The History, Art and Craft of a Feather Duster
Feather dusters as we all know are cleaning essentials. They make our lives easier with the convenience it brings as a dusting tool. You never have to rub and hurt your hands when dusting. With the many types of feather dusters these days, any household or business can take a pick at which feather duster can help them best. Although feather dusters come in many forms and shapes, it usually comes in a feather of an ostrich that is attached into a wooden dowel handle. The feathers are cramped together and attached to the handle using a wrapped wire. However, the newer versions of feather dusters are usually at about 1 ft up to 3 feet in length and come with a retractable casing unlike the dowel that is used back in the day. This form of feather dusters proves to quite beneficial to truck drivers and even rack-jobbers that would oftentimes need to clean out store shelves – and would like to take out the feathers from the handle to stay away from possible damage.
Basically, feather dusters have grown in popularity because of what it can actually do. Because not all spaces that need to be cleaned and dusted off are wide open spaces, it became quite a necessity for every household to have one in order to clean up those jagged edges and not so easy to reach spaces because of narrow pathway leading towards it. As you can imagine, this cleaning tool can easily get through knick knacks (and pulling out dirt and dust) without actually disturbing the items nearby. What about spider webs underneath the ceiling? It’s taken out in a drop of a hat! Although synthetic dusters can actually do the trick, nothing beats the efficiency that a feather duster provides.
From Broom to Brush to Feather Duster
According to history, feather dusters were simply accidental inventions from a broom factory in Iowa. Somebody brought turkey feathers to turn it into a brush. With turkey feathers tied around the broom a feather duster was created. The feathers were too stiff but eventually found its own usefulness. However, the patent of the invention of feather dusters were granted to Susan Hibbard of Wisconsin. The feather dusters were soon found effective cleaning materials for broom factories as well.
From Turkey to Ostrich to Synthetic Feather Duster
Feather dusters have also been in different forms. History would tell that the first feather dusters in the 1800s were made from turkey feathers. However, in 1900s ostrich feathers were known to be softer and more suitable as feather dusters. Male, gray and floss ostrich feathers are more commonly used than any others. They are said to be more stringy, more stark and softer.
However, as the use of feather dusters became more extensive, synthetic dusters became more popular as well. And from the ways it looks, microfiber dusters are the most popular in the market today. These synthetic feather dusters include longer and telescopic handles too for better reach. Some of these synthetic dusters are also motorized and uses battery to spin its head for faster cleaning. There are also electric versions of synthetic feather dusters which are more commonly called as vacuum dusters.
From Chicken Feather Duster to Imperial Courts
To this day, there are many chicken feather dusters created as a tribute to old folk craft. The art and craft of making feather duster has been handed from one generation to another to commemorate the duster-making industry of the family. This is no ordinary business. The chicken feather dusters were chosen to be used for the imperial family during the Qing Dynasty. The chicken feathers were meticulously picked from the neck to wings.
It would take thousands of chickens to make one feather duster. The feathers are to be taken from the chicken while it is alive. This will make sure that the feathers can absorb the dust well. The chicken has to be fed with live worms as well as this ensures the high quality of the feathers. It will take 18 critical procedures before one chicken feather duster is finally made and presented to the imperial family for use. The process may not sound very animal-friendly but the product is definitely of premium quality worthy to be used in imperial courts.
The history, art and craft of feather duster is not as simple as it may seem but for ages and generations, individuals, families and businesses have been benefited with the cleaning efficiency that feather dusters bring.