The History Behind It
The History Behind It
This is not the first ball of paint Mike Carmichael has made. In the 60's when he was in high school, he was on the varsity high school baseball team. Summer vacations were spent working at a local paint store in Knightstown, Indiana. It all started when his friend (Oscar Sparkman) and him were throwing a baseball in the paint shop and one of them missed the ball. Of course it knocked over a gallon of paint which the ball fell into and needless to say the ball was covered. They cleaned up the paint up from the floor but left the ball as it was, with paint on it set it on top of an old table and the next day when he went to get it he was sparked with the idea...
Mike continued to paint the ball everyday while working at the paint store. He stopped after 1,000 layers. Today the first ball of paint is on display in Alexandria with the Worlds Largest Ball of Paint.
I wrapped a wire around the ball and dipped it in a gallon of paint and proceeded to record the colors. Everyday throughout my junior and senior year I kept a record of this ball getting very large and longer in length then round. After 1000 coats of alternate colors on this ball I quit painting it. I donated to my trade instructor (Joe Hinton) who kept it for several years before donating it to the Alumni museum at the Knightstown Childrens Home located in Knightstown, Indiana. After several years I knew that someday I wanted to start another one. Several years later, in 1977, my wife, Glenda, and I had started another baseball. The baseball was 9" in circumference and weighed less than one pound, I ran a 3/8"rod through it so I could easily suspend it from the ceiling giving me easy access to paint at all angles.
January 1, 1977 I let my son at the age of three put the very first coat of blue paint on the ball. We painted the ball many times a day, while the ball was little and easy to handle. My wife painted the ball several times throughout the day while I was working; I painted it in the evenings and on the weekends.
After a while, it became a piece of artwork to us and we rather enjoyed showing it off. As of today we still try to paint it as often as time allows. Over the years I get someone to paint every one-hundredth coat. The ball has gotten so big and so heavy that we built a barn beside our house for the ball of paint to reside and become Alexandria's biggest roadside attraction for all to come and see!