Did You Know that there are MULTIPLE Largest Balls of Twine?

Let’s give a hoo-rah for competition! Let’s give another for the drive to be in the Guinness Book of World Records. And THAT’S why there are four different balls of twine that can lay honest claim to being the largest.

  • Largest sisal twine ball built by one person (Darwin, Minnesota)
  • Largest sisal twine ball built by a community (Cawker City, Kansas and the focus of today’s post)
  • Heaviest twine ball (Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin)
  • Largest plastic twine ball (Branson, Missouri)

How Does Such a Thing Happen?

For starters, recall that folks like to make big things. Even more, they like to make the largest things.

A man with unknown reasons started to make a ball of twine in Darwin Minnesota, and wrapped four hours every day for 23 weeks. Bless his heart. That was March 1950. Frank Stoeber in Cawker City Kansas heard about this, and in 1953, began his own ball of twine out of sheer competition. Whatever floats your boat.

Stoeber used twine saved from bales of hay, and by 1973 it was 32-feet in circumference and entered the coveted Guinness Book of World Records. A short six years later, Darwin Minnesota took the title away. I hate when that happens. It took until 1986 for Kansas to reclaim what was rightfully theirs–but with a twist. It’s the largest ball of twine made by a town vs by an individual.

What’s that About a Town?

See, the community contributes–the third Friday of August they get together for the Twine-a-Thon and add to it.

I couldn’t work out the logistics of adding twine–thankfully YouTube has a video, as they always do. Watch the first few seconds to satisfy curiosity, skip to 2:00 and watch to 3:00.

Just the Stats, Ma’am

As of 2006, the last time anyone bothered to measure, here are the stats:

  • 17,886 pounds (nearly 9 tons)
  • circumference of 40 feet
  • length of 7,801,766 feet

Surprisingly Beautiful

Aside from being decorated for Halloween (which is when I was there), it’s truly compelling. There’s rhythm to the way the twine is wrapped. The frays and knots and nubbins all add character.

ball of twine

ball of twine

Look at the curve of the ball–it’s thicker in the middle.

ball of twine

So hoo-rah indeed for competition. It helps make groceries affordable, teaches us to win and to lose, and gives us silly/wonderful things to visit, like The Ball of Twine. I drove 2.5 hours to spend 10 minutes here–it was absolutely worth it.

***

What do you have lying around the house in an embarrassing quantity?
(Laundry is not an acceptable answer)
My Dad has broom handles sans the broom. I don’t know why, but I needed one for the RV.

2 Responses

11.06.12

What DON’T we have lying around the house in embarrassing quantities? Should I get a plaque saying “world’s largest facial products collection”?

11.06.12

Well, just watching the video and reading your comments brought a smile to my face, so I guess I don’t have to make the time to visit the twine. I like the way you write…like an “in-person” conversation.

As for what I have lying around the house in embarrassing quantities? Piles! No, I’m not a hoarder; just have piles of things I intend to get to and through, especially in the basement. I’m a living lesson in how much better it would be to put things away the first time rather than accumulate and figure it out later. Okay, now my dirty secret is out.

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