The brooms at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies? That’s a Scheumack broom. The walking sticks Gandalf uses in The Lord of the Rings movies? Those are from Scheumack.
And that broom that Bette Midler flies on in Hocus Pocus 2? You better believe that’s a Scheumack broom as well.
These brooms all come from a little old shop in Eugene. Scheumack Broom Company makes several kinds of brooms, ranging from kitchen brooms to witch’s brooms, and they have been featured in several well-known movies.
The company is the brainchild of Thurman Scheumack, who founded the business in 1981. “The business started in Arkansas in the Ozark Mountains,” says Scheumack, 72. He previously worked with a historical center called the Ozark Folk Center, back when Bill Clinton was governor. Clinton started a program that would help Scheumack find his passion for making brooms.
“He gave out grants to younger people to go live with the old timers before it disappeared, and he gave me one of those grants,” Scheumack says. “So, I lived up there and studied knifemaking, blacksmithing, broom making, woodcarving, all these different things.”
Initially, Scheumack didn’t do this to make money. That all changed with his injury, though. “I got into a motorcycle accident, and my neck was broken in six places,” Scheumack says.
After this, Scheumack began thinking: What could he do to provide for his four children? He eventually decided that broom designing would be his career. “After I got out of the hospital, I really just centered on making the brooms,” he says.
Scheumack’s brooms are created in a traditional way, with several types designed for different uses. These include brooms for fireplaces, kitchen brooms and besom brooms, commonly known as witch’s brooms. Besom brooms are sewn rounder and are more aerodynamic than other types of brooms, including shaker brooms, which are sewn more flat.
Some of the brooms even have face carvings on them. Several of the tools used to make the brooms have parts from the 1870s, with one bench vise made in 1878. The wood is local, with sticks coming from the Brownsville area just north of Eugene. The wood used is mostly maple and cherry.
“It’s very much the way they were made 150 years ago,” Scheumack says. It’s the besom brooms that are featured in the movies. Scheumack says the brooms seen in Hogwarts from Harry Potter are made by his company.
In addition to the Harry Potter series, Scheumack’s brooms, sticks and carvings have been featured in several other movies. The wood sculpture carvings in the ships from the Pirates of the Caribbean are his. One episode of The Office has featured a Scheumack broom as well. Most recently, they have appeared in Hocus Pocus 2, released on Sept. 30.
By the time Hocus Pocus 2 came out this fall, Scheumack’s brooms were well-established. “Once you’re in that kind of circuit, we get referred to a lot,” Scheumack says. He added that his brooms have been featured in several Renaissance fairs, which are known to the movie industry as great places to find these types of crafts.
The movie industry is not the only primary source buying Scheumack brooms. In fact, he says, 50 percent of his wholesale customers are from witchcraft stores and metaphysical stores, which sell new age items.
In 1997, Scheumack decided to move his business to Eugene, largely because of a popular event a few miles west. “The main reason we moved here was because of the Oregon Country Fair,” he says. “It’s quite a change from the Ozark Mountains.” He has been selling his brooms every year at the fair since 1991, and people can buy his brooms there.
Today, Scheumack and his employees, four full-time and two part-time, can be found working on their brooms in Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood. The old, rustic nature of the shop is the perfect atmosphere for the types of brooms they make.
One worker, 29-year-old Waldo Przekop, says he enjoys the traditional and old-time style of the brooms he helps make.
“Making the brooms, that’s a cool part,” Przekop says. “I think that it’s something that I would be sad to see it go, as far as old-timey natural art jobs.”
So, whenever you sit down to watch Hocus Pocus 2 or the Harry Potter movies, keep an eye out for some local, old-time brooms made in a small shop in Eugene called Scheumack Broom Company.
Information on Scheumack Broom Company can be found at BroomMagic.com. They can also be contacted at 541-338-0502 and firstname.lastname@example.org.