Torque Brooms

Loy's drawing of a mop with hinge
Torque Broom. Mina Loy Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Bienecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

“…a curved broom handle that for instance presses upon the floor drawing dust together more thoroughly and remarkably lightens the labour of sweeping” 

                                                                                                          Jessica Burstein, Cold Modernism, 195.

Like the blotter bracelet, Loy envisioned the torque broom as a handy device aimed to make life easier for the modern, working woman. The broom itself functioned on the torque principle–the idea that a curvature always inclines towards closing a circle, thereby drawing the dust in.

The chief function of the torque broom was to reduce labor. Loy describes the broom as useful towards conducting a range of different household tasks, including “house cleaning, yard cleaning, stair sweeping…” (qtd. by Burstein 195). She even details the ways in the broom might be used towards different cleaning functions–for instance, when sweeping the handle is to be held with the curve in a convex posture, but for cleaning under furniture, one should apply the broom in reverse. The latter method is intended to reduce extra strain on the body, as the distance between the furniture and the floor is far shorter. Similarly, she explains that the pan of the dustpan is easily lifted, so that there is no hunching to the dustpan necessary, rather, things can easily be cleared away into the pan itself. She notes: “There is no bending down to the dustpan–articles dropped to the floor can easily be picked up by sweeping them into the pan”.

Loy saw the torque broom is further applicable to a range of purposes, such as “paint brushes for walls, for brushes and wipers for cleaning walls” (Burstein 195). Today, a range of cleaning supplies cite similiar principles of functionality. Consider, for example, the Swiffer broom (displayed below), which consists of a heavy-duty replaceable wipe attached to a long pole, such that users can clean with minimal physical exertion. 

mob with long handle
Swiffer Broom. Image Source: Wikemedia Creative Commons