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January 24, 2024

January 22, 1964: The World’s Largest Cheese Was Made in Wisconsin for New York’s World Fair

The world’s largest cheese of the time was manufactured in Wisconsin on January 22, 1964. A crew of 25 men were on duty working in shifts around the clock for 43 hours. Included were four Wisconsin cheese makers who have won the famed World’s Champion Cheddar Cheesemaking award.

Using 170,000 quarts of milk from 16,000 cows, the Wisconsin Cheese Foundation made a block of cheddar cheese 6.5 feet wide, 5.5 feet high and 14.5 feet long. It weighed 34,591 pounds (17.3 tons). Following the pouring of the curd into the giant hoop and pressing to eliminate the whey, two walls were built and joined to two existing walls of the room where the hoop was located, to form a 14 by 20 refrigerated room to cool the big cheese down to 34 degrees. After 35 days in the cooler the sides of the huge hoop were removed and the cheese “dried” for a week, following which it was paraffined by a transparent wax.

On April 14, 1964, the big cheese was loaded into a special glass sided trailer and transported by diesel tractor directly to the New York World’s Fair Wisconsin exhibition area.

The huge cheese, mounted on its special “Cheese-Mobile” 45 foot tractor-trailer, was a featured attraction at the State of Wisconsin area. It was situated at the southwest corner of the 50,000 square foot site, on the Avenue of the United Nations, Grand Central Parkway, and at the foot of a pedestrian overpass over the Parkway. The 12 story stainless steel “Unisphere”, the major attraction at the Fair, was just a few steps away from the Wisconsin area.

It is estimated that the big cheese, which is the largest single piece of cheese ever made in the history of mankind, will be seen by 12,000,000 people during the two years of the Fair.

After appearing at the Fair from April to mid-October 1964, the Cheese-Mobile toured the United States, stopping at major cities, various expositions, fairs and shopping centers, carrying the story of Wisconsin cheese to the nation.

In April 1965, the Cheese-Mobile returned to New York to be at the Fair until it closes permanently in October 1965. A tour of cities not reached on the first trip is planned after October 1965, following which the cheese will be delivered to The Borden Company.


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