Biggest ball of twine

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Largest community-rolled ball of twine, located in Cawker City, Kansas (2013)

There are multiple claims to the world's biggest ball of twine record in the United States. As of 2014, the ball of twine with the largest circumference is located in Cawker City, Kansas,[1] and was measured at 8.06 feet (2.46 m) in diameter and 10.83 feet (3.30 m) in height.

Largest ball of sisal twine built by a community[edit]

In Cawker City, Kansas, Frank Stoeber created a ball that had 1.6 million feet (490,000 m) of twine and 11-foot-diameter (3.4 m) 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 17,886 pounds (8,111 kg, 8.9 US tons), a circumference of 40 feet (12 m), and a length of 7,801,766 feet (2,377.978 km; 1,477.6072 mi).[2][3] In 2013, its weight was estimated at 19,973 pounds. In August 2014, the ball measures 41.42 feet (12.62 m) in circumference, 8.06 feet (2.46 m) in diameter and 10.83 feet (3.30 m) in height, and is still growing.[4][5]

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

Twine ball in Darwin, Minnesota (2021)

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; 8.7 short tons). Johnson began rolling the twine in March 1950, and wrapped four hours every day for 29 years. It is currently housed in an enclosed gazebo across from the town park on Main Street at (45°05′47″N 94°24′37″W / 45.096332°N 94.410276°W / 45.096332; -94.410276) to prevent the public from touching it. 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.[3][6][7][8] It was the long-standing holder of the "biggest ball of twine" title in the Guinness Book of World Records, holding the title from its completion in 1979 until 1994, and was referenced by "Weird Al" Yankovic in his 1989 song "The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota."[5]

Heaviest twine ball[edit]

Twine ball in Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin (2017) with creator James Frank Kotera
Twine ball in Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin as of July 2022.
Close-up of the Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin Twine ball in 2022

In Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin, James Frank Kotera claims to have made the heaviest ball of twine ever built. He started it in 1979 and is still working. Kotera estimates, by measuring the weight of each bag of twine that he winds on, that the ball weighs 10,931 kg (24,100 pounds), making it the heaviest ball of twine ever built. The ball is housed in an open-air enclosure in Kotera's lawn. The ball has a smaller companion, "Junior", that is made of string.[8][9]

Largest nylon twine ball[edit]

In Branson, Missouri, a ball of nylon 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, weighing 12,000 pounds.[3][10][11]

Cultural references[edit]

  • Most notably, one of "Weird Al" Yankovic's original songs is "The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota," from his 1989 album UHF - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack And Other Stuff. Although about the ball in Darwin, Minnesota, Yankovic takes artistic license with the statistics. The location now sports a street sign reading “Weird Alley.”
    • 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 Cawker City, Kansas, ball of twine was the subject of the comic strip Doonesbury on July 16, 2012.[12]
  • In the movie National Lampoon's Vacation, Clark Griswald mentions plans to see a large ball of twine after visiting Cousin Eddie's farm in Kansas.
  • In the 50 States of Fright three-episode story "America's Largest Ball of Twine (Kansas)", a mother and daughter visit America's Largest Ball of Twine built by Greg Cawker in the fictional town of Francis, Kansas.
  • The original Sam & Max Hit the Road has The World's Largest Ball of Twine as one of the attractions in the game.
  • The Cawker City, Kansas, ball of twine is mentioned in the Stephen King and Joe Hill's novella In the Tall Grass.
  • In the movie Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, the World's Biggest Ball of Twine is sucked into a Sharknado, crushing a bystander in the process.


  1. ^ The Battle to Be the World's Largest Ball of Twine; The Atlantic Magazine, September 2014.
  2. ^ "World's Largest Ball of Twine". Retrieved January 27, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Charles Murphy (1993-12-28). "Balls of String". ABC Evening News. Vanderbilt Television News Archive.
  4. ^ Cawker City wins the ball game with massive sphere of twine; The Wichita Eagle; September 28, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Twisted: The Battle to Be the World's Largest Ball of Twine; The Atlantic; September 9, 2014.
  6. ^ Doug Kirby; Ken Smith & Mike Wilkins. "World's Largest Twine balls". Retrieved January 27, 2013.
  7. ^ "Darwin's Twine Ball Museum". Dassel-Cotako Enterprise Dispatch. Archived from the original on January 7, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Eye To Eye: On The Road Again". CBS. 2008-11-12.
  9. ^ "JFK's Twine Ball: World's Largest?". Retrieved January 27, 2013.
  10. ^ (subscription required) "Texans have a ball, but unraveled twine king unimpressed". San Antonio Express. December 4, 1993.
  11. ^ "World's Largest Ball of Twine, Branson, Missouri". Retrieved January 27, 2013.
  12. ^ Trudeau, Garry. Doonesbury. July 16, 2012. Retrieved January 27, 2013.

External links[edit]