P. John Ruffles and His Wonderful Magic Brooms

P. John Ruffles and His Wonderful Magic Brooms

WHEN Seaman P. John Ruffles got out of the Navy, a clean deck had become almost a habit. In "boot camp", from the minute the gates closed behind him, he had been taught to sweep and swab— his barracks, the room they called "the head", and even the weedless, grassless yard.

So, when Citizen Ruffles looked around him and saw the filthy litter in the streets, the unswept porches and rooms with inch-thick rugs covering up another half-inch layer of dust, he was sorely troubled.

"Something must be done I1* he said, and since Ruffles had an economic need also, he decided to combine the two problems.

But howT "White Wings" had gone out of style with the passing of the horse; to get a job as janitor, you had to be old and crabby. So Ruffles wrote a book. It was a good book, telling all about dirt, and dust, and filth—and how its accumulation on the floor got into the lungs and from the lungs into the blood and from the blood into the cells themselves, eventually carrying out the ancient poetic premise of "Dust to dust".

Thousands bought the book. And within weeks, most of these thousands were sweeping and swabbing their hearts out. Janitors fought the book, fearing this drive for cleanliness would make all the tenants of the buildings they janited volunteers, eventually robbing them of their long-enjoyed monopoly on file rifling and snooping. The casket makers also were up in arms, fearing that so much cleanliness might result in cremation or something equally sanitary, robbing them of a plush-lined livelihood.

Ruffles over night became famous. He was called on to speak before groups on sweeping and swabbing. He was hailed as an expert on the subject of dirt and dust and filth. He even was offered money with which to finance a school for teaching those who corid not understand his book how to go out and teach others how to not understand all there was to know about swabbing and sweeping and dust and dirt and filth.

The ex-gob thrived. Hundreds enroled in his school; thousands more bought his book, and millions who had thought nothing of dirt and dust and filth were suddenly awakened to the urgent need for swabbing and sweeping.

But Mr. Ruggles was not satisfied. During his research, he discovered that if the bristles of the broom were made a bit finer, more area could be covered with fewer strokes, and over the objections of his financial supporters, he announced his course in the use of the super-broom. There was a rift—and Ruffles, hurt and indignant at the narrow, commercial viewpoints of the money-lenders, moved his school to another city.

The super-broom school was a success —maybe not the success the plain broom school had been, but there were new backers, new students, and new research. And out of this research came the super-duper broom. With this broom, all the older models were made obsolete. The plain broom took an hour to sweep a room; the super-broom would do it in half that time —but the super-duper-broom— well, the floor could be both swabbed and swept in fifteen minutesi

Many who had learned to use the plain

The super-duper-booper-cooper-hooper-pooper-broom, patented, copyrighted, and every straw registered.