Since 2009, Toufic Daher has held the Guinness World Record for the tallest matchstick sculpture. Daher’s Eiffel Tower is 21.4 feet high, and used 6 million matches. So you would think another matchstick Eiffel Tower measuring 23.6 feet high and using 706,900 matchsticks would beat that, right? Nope.
On December 27th, Richard Plaud finished his lifelong dream of holding the Guinness World Record for the tallest matchstick sculpture. After 8 years of work, he submitted his masterpiece to Guinness only to have it rejected.
The reason? He apparently used the wrong kind of matches.
“The Guinness Book judges have delivered their verdict, without actually seeing my tower in real life,” Plaid posted. Guinness’ rules are the matches must be commercially available and cannot be cut, disassembled, or distorted beyond recognition.
When Plaud was building the sculpture, it became too tedious for him to buy matches from the store and manually removing the sulfur heads. So, he struck a deal with a manufacturer to buy 33-pound boxes of headless matches. An arrangement that made less work for him and less waste overall. But since these headless matches are not sold in stores, it disqualifies his monument.
“BIG DISILLUSION, DISAPPOINTMENT AND INCOMPREHENSION😟🥺,” he wrote. “[They] tell me that the 706,900 rods stuck one by one are not matches!!?? And they are too cut to the point of being unrecognizable!!??”
There’s still hope!
Plaud may still see his dream come to life, as Guinness is reviewing the case. “It’s the job of our records management team to be thorough and fastidious in reviewing evidence to make sure the playing field is level for everyone attempting a Guinness World Records title, however it does appear we might have been a little heavy-handed with this application,” Mark McKinley, Director of Guinness’ Central Records Services, said. “We will make contact with the record holder again as well as review rules for similar records as a priority, to see what can be done.”
Even if Guinness stands firm on rejecting Plaud’s Eiffel Tower, it’s still a pretty cool thing to have made.