DeBary Florida, Benson Junction and Ox Fibre Brush Company

by Mike Miller
(Mount Dora, Florida)

Ox Fibre Brush Company

Ox Fibre Brush Company

Back in the 1970's I was wandering around the back roads near DeBary, Florida, and came upon an old abandoned factory on the west side of US 17-92 on Benson Junction Road. It was west of where present day Dirksen Drive meets the highway on the south side of DeBary.

There were no fences around the building and no signs warning away trespassers, so I entered and began looking around. It was obvious this was an old broom factory that made brooms out of palmetto plant fibers. There were boxes of whisk brooms scattered around, and ledgers and invoices on the floor indicated that this had been the Ox Fibre Brush Company.

It was ghostly in that old plant; you could almost hear the voices of workers and the hum of machinery in the gloomy silence.

Subsequent research informed me that Ox Fibre Brush Company had several plants in addition to this one in Florida. In the 1950's they were the largest brush manufacturer in the world, making 500,000 whisk brooms and brushes per year. The little town where the plant was located was named Benson Junction. All that remains now is Benson Junction Road.

Like so many other American factories, foreign competition put Ox Fibre out of business. It couldn't compete with the cheap plastic brooms and brushes made in China and elsewhere.

The photograph above is from Wikipedia, and is originally from the State Archives of Florida.

Comments for DeBary Florida, Benson Junction and Ox Fibre Brush Company

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 19, 2016
Links do work
by: Anonymous

Hey! Sorry you are having trouble with the links. Just highlight the link and right click on it. Then click the "Go To" link. It will open right up for you!

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS

Thanks for explaining that feature to Alan Crawford. He had me worried for a minute.


Oct 18, 2016
Links
by: Alan Crawford

Too bad the links don't work.

NOTE:

Highlight the link and right click on it. Then click the "Go To" link.

Oct 09, 2016
Manufacturing Details
by: Anonymous

The following are two articles that give more details about the company.

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1994-07-01/news/9407011130_1_ox-whisk-brooms-beall

and

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2001-07-18/news/0107180375_1_ox-whisk-brooms-fibers

Aug 10, 2016
Memorabilia
by: Anonymous

Sue, would you be interested in selling it to me? If so, please contact me at vhwhitehead@gmail.com.
Thanks!

VHW

Aug 10, 2016
Oxco broom
by: Sue

In cleaning out the basement of my mother's home in Pennsylvania, I picked up a push-broom from the corner and had been sweeping for only a moment when I stopped to see what kind of broom it was—so nicely made, the bristles perfect for an indoor kind of job. The label was still attached to the head stating that it was made by the Ox Fibre Brush Company and that it is a Choctaw-X 14". Those details led me to the internet, the news that the company is no longer, and this page, which offers such a nice tribute to a wonderful product and another example of American manufacturing (and the towns and cities supported by it) that no longer exist. To all those associated with the Ox Fibre Brush Company who might find this page, I say thank you!

Nov 21, 2015
Palm Pulp Machine
by: Vicki Hosack Whitehead

My grandfather, Gerald Cooke Hosack, is the inventor of a three story machine that shredded the palmetto stumps to produce the fibers the company needed to make brooms. There is a cool article in the Orlando Sentinel (10/18/1960) with a photo of the machine he invented. Hosack Engineering and Developing Company is still family owned and operated by Randy Hosack in nearby Osteen, FL.

May 03, 2014
Push broom
by: Scott

Just bought a beautiful 36" horse hair push broom at a swap meet made by the Ox Fibre Brush Co. Can't wait to try it out on my new garage floor. They don't make them like this anymore!

Nov 11, 2013
Broom factory
by: Alan

It burned in 1975 and for years you could see the old employee housing and out buildings.

Oct 20, 2013
Looking back, Ox Fiber Brush Co.
by: Dave

I worked there during the summers of high school. My family and I were part of the generations of people that lived in Benson Junction and the surrounding areas. We supported the Plant and the Plant supported us until it closed. A lot of our family and friends lived worked and died in that community. I am grateful to see that someone took the time to take a picture of the PLANT as we called it.

Respectfully
Dave

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