Biggest ball of twine

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There are several claims to the world's biggest ball of twine record.

Twine Ball in Darwin, Minnesota

Largest ball of sisal twine built by a single person[edit]

Darwin, Minnesota, is the home of a ball of baler twine rolled by Francis A. Johnson. It is 12 feet (3.7 m) in diameter and weighs 17,400 pounds (7,900 kg). Johnson began rolling the twine in March 1950, and wrapped four hours every day for 29 years. It is currently housed in a specially made gazebo across from the town park on Main Street (45°05′47″N 94°24′37″W / 45.096332°N 94.410276°W / 45.096332; -94.410276), and the town celebrates "Twine Ball Day" on the second Saturday in August every year. An adjacent volunteer-run, free to visit museum and gift shop has information on the history of the ball, as well as selling a variety of souvenirs.[1][2][3][4]

Largest ball of twine built by a community[edit]

Largest Community Rolled Ball of Twine in Cawker City, Kansas

Frank Stoeber, a resident of Cawker City, Kansas, saw Johnson's ball as a challenge and started his own. Stoeber had 1.6 million feet (490,000 m) of twine on his 11-foot-diameter (3.4 m) ball when he died in 1974. Cawker City built an open-air gazebo over Stoeber's ball where every August a "Twine-a-thon" is held and more twine is added to the ball. By 2006, the twine ball had reached 8,111 kg (17,886 pounds), a circumference of 40 feet (12 m), and a length of 7,801,766 feet (2,377,978 m).[5][3][6]

Heaviest twine ball[edit]

In Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin, James Frank Kotera (also known as JFK), claims to have made the heaviest ball of twine ever built. He started it in 1979 and is still working. JFK estimates, by measuring the weight of each bag of twine that he winds on, that the ball weighs 8,770 kg (19,336 pounds), making it the heaviest ball of twine ever built. The ball is housed in an open-air enclosure in JFK's lawn. The ball has a smaller companion, "Junior", that is made of string.[7][4]

Largest plastic twine ball[edit]

In Branson, Missouri, a ball of plastic twine built by J. C. Payne of Valley View, Texas, is on display in Ripley's Believe It or Not museum. The ball, which measures 41.5 feet (12.6 m) in circumference, was certified as the world's largest ball of twine by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1993. It is, however, the lightest of the four contenders.[8][9][3]

Cultural references[edit]

  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's album UHF - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Other Stuff has a song called "The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota". Although ostensibly about the ball in Darwin, Minnesota, Yankovic takes artistic license with the statistics.
    • In a case of life imitating art, postcards that read "Greetings from the Twine Ball, wish you were here," a fictitious invention of Yankovic's, are now an attraction in Darwin. The Twineball Inn was a restaurant (not a motel) that has since closed.
    • Yankovic refers to the ball itself, and thus his previous work, in the video for "White & Nerdy", wherein a Trivial Pursuit card which includes the question "In what city is the largest ball of twine built by one man?" appears on screen.
  • The Sam & Max Hit the Road adventure game by LucasArts includes a stop at a Biggest Ball of Twine, which is about 50 feet (15 m) tall with a rotating restaurant on top - this fictional ball of twine is located at Central Dis, Minnesota. An exhibit in the museum at its base claims that its mass will eventually cause the Earth to gravitate towards the sun, destroying the planet. When the characters look at the ball of twine, the following exchange takes place:
Sam: It's things like this that make me wish I were Canadian.
Docent: They've got one of these too, but half of it's French.


  1. ^ Doug Kirby, Ken Smith, and Mike Wilkins. "World's Largest Twine balls". Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Darwin's Twine Ball Museum". Dassel-Cotako Enterprise Dispatch. Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Charles Murphy (1993-12-28). "Balls of String". ABC Evening News. Vanderbilt Television News Archive. 
  4. ^ a b "Eye To Eye: On The Road Again". CBS. 2008-11-12. 
  5. ^ "World's Largest Ball of Twine". Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  6. ^ The World's Largest Ball of Sisal Twine. Cawker City, Kansas. Retrieved January 27, 2013.
  7. ^ "JFK's Twine Ball: World's Largest?". Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  8. ^ (subscription required) "Texans have a ball, but unraveled twine king unimpressed". San Antonio Express. December 4, 1993. 
  9. ^ "World's Largest Ball of Twine, Branson, Missouri". Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  10. ^ Trudeau, Garry. Doonesbury. July 16, 2012. Retrieved January 27, 2013.