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Make: Projects

“Glengarry” Brass Balls

This totemic desk toy assembles in 2 minutes.

“Glengarry” Brass Balls

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 appealing.

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.

Paul Spinrad

Paul Spinrad

Paul Spinrad is a broad-spectrum enthusiast, writer, maker, and dad who lives in San Francisco. He hatches schemes at

  • Christopher Kidder

    So where are the directions? I just see the parts listed on the side. The links to the items just shoots you to the top of the same page. My guess is this is a joke then?