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World-Record Coating Project is a Ball

Thursday, September 29, 2011

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Some world records are true triumphs of human grit, spirit and strength.

Others aren’t. But they’re records anyway.

The latter category includes the newest official world record, for the Largest Ball of Paint, awarded this week—for the second time—to Michael Carmichael of Alexandria, IN.

 Michael Carmichael and his Largest Ball of Paint

 World Records Academy

A coat a day for nearly 35 years has earned Michael Carmichael a second world-record designation for a ball of paint that he keeps in the garage.

Carmichael, 64, a decorator, has added at least one coat of paint to a baseball every day for 34 years, reports the World Records Academy, which bestowed the new honor. The academy says it “spans the globe to find the widest selection of authentic World Records,” which are “carefully verified by top specialists.”     

Helped by his children and visitors “from all over the world,” Carmichael has applied 22,894 coats of paint—each layer a different color than the one before—to create a ball that is now nearly six feet around and weighs 3,500 pounds.

After 15,000 coats, the ball was accepted into Ripley’s Believe It or Not! In May 2004, with 17,994 layers, it made the Guinness Book of World Records.

Accidental Inspiration

Carmichael told RoadsideAmerica.com that his achievement began accidentally in the mid-1960s, when he was playing baseball and a ball accidentally fell into some paint.

For two years, Carmichael said, he dipped and painted that ball until it reached “the size and shape of a football.” He then donated the ball to the Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s Home Museum in Knightstown, IN, where it remains, RoadsideAmerica reported.

Then, on Jan. 1, 1977, Carmichael had his then-3-year-old son start painting a new baseball, which grew large enough to eventually earn its own shed in the garage.

The rest, as they say, is paint history.

‘I Didn’t Want to Stop’

“It started as a relatively simple project and a bit of fun, but I just kept on painting and painting and painting and before I knew it, the ball was enormous,” Carmichael told one newspaper.

“Then I didn't want to stop.”

Since moving the ball into its own shed, Carmichael said, “People come from all over the world to add a coat and get their picture taken with it.”

Productivity isn’t a problem, he added.

“Sometimes I can add up to 10 coats a day if the weather is dry—but we've added at least one every day.”

   

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