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The Definitive Directory of Magical Items and Devices

Brooms

As every school-age wizard knows, the fact that we fly on broomsticks is probably our worst-kept secret. No Muggle illustration of a witch is complete without a broom and however ludicrous these drawings are (for none of the broomsticks depicted by Muggles would stay up in the air for a moment), they remind us that we were careless for far too many centuries to be surprised that broomsticks and magic are inextricably linked in the Muggle mind.
    -- Kennilworthy Whisp (QA5)
The Firebolt, by Mary GrandPré




About Broomsticks

A flying broomstick is not simply a "normal" broomstick pressed into service as a mode of transportation. The flying broomstick is a magical item with built-in charms. The earliest known evidence of a broomstick enchanted to fly dates to 962 A.D.; brooms are thought to have been chosen because they are easily transported and concealed from Muggles (QA1). As time passed, they would also prove to be conducive to playing a number of sports.

Flying on a broomstick, particularly one which accelerates as quickly as the Firebolt, must necessarily involve some form of magic protective field holding rider to broom and shielding against wind and inertial forces. Without this, it seems unlikely that anyone could hang on when a Firebolt accelerates from zero to 150 mph in only ten seconds (PA4). It also seems likely that flying a broomstick doesn't involve actually sitting on the handle, which would be uncomfortable indeed. As a matter of fact, most illustrations we see in the books show the rider floating a little ways above the handle. The spell which creates this effect is called the Cushioning Charm, invented by Elliot Smethwyk in 1820 (QA9).

For more about the history of broomsticks, please purchase the book Quidditch Through the Ages.  It's inexpensive and the proceeds go to charity. Information about broomsticks can be found particularly in chapters one and nine.



Brooms at Hogwarts


Broomsticks and broom sports hold a special place in the hearts of Hogwarts students. Quidditch matches are routinely attended by nearly every student and teacher in the school, and star fliers have near-celebrity status among the student body.

Brooms, even those owned by students, are normally stored in a broomshed by the Quidditch pitch (PS13), although when Harry gets a Firebolt he keeps it in his dormitory out of concern for its safety (PA15). This is probably smart, as the broomshed can get quite cold - Hagrid is seen outside on one cold fall morning defrosting the brooms from the shed (PS11). Hogwarts owns a number of brooms, but they are old and don't fly especially well; Harry dreads the thought of playing a Quidditch match on one after his broom is destroyed (PA10).  These brooms are used primarily for flying lessons, which first years take with Madame Hooch (PS9), though most of them can't fly very well (HBP11).



Spells Cast on Broomsticks


Broomsticks are certainly charmed objects. They even seem to be at least semi-sentient. The best ones seem to respond to thoughts. When Harry was nearly thrown from his broom during his first year, Hagrid said that a simple collision couldn't have caused it to act that way because "[c]an't nothing interfere with a broomstick except powerful Dark magic--no kid could do that to a Nimbus Two Thousand." This magic doesn't replace the skill of the flyer, of course, but rather protects and enables them to fly with amazing speed and dexterity. Even when the rider has fallen off the broom, it doesn't fall from the sky, but rather it drifts off on its own (PS9, PA9).

For information about specific spells used on broomsticks, see Broomstick Magic.



Broom Sports

  • Aingingein (Ireland) (QA2)
    Played on broomsticks, using a ball called a Dom and a series of flaming hoops.



Broomstick Accessories



Broom Companies & Models


For more information about many of these brooms, please purchase the book Quidditch Through the Ages.  It's inexpensive and the proceeds go to charity.

Bluebottle

A broomstick for the family with a built-in Anti-Burglar Buzzer (GF8).
bluebottle [Eng.] any of several species of flying insect of a metallic bright blue colour.


Cleansweep Series Brooms

A series of sport broomsticks produced by the Cleansweep Broom Company beginning in 1926 (QA9):
  • Cleansweep One
    The first of the Cleansweep series, this model (released in 1926) cornered as did no other broom before it. Within a year of its release the Cleansweep One dominated the racing-broom market, having been designed specifically for sporting use (QA9).
  • Cleansweep Three
    This broom model was an improved version of the Cleansweep Two and was released in 1937 (QA9).
  • Cleansweep Six
    The Quibbler, in its September (or August, possibly) 1995 [Y15] issue, carried an interview with a wizard who claimed to have flow to the moon on one of these brooms, and had returned with a bag of moon frogs to prove it (OP10).
  • Cleansweep Eleven
    The Cleansweep Eleven was released in 1995 [Y15], making it the latest broomstick in the series. Ron Weasley received one as a reward upon being made a prefect (OP9). He was very happy about it, so we know a fair bit about its specifications from him:
    • It can go from nought to seventy in ten seconds (OP9). This is presumably in miles per hour, as broomstick speeds are typically expressed that way (QA9).
    • The handle is made of Spanish oak (OP9). Note that oak is a wand wood (PS5).


Comet Broom Series

Series of broomsticks produced by the Comet Trading Company (formed 1929) (QA9):
  • Comet 140
    The first of the Comet series of racing broomsticks, numbered 140 because of the number of models tested during its development. This model (released in 1929) incorporated the patented Horton-Keitch braking charm (QA9).
  • Comet 180
    The second of the Comet series of racing broomsticks, this model was released in 1938 (QA9).
  • Comet Two Sixty (Comet 260)
    A recent entry in the Comet series of racing broomsticks, released no later than 1991.  We've seen three of these in action:
  • Comet Two Ninety (Comet 290)
    The most recent entry in the Comet series of racing broomsticks. Its maximum acceleration is nought to sixty, and that only with a decent tailwind according to Which Broomstick as quoted by Ron (OP9).

Ellerby & Spudmore

A broom manufacturer; for information on its brooms please see Tinderblast or Swiftstick (QA9).


The Firebolt

Released in the summer of 1993 [Y13], the Firebolt is currently the fastest racing broom in the world. Harry saw a prototype in Quality Quidditch Supplies the summer it came out and was sorely tempted to empty his Gringotts vault to buy one (PA4). He resisted the temptation, however, and to his surprise received a Firebolt for Christmas from his godfather, Sirius Black (PA11). The Irish International Side flew Firebolts in the 1994 [Y14] Quidditch World Cup (GF8).
  • streamlined, superfine handle of ash, treated with a diamond-hard polish

  • hand-numbered with its own registration number

  • tail twigs of birch, individually selected and honed to aerodynamic perfection

  • unsurpassable balance

  • pinpoint precision

  • acceleration of 150 mph in 10 seconds

  • unbreakable Braking Charm

  • when you pick it up then let go, it hovers at exactly the right height to mount

  • turns with the lightest touch, seems to obey thought rather than grip

  • superbly smooth action


Flyte and Barker

Broom manufacturer, maker of the Twigger 90 (QA9).


Moontrimmer

A slender, ash-handled model of broom that for its time (first created in 1901 by Gladys Boothby) could achieve record-breaking heights (at least, record-breaking while the flyer maintained control at such an altitude). Its maximum speed was less than seventy miles per hour (QA9).


Nimbus Series Brooms

Series of high-end broomsticks produced by the Nimbus Racing Broom Company (formed 1967) (QA9).
  • Nimbus 1000
    The first broomstick of the Nimbus series, this model was revolutionary in its day for reaching speeds of up to 100 miles per hour and being capable of turning 360 degrees at a fixed point in mid-air (QA9). This broom put the Nimbus Racing Broom Company at the top of the broom manufacturing field, a title it boasted for some time.
  • Nimbus 1001
  • Nimbus 1500
  • Nimbus 1700
    Brooms which followed the release of the Nimbus 1000 between 1967 and 1990 and ensured the Nimbus Racing Broom Company stayed atop the field of sport brooms.
  • Nimbus 2000
    Harry's first broom, given to him by Professor McGonagall in his first year (PS10).  At the time he received it, it was the best broom available; he used it until it blew into the Whomping Willow during his third year (PA9).
  • Nimbus 2001
    Released just before the start of Harry's second year in 1992, a year after the Nimbus 2000. Lucius Malfoy bought seven of these to outfit the Slytherin Quidditch Team; there's some evidence that this was why Draco was made the team's Seeker, as he really isn't a particularly good player.

Oakshaft 79

A large, heavy broom built by Elias Grimstone in 1879 and designed for endurance flying. This was the broom used by Jocunda Sykes when she became the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean by broom (QA9).


Shooting Star

The cheapest racing broom ever released as of its release in 1955, but the buyer got what was paid for; the Shooting Star's ability to accelerate and to achieve respectable altitudes didn't hold up well over the long haul (QA9).
  • Ron's old Shooting Star was sometimes "outstripped by passing butterflies" (CS4); since the manufacturer, Universal Brooms Ltd., went out of business in 1978 and the observation about the Shooting Star's speed was made in 1992 [Y12], the decrepitude of the old Shooting Star was not perhaps surprising.

  • The Hogwarts school brooms include Shooting Stars (PA10).


Silver Arrow

Produced by Leonard Jewkes sometime after the development of the Moontrimmer, this achived higher speeds than either the Moontrimmer or the Oakshaft 79; its maximum speed of 70 miles per hour with a decent tailwind was very good for its time (QA9).
  • Madam Hooch had one once upon a time and remembers it fondly. She compared the Firebolt to it in a way that suggests that the Silver Arrow had a slim handle which might have been made of ash (PA13).


Swiftstick

A broom produced by Ellerby and Spudmore, who had earlier released the Tinderblast, in 1952. It was never used for Quidditch because of its inability to ascend powerfully (QA9).


Tinderblast

Broom produced by Ellerby in Spudmore in 1940, twelve years before they released the Swiftstick. It traveled somewhat slower than the Comets and Cleansweeps of its time and thus was never used in sports (QA9).


Twigger 90

A gimmicky broom produced by Flyte and Barker in 1990, the Twigger 90 warps under high speeds and thus has never been used for Quidditch (QA9).

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