Man’s Record-Setting Achievement Shattered By Technicality

The Frenchman whose 23-foot high matchstick Eiffel Tower was initially rejected by Guinness World Records for the title of tallest matchstick structure got good news last week after Guinness reversed course and awarded him the honor, Reuters reported.

Richard Plaud told Reuters that he had endured an “emotional rollercoaster” after he spent eight years and 4,200 hours constructing his model Eiffel Tower only to have Guinness reject it and then accept it.

The 23.6-foot Eiffel Tower was constructed using over 706,000 matches held together by 23 kilograms of glue.

When he finally completed the structure, Plaud was initially informed by Guinness that his Eiffel Tower didn’t qualify as the world’s tallest matchstick structure because he did not use matchsticks that were commercially available.

A heartbroken Plaud posted on his Facebook page that the Guinness judges arrived at their decision without coming to inspect his structure in person. He said Guinness informed him that the matches must be commercially available and could not be cut or disassembled, nor could they be distorted to not be recognizable as matchsticks.

When he first began constructing his Eiffel Tower, Plaud began using commercially available matchsticks from which he cut off the match heads. After a while, the tedious and time-consuming process grew tiring, so Plaud contacted the match manufacturer and asked if he could simply purchase the wooden sticks used to make the matches that had not yet included the match heads.

It was this move that prompted Guinness to initially reject the structure.

In a statement to Reuters, Guinness World Records’ director of central records services Mark McKinley said Guinness was very excited to approve Plaud’s Eiffel Tower. He said Guinness was “happy to be able to admit that we were a little bit too harsh” when rejecting Plaud’s structure based on the type of matches.

McKinley described Plaud’s model Eiffel Tower as “officially amazing.”