23ft Matchstick Eiffel Tower Gets World Record

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Richard Plaud patiently spent eight years building a replica of the Eiffel Tower which stands at ​​23ft, using a whopping 700,000 matchsticks. He did all that in order to create a Guinness World Record, but almost didn’t make the cut. See Plaud’s story from hardworking builder to world record holder.

The Rejection

Plaud was initially heartbroken when the Guinness World Records rejected his request for his Eiffel Tower to be recognized. According to them, the 47-year-old Frenchman neglected to use “commercially available” matches for the structure. According to the rules, Plaud would have had to remove the sulphur at the end of each matchstick himself. Instead, he struck a deal with a match manufacturer, which sent him thousands of sulphur-free matches. Plaud was understandably frustrated by the verdict and took to social media to label the decision “pretty astonishing, actually rather annoying” and “not exactly fair play.” He explained, “What hurts most is that they don’t acknowledge the work that I put in, the time I spent, the mental energy – because I can tell you it was not easy. BIG DISILLUSION, DISAPPOINTMENT, AND INCOMPREHENSION. Tell me [how] the 706,900 rods stuck one by one are not matches!!?? And they are too cut to the point of being unrecognizable!!??”

A New Verdict

After seeing Plaud’s public plea, the director of central records services, Mark McKinley, admitted that the initial decision may have been a “little heavy handed.” McKinley said, “We take a lot of pride in being as thorough as possible when reviewing evidence, because our rules and evidence requirements level the playing field for everyone, everywhere who wants to attempt a record. However, having learned more about the techniques used by the matchstick model community, and after a second review of this achievement in relation to similar record titles that we have awarded, it seems that we have been heavy-handed in the application of our rules in this case. We are therefore very happy to award Richard with the Guinness World Records title and we have corrected some inconsistencies within our rules which now allow the matchsticks to be snipped and shaped as the modeller sees fit. We regret the distress that the last 24 hours will have caused on what should have been a moment of celebration for Richard. I hope he’ll accept our belated congratulations on behalf of everyone at GWR on his truly impressive structure – and his new Guinness World Records title.”

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