is a decoy or mannequin, often in the shape of a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing ...
, , and
Lion The lion (''Panthera leo'') is a large Felidae, cat of the genus ''Panthera'' native to Africa and India. It has a muscular, deep-chested body, short, rounded head, round ears, and a hairy tuft at the end of its tail. It is sexually dimorphic; ...

Lion
after the Wicked Witch's death. In
Disney The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney (), is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios complex in Burbank, California California is a U.S. st ...

Disney
's 1940 film '' Fantasia'',
Mickey Mouse Mickey Mouse is a Animated cartoon, cartoon Fictional character, character created in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks at Walt Disney Animation Studios, The Walt Disney Studios, who serves as the mascot of the Walt Disney Company. An Anthropo ...
, playing
The Sorcerer's Apprentice "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (german: "Der Zauberlehrling", link=no, italic=no) is a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman ...
, brings a broom to life to do his chore of filling a well full of water. The broom overdoes its job and when chopped into pieces, each splinter becomes a new broom that flood the room until Yen Sid stops them. This story comes from a poem by
Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, critic, and amateur artist. His works include: four novels; epic poetry, epic and lyric poetry; prose ...

Goethe
called ''Der Zauberlehrling'' ("The Sorcerer's Apprentice"). The Disney brooms have had recurring cameos in Disney media, mostly portrayed as janitors, albeit not out of control or causing chaos such as in the original appearance. This flight was also in ''
Bedknobs and Broomsticks ''Bedknobs and Broomsticks'' is a 1971 musicalMusicAL was a 24-hour Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. ...
'' as well as ''
Hocus Pocus Hocus-pocus is a reference to the actions of magicians, often as the stereotypical magic words spoken when bringing about some sort of change. It was once a common term for a magician, juggler, or other similar entertainers. In extended usage, ...
''. In
Eswatini (Swaziland) Eswatini ( ; ss, eSwatini ), officially the Kingdom of Eswatini ( ss, Umbuso weSwatini, links=no), sometimes written in English as eSwatini, and formerly and still commonly known in English as Swaziland ( ; officially renamed in 2018), is a l ...

Eswatini (Swaziland)
, witches' broomsticks are short bundles of sticks tied together without a handle. Flying brooms play an important role in the fantasy world of
Harry Potter ''Harry Potter'' is a series of seven written by British author . The novels chronicle the lives of a young , , and his friends and , all of whom are students at . The main concerns Harry's struggle against , a dark wizard who intends to ...

Harry Potter
, used for transportation as well as for playing the popular airborne game of
Quidditch Quidditch is a fictional sport invented by author J.K. Rowling for her fantasy book series ''Harry Potter''. It first appeared in the novel ''Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'' (1997). It is a dangerous but popular sport played by witch ...

Quidditch
. Flying brooms, along with Flying carpets, are the main means of transportation in the world of
Poul Anderson Anderson's novelette "Inside Earth" was the cover story in the April 1951 issue of ''Galaxy Science Fiction'' Poul William Anderson (November 25, 1926 – July 31, 2001) was an American people, American science fiction author who began his ...
's Operation Chaos. The Flying Broom ( tr, Uçan Süpürge) is a
feminist Feminism is a range of social movements and ideology, ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social gender equality, equality of the sexes. Feminism incorporates the position that societies priori ...

feminist
organization in
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia in Western Asia, with a small portion on the Balkans in Southeast Europe. It shares borders with Greece and Bulgaria to the northwest; the ...

Turkey
, deliberately evoking the associations of a Flying Broom with witches.


In wider culture

* The
Métis people The Métis (; ) are Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Indigenous peoples in the three Canadian Prairies, Prairie Provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta), as well as parts of Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, and the ...
of Canada have a broom dancing tradition. There are broom dancing exhibitions where people show off their broom dancing skills. The lively broom dance involves fast footwork and jumping. * "
Jumping the broom ''Jumping the Broom'' is a 2011 American Romance film, romantic comedy-drama film directed by Salim Akil and produced by Tracey Edmonds, Tracey E. Edmonds, Elizabeth Hunter, T.D. Jakes, Glendon Palmer, and Curtis Wallace. The title of the film ...
" is an
African-American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that ...
wedding tradition that originated in marriages of slaves in the United States in the 19th century. Its revived popularity among African Americans is due to the 1976 novel '' Roots: The Saga of an American Family''. "Jumping the broom" was a marriage tradition in pre-Christian Britain and possibly through wider areas of Europe, such as Scandinavia and the Baltic Germanic tribes. Broom grows widely throughout Europe and Africa. * During
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
, American submarine crews would hoist a broom onto their boat's fore-truck when returning to port to indicate that they had "swept" the seas clean of enemy shipping. The tradition has been devalued in recent years by submarine crews who fly a broom simply when returning from their boat's shake-down cruise. This tradition may stem from the action of the Dutch admiral
Maarten Tromp Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp (also written as ''Maerten Tromp''; 23 April 1598 – 31 July 1653) was a Dutch army general and admiral Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navy, navies, and in many navies is the highest rank. In the Com ...
who tied a broom to his main mast after defeating the British admiral Robert Blake at the
Battle of Dungeness The naval Battle of Dungeness took place on 30 November 1652 (10 December Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII as a minor modification ...
in 1652. This has often been interpreted as a message that he would "sweep the British from the seas". This story remains unsubstantiated, but may have its origin in the tradition of hoisting a broom as a sign that a ship was for sale, which seems more likely as Tromp had captured two of Blake's ships in the battle.


Literature

* In 1701
Jonathan Swift Jonathan Swift (30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745) was an , essayist, political (first for the , then for the ), poet and who became of , hence his common , "Dean Swift". Swift is remembered for works such as ' (1704), ' (1712), ' (172 ...
wrote a "
Meditation Upon a Broomstick ''A Meditation Upon a Broomstick'' is a satire and parody written by Jonathan Swift in 1701. Edmund Curll, in an attempt to antagonize and siphon off money from Swift, published it in 1710 from a manuscript stolen from Swift (which forced Swift ...
", a parody of
Robert Boyle Robert Boyle (; 25 January 1627 – 31 December 1691) was an Anglo-Irish natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor. Boyle is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, and therefore one of the founders of modern che ...

Robert Boyle
's ''Occasional Reflections upon Several Subjects'': *In J.K. Rowling's ''
Harry Potter ''Harry Potter'' is a series of seven written by British author . The novels chronicle the lives of a young , , and his friends and , all of whom are students at . The main concerns Harry's struggle against , a dark wizard who intends to ...

Harry Potter
'' novels and film adaptations, broomsticks are a common form of transport for wizards and witches. These are also used for the magical sport of
Quidditch Quidditch is a fictional sport invented by author J.K. Rowling for her fantasy book series ''Harry Potter''. It first appeared in the novel ''Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'' (1997). It is a dangerous but popular sport played by witch ...

Quidditch
, in which players use their broomsticks to fly around a field and shoot goals.


Politics

It is used as a symbol of the following political parties: *
Aam Aadmi Party Aam Aadmi Party (AAP, en, Common Man's Party) is a political party in India, whose central policies include free electricity, water, healthcare and public transport. It styles itself as an alternative to the mainstreaam Bharatiya Janata P ...

Aam Aadmi Party
, India *
All Progressives Congress The All Progressives Congress is one of the two 2 (two) is a number, numeral (linguistics), numeral and numerical digit, digit. It is the natural number following 1 and preceding 3. It is the smallest and only even prime number. Because it f ...
, Nigeria


Religion

* In
Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduis ...

Jainism
, monks and nuns have a little broom with them, in order to gently brush aside ants and small animals, to avoid crushing them. This is part of observing the principle of ''
Ahiṃsā Ahimsa (also spelled ''Ahinsa'') (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the ...
''.


Sports

* * In
baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team (baseball), fielding team, called the pi ...

baseball
, when the
home team In sports, home is the place and venue identified with a team sport A team is a [group (disambiguation), group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal. As defined by Professor Leigh Thompson (academic), ...
is close to accomplishing a sweep (having won the first two games of a three-game series or first three games of a four-game series), some fans will bring brooms to the ballpark and brandish them as a way of taunting the visiting team (examples: Arkansas vs. LSU, 2011; Red Sox vs. Yankees, May 13–15, 2011 and June 7–9, 2011). * In broomball, broomsticks have their heads removed and are used to push a ball into a goal, on an ice surface. The game is similar to hockey, except players do not wear skates.


Image gallery

File:"Arya" sapu biasa.jpg, Common soft broom in Indonesia File:Holding Shield and Holding Broom tomb doors, 2 of 2, China, unearthed from Lanjia Yard, Pixian County, Sichuan, Eastern Han dynasty, 25-220 AD, stone - Sichuan Provincial Museum - Chengdu, China - DSC04747.jpg, Carved
relief Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The term ''wikt:relief, relief'' is from the Latin verb ''relevo'', to raise. To create a sculpture in relief is to give the ...
s on stone tomb doors showing a man dressed in ''
Hanfu is a term used for the historical styles of clothing worn by the Han people The Han Chinese,
...
'' and holding a broom, Chinese
Eastern Han Dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...
(25–220 AD), from Lanjia Yard,
Pi County Pidu District formerly known as Pi County or Pixian is one of 11 urban districts of the prefecture-level city Image:Yangxin-renmin-huanyin-ni-0022.jpg, A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply "Huangshi" (). T ...
,
Sichuan province Sichuan (; , ; alternatively romanized as Szechuan or Szechwan) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administr ...
, Sichuan Provincial Museum of
Chengdu Chengdu (, ; simplified Chinese Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representa ...

Chengdu
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
File:Broom in China 01.jpg, A soft broom commonly used in
Hainan Province Hainan (, ; ) is the smallest and southernmost of the (PRC), consisting of various islands in the . , the largest and most populous China,The , which is slightly larger, is claimed but not controlled by the PRC. It is instead controlled ...
, China File:Banaue Philippines Handmade-brooms-01.jpg, Typical Filipino soft brooms (walis-tambo),
Banaue (or alternatively spelled as Banawe), officially the is a in the province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, ...
,
Ifugao Ifugao ( ilo, Probinsia ti Ifugao; tl, Lalawigan ng Ifugao) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative ...
,
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
File:Aerial view of broom stall.jpg, A hard-broom (walis-tingting) stall in the Philippines. Philippine hard brooms are often made from the hard primary veins of the leaves of the coconut palm frond. File:Broom from a home in Haiti.jpg, A typical broom at a home in Haiti File:A broom made of twigs from Rwanda.jpg, A broom at a Rwandan home, made out of twigs File:Simple turkey tail brooms.png, alt=Turkey tail brooms, Two 'turkey tail' style brooms made from broom corn File:Shinchunagon Taira no Tomomori Sweeping the Deck LACMA M.84.31.97.jpg, Japanese warrior sweeping the deck with a broom before killing himself. File:Miotła 001q.JPG, Floor broom


See also

* Bath broom *
Besom A besom is a broom A broom (also known in some forms as a broomstick) is a cleaning tool consisting of usually stiff fibers (often made of materials such as plastic, hair, or corn husks) attached to, and roughly parallel to, a cylindrical h ...
*
Mop A mop (such as a floor mop) is a mass or bundle of coarse strings or yarn, etc., or a piece of cloth, sponge or other absorbent material, attached to a pole or stick. It is used to soak up liquid, for cleaning floors and other surfaces, to mop ...

Mop
*
Squeegee A squeegee or squilgee is a tool A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use simple tools, only human beings, whose use of stone tool A stone to ...


References


External links

{{Authority control Articles containing video clips Cleaning tools Domestic implements Magical objects