Giant cheeseburger-hands, ready for their attachment to Jacque.
Giant cheeseburger-hands, ready for their attachment to Jacque.

Jacque: World's Largest Bobblehead

Field review by the editors.

Bellville, Ohio

The World's Largest Bobblehead started life in the late 1960s as "Jacque," a French waiter and giant mascot of a restaurant (named Jacque's) in Mansfield, Ohio. Carrying two trays stacked with immense sliced-meat sandwiches, Jacque leaned far forward to the edge of US Highway 42 -- too far, apparently, because when the restaurant closed he was busted up and taken down. Michael Byrne, a local businessman, salvaged Jacque and parked the shattered statue, which weighed over two tons, in his construction yard.

World's Largest Bobblehead at the Buckeye Express Diner.
World's Largest Bobblehead at the Buckeye Express Diner.

That was in 1972. Byrne hoped to resurrect the statue, but he never did.

For 50 years Jacque lay in pieces, forgotten by almost everyone except Terry Byrne, Michael's son. "A lot of people wanted to bulldoze him," Terry told us. "They said, 'You're not gonna do nothing with that. Let's just get rid of it.' And I said, 'No, no. I'm gonna put him up some day.'"

Jacque in pre-bobblehead days, circa 1970.
Jacque in pre-bobblehead days, circa 1970.

That day came in 2022, when Terry had breakfast with Mike Cahill, who was restoring Giant-Handed Jacque -- a twin to Terry's statue -- in Marblehead, Ohio. Mike urged Terry to restore his Jacque as well, making the 32-foot-tall statues the World's Largest Repurposed Fiberglass Twins. "I'd never met him before this," said Mike of Terry. "Now we're like brothers."

Terry was hesitant, explaining that his Jacque was in horrible shape with his head knocked off. Mike suggested reattaching it with a big spring, making it the World's Largest Bobblehead. "That got me motivated to do it," said Terry. "I blame Mike."

For 50 years Jacque looked like this, before his 2022 resurrection.
For 50 years Jacque looked like this, before his 2022 resurrection.

Jacque now stands outside of a diner that was formerly an abandoned B&O passenger railroad car, restored by Terry ("I like fixing things instead of throwing them out," he said). The statue, which was built to lean at a gravity-defying 69 degrees, is anchored in tons of subterranean concrete. Jacque's hands -- like those of his Marblehead twin -- were destroyed when he was taken down, so Terry replaced the hands with the giant sliced-meat sandwiches, repainted as cheeseburgers, a specialty of the diner.

Jacque's restored head with attached bobble-spring.
Jacque's restored head with attached bobble-spring.

Restoring the statue was comparatively easy; the most difficult part of the project was finding a spring big enough to support Jacque's massive head. It had to be custom-made, one-of-a-kind. "I called I don't know how many spring manufacturers before I found one," said Terry. "The engineer there was real helpful. He didn't think I was a crackpot."

"The minute he got that head on that statue," said Mike, "business almost doubled at that diner."

Jacque, his coat now painted Ohio State University Buckeye red, returned to public view on July 1, 2022, a gift by Terry to his father on his 99th birthday (Michael Byrne subsequently passed away on October 16). "The head bobbles pretty good with a wind," said Terry, who attached heavy-duty fishing line so that visitors could bobble the head themselves. However, they used it so much that it broke after only a few weeks. Terry said that he plans to replace it with even stronger fishing line, but not with rope, which, he said, would look wrong attached to a head.

"If I'd let those naysayers scrap it, he would have been gone forever," said Terry of Jacque. "But I stuck to my guns and I'm glad that I did."

Also see: Giant Handed Jacque

Jacque: World's Largest Bobblehead

Buckeye Express Diner

Address:
810 OH-97, Bellville, OH
Directions:
I-71 exit 165. Turn east onto OH-97. Drive past the McDonald's and gas station, then immediately turn left at the sign for the Buckeye Express Diner. You'll see the Bobblehead ahead on the right.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Diner in an Old TrainDiner in an Old Train, Bellville, OH - < 1 mi.
Elektro, Robot of MansfieldElektro, Robot of Mansfield, Mansfield, OH - 8 mi.
Lonely Putt-Putt GiraffeLonely Putt-Putt Giraffe, Ontario, OH - 9 mi.
In the region:
Mysterious Face, Stuffed Animals, Killbuck, OH - 31 mi.

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