The Development of the Racing Broom
Until the early nineteenth century, Quidditch was played on day brooms of varying quality. These brooms' represented a massive advance, over their medieval forerunners the invention of the Cushioning Charm by Elliot Smethwyck in 1820 went a long way
towards making broomsticks more comfortable than ever before. Nevertheless, nineteenth - century broomsticks were generally incapable of achieving high speeds and were often difficult to control at high altitudes. Brooms tended to be hand - produced by individual broom - makers, and while they are admirable from the point of view of styling and craftsmanship, their performance rarely matched up to their handsome appearance.
A case in point is the Oakshaft 79 (so named because the first example was created in 1879), crafted by the broom - maker Elias Grimstone of Portsmouth, the Oakshaft is a handsome broom with a very thick oaken handle; designed for endurance flying and towithstand high winds. The Oakshaft is now a highly prized vintage broom, but attempts to use it for Quidditch were never successful. Too cumbersome to turn at high speed, the Oakshaft never gained much popularity with those who prized agility over safety, though it will always be remembered as the broom used in the first ever Atlantic
broom crossing, by Jocunda Sykes in 1935. (Before that time, wizards preferred to take ships rather, than trust broomsticks over such distances. Apparition becomes increasingly unreliable over very long, distances and only highly skilled wizards are wise to attempt to cross continents.)
The Moontrimmer, which was first created by Gladys Boothby in 1901, represented a leap forward in broom construction, and for a while these slender, ash - handled brooms were in great demand as Quidditch brooms. The Moontrimmer's principal advantage over other brooms was its ability to achieve greater heights than ever before (and remain controllable at such altitudes). Gladys was unable to produce Moontrimmers in the quantities Quidditch players clamoured for. The production of a new broom, the Silver Arrow, was welcomed: this was the true forerunner of the racing broom, achieving much higher speeds than the Moontrimmer or Oakshaft (up to seventy miles an hour with a tailwind), but like these it was the work of a single wizard (Leonard Jewkes), and demand far outstripped supply.
The breakthrough occurred in 1926, when the brothers Bob, Bill, and Barnaby Ollerton started the Cleansweep Broom Company. Their first model, the Cleansweep One, was produced in numbers never seen before and marketed as a racing broom, specifically designed for sporting use. The Cleansweep was an instant, runaway success, cornering as no broom before it, and within a year; every Quidditch team in the country was mounted on Cleansweeps.
The Ollerton brothers were not left in sole possession of the racing - broom market for long. In 1929 a second racing - broom company was established by Randoph Keitch and Basil Horton, both player's for the Falmouth Falcons. The Comet Trading Company's first broom was the Comet 140, this being the number of models that Ktitch, and Horton had tested prior to its release. The patented Horton - Keitch-braking charm meant that Quidditch players were much less likely to overshoot goals or fly offside, and the Comet now became the broom of preference for many British and Irish teams in consequence.
While the Cleansweep - Comet competition became more intense, marked by the release of the improved Cleansweeps Two and Three in 1934 and 1937 respectively, and the Comet 180 in 1938, other broomstick manufacturers were springing up all over Europe.
The Tinderblast was launched on the market in 1940. Produced by the Black Forest company Ellerby and Spudmore, the Tinderblast is a highly resilient broom, though it has never achieved the top speeds of the Comets and Cleansweeps. In 1952 Ellerby and Spudmore brought out a new model, the Swiftstick. Faster than the Tinderblast, the Swiftstick nevertheless has a tendency to lose power in ascent and has never been used by professional Quidditch teams.
In 1955 Universal Brooms Ltd. introduced the Shooting Star, the cheapest racing broom to date. Unfortunately, after its initial burst of popularity, the Shooting Star was found: to lose speed and height as it aged, and Universal Brooms went out of business in 1978. In 1967 the broom - world was galvanized by the formation of the Nimbus Racing Broom Company. Nothing like the Nimbus 1000 had ever been seen before. Reaching speeds of up to a hundred miles per hour, capable of, capable of turning 360 degrees at a fixed point in mid - air, the Nimbus combined the reliability of the old Oakshaft 79 with the easy handling of the best Cleansweeps. The Nimbus immediately became the broom preferred by professional Quidditch teams across Europe, and the subsequent models (1001, 1500, 1700, 2000, and 2001) have kept the Nimbus Racing Broom Company at the top of the field.
The Twigger 90, first produced in 1990, was intended by its manufacturers Flyte and Barker to replace the Nimbus as market leader. However, though though highly finished and including a number of new gimmicks such as an inbuilt Warning Whistle and Self - Straightening Brush, the Twigger has been found to warp under high speeds and has gained the unlucky reputation of being flown by wizards with more Galleons than sense.
Quidditch Through The Ages
by Kenniworthy Whisp