Wednesday, Jul. 28, 2010

World's Largest Ball of Twine #2; Darwin, MN

How can you really know Coke is the best until you try a Pepsi? That responsible urge to try the competition before making bold claims about "best" or "biggest" might however prove challenging for anyone determined to anoint the true holder of the title of Largest Ball of Twine. Cawker City, Kansas, the home of the classically recognized home of the largest ball of twine, and Darwin, Minnesota, the site of the self-styled "largest ball of twine rolled by one man," aren't that close to each other, despite the cities' shared status as meccas of the twine world. Unlike the Cawker City twine, the Darwin thread is enclosed in a plexiglass gazebo, as this yarn is a finished product, the brainchild of Francis Johnson, who devoted 29 years to spinning. The twine measures 12 feet in width, and weighs almost nine tons. Johnson had to stop adding to the ball in 1979, when his health deteriorated. He eventually died of emphysema, and town legend has it that a life spent around dust brought on the sickness.