“GLENGARRY” BRASS BALLS
This totemic desk toy assembles in
2 minutes. By Paul Spinrad
My friend Ed and I love quoting from the movie
Glengarry Glen Ross, especially the plot-inciting
speech by Alec Baldwin’s character, in which he
informs a veteran sales team that they will now
compete against each other to keep their jobs
(“Third prize: you’re fired.”)
Toward the end of his harangue, he reverently
reaches into his attaché case and produces two
brass balls on a cord, saying, “It takes brass balls
to sell real estate.”
It’s a memorable image, and I’ve always wondered why SkyMall doesn’t sell high-quality brass
balls as a desktop “executive toy” or motivational
prize. Maybe they feel it would be in poor taste
or politically incorrect, or maybe they’re afraid of
lawsuits over something that could so easily crush
a skull (brass balls are heavy). But to my mind,
these considerations just make the object more
I decided to replicate the balls, and once I figured
out how to securely connect the cord, it was simple.
You can put these together in 2 minutes with no
tools other than scissors to cut the cord and a flame
to singe the ends.
To make them, cut about 2' of cord, thread a
setscrew on each end, tie a knot, and screw it into the
ball. You can use epoxy or threadlocker to make the
connection permanent. The balls I ordered already
had brass setscrews that reduced their original bores
to ¼- 20, and the knot probably wouldn’t slip out of
those, but adding the smaller setscrews makes the
connection neater and more secure. I used a white
cord for authenticity, but I think a black one would
add a nice formal touch for evening occasions.
I gave the brass balls to Ed and he got a kick out
of them. He works in management at a large, sales-driven company, so I hope he puts them on his desk.
1½"-diameter brass balls, tapped blind with ¼- 20
thread ( 2) part #BAL154 from Liberty Brass
( libertybrass.com), $13
Setscrews, ¼- 20 threaded ( 2) part #91318A410
from McMaster-Carr ( mcmaster.com)
3mm nylon satin cord, 2' length Try your local craft
store or part #SCN3Y-N2 from The Satin Cord
Store ( satincord.com).
Epoxy or threadlocker (optional)
Check the new Makers Market ( makersmarket.com)
for a kit to make your own desktop brass balls. No
real estate license required!
Paul Spinrad is projects editor for MAKE.
Glengarry Glen Ross image compliments New Line Cinema/ Artisan Entertainment; photograph by Paul Spinrad
138 Make: Volume 21