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What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

World’s Largest Rubber Stamp, Cleveland, OH

This is a story of love and loss. Well, it’s not really a story; more of an outline. And it’s about The Boy’s love for… his cell phone. And it is – very tenuously – connected to the world’s largest rubber stamp in Cleveland, OH. Still with me?

The Boy turned 12 over Memorial Day weekend, when we took a road trip to Cleveland, OH. We gave up the fight and got him his first cell phone. It was simple model. It was supposed to just be able to make calls and send texts, and yet he tricked it out to the point where I thought he could use it to launch a rocket.

It quickly became an appendage. And just as quickly, was broken after he sat on it while it was in his pocket. Such a sad boy.

The upside was that his hands were then free to take this trick photo “gripping” the world’s largest rubber stamp. (Remember that tenuous connection I mentioned earlier?)

Rubber stamp

Getting a grip on the world’s largest rubber stamp in Cleveland.

This is called Free Stamp, created by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen in 1991. It’s installed in Willard Park outside Cleveland’s City Hall, and a block away from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s made of steel and aluminum, and painted with polyurethane enamel. It’s over 28 feet tall, and 49 feet long!

We had to wait our turn to take our photos with the stamp. There was a steady stream of visitors, including a bridal party, looking for a great picture.

I’ve become such a fan of Claes Oldenburg. He created two of the pieces we saw recently in Philadelphia, including the world’s largest clothes pin.

Epilogue: 24 hours within returning home, The Boy was able to replace his phone, thanks to the insurance plan. Happiness and harmony restored.

world's largest rubber stamp



  1. June 5, 2012 @ 6:33 am

    I’ve added the rubber stamp to a list of things we must see next time we’re in Cleveland. It looks like it would be a fun stop and something my teens would enjoy seeing. That is if they can take a break from their cell phones long enough to appreciate it. 🙂

  2. John said,
    June 5, 2012 @ 8:04 am

    I saw this when I was in Cleveland…I had no idea it was the world’s largest though. It’s certainly an interesting piece of art, especially given its location.

  3. Mike said,
    June 5, 2012 @ 11:47 am

    A bridal party visiting the world’s largest stamp? Now… I’m no event planner, but it seems like someone could have put a little more thought into that decision. No offense to the stamp. It’s quite impressive.

  4. Armands said,
    June 5, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

    Not that’s what I call a big stamp 🙂

    BTW. if it’s free, does it mean that you can take it?

    • Traci Suppa said,
      June 5, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

      I’d like to see someone try to take it; it’s massive!!

  5. June 5, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

    Love the rubber stamp! My teen’s cellphone rarely leaves her hand either – I swear she sometimes falls asleep with it in her hand! She also gets annoyed with me when I don’t instantly respond to text messages – because apparently I’m supposed to be tethered to mine too!

    • Traci Suppa said,
      June 5, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

      I seriously just read that there’s now a condition called “sleep-texting” affecting teens. No joke.

  6. Kristina said,
    June 6, 2012 @ 10:46 am

    Wow, it’s really massive 🙂

  7. Steve said,
    June 6, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

    There is an upside to teenagers addiction to their cell phones. I can go to wake the boy up in the morning, and no matter what I do, he just keeps rolling over. If I text him however, he’s up like a shot and checking his message. I’d love to know who “she” is that he’s so anxious to get a text from.
    Love the stamp, although shouldn’t they have a giant ink pad next to it?

  8. June 7, 2012 @ 11:56 am

    I have a strange fascination with the “world’s largest” items! And that stamp looks awesome, if only I had a reason to go to Cleveland!

  9. Diane said,
    June 8, 2012 @ 10:51 am

    I love it! I agree with Steve, needs a giant ink pad.

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