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Steve Milton: The Rubber Industry's New Best Friend

By Justin Sondak in News on Nov 22, 2006 2:23PM

rubberrollout.JPGSteve Milton, creator of the world's largest rubber band ball, stood grinning like a Cheshire cat during Tuesday morning’s ceremony at State and Jackson, where the good folks at the Guinness Book certified his new record. Basking in the moment with him was his six-year-old son Bryce who, over the past year, helped him wind 175,001 bands.

It took a team of outrageously ripped bodybuilders to roll the massive sphere from behind a curtain onto an industrial scale. That made it official: 4,594 pounds, shattering the mark set in 2003 by John Bain and his 3,120 pound monster. A Guinness official confirmed the record and presented Steve and Bryce their certificate.

Guinnesscertificate.JPGThe father and son team spent a year winding this enormous, colorful ball, 5 ½ feet high and 19 feet in circumference. Sponsoring the ceremony was an office supply store chain that has adopted the rubber band ball as their corporate symbol and is taking advantage of the hoopla to announce the remodeling of 11 Chicagoland stores, outfitted with a café, Wifi, and technology hub—like a Starbucks for tech geeks. As Milton accepted his certificate, the store’s yellow-hat clad publicity team chanted its motto: “We’re on a roll,” a cute but rather labored pun reminding us who’s paying the bills.

To round out the morning, the Mariot Marching Band performed on Jackson Blvd. and a 6-foot tall rubber band ball-faced mascot entertained the kiddies. We came away from the event with an appreciation for the Miltons’ dedication and an autographed 3 inch-rubber band ball of our own.