Richard Proud spent more than eight years building a 24-foot model of the Eiffel Tower. Each of his 706,900 matchsticks he pasted together brought the Frenchman one step closer to his dream. It was a world record achievement for building the tallest matchstick sculpture.
But in late January, a few weeks after he completed the replica, Guinness World Records officials delivered shocking news. His Eiffel Tower was disqualified because it was built using the wrong type of matchstick.
“It hurt me.” he told TFI Info.He said this in an interview aired this week on a French television network. He also expressed his dissatisfaction on Facebook. “Very disappointed,” he wrote in a post last week. “Please tell me that 706,900 sticks glued together one by one is not a match!!??”
But by Thursday, after days of headlines about disappointment over Proud’s disqualification, Guinness reversed its decision and said an error had been made. Guinness said in a statement that Proud won the title even though he used a matchstick with an incendiary end.
Mark McKinley, Guinness’s head of records, said on Friday that the company regretted causing Mr Proud pain at a time of celebration.
On reflection, Guinness was “a little overbearing” in defining matchsticks, McKinley said in an interview. Guinness officials originally defined a match as a piece of wood with a flammable end, but Guinness later discovered that within the community of people who made things with matchsticks, the ends could be cut off to avoid starting a fire. He said he learned it was standard practice.
“If you have a flammable tip, that becomes a very dangerous thing to do,” McKinley said.
Guinness contacted Proud on Thursday to let him know he was the new champion, but Proud had not yet responded, McKinley said on Friday.
Proud, who lives in western France, told Le Parisien He said the Eiffel Tower structure, which used 50 pounds of glue, was completed on Dec. 27, 100 years after the death of its namesake, civil engineer Gustave Eiffel.
Guinness initially announced that he was disqualified because he used a custom-made match that did not contain an inflammable tip. According to Guinness, Mr. Proud began making the models by painstakingly scraping off the sulfur tips of matches, but then ordered custom matches without tips from French matchstick maker Flamup. He decided to hurry up.
Guinness rules stated that the matches used must be commercially available and must not be cut, disassembled, or otherwise deformed so that they are no longer recognizable as matchsticks.
Mr Proud joins at least two other matchstick category winners: largest collection of musical instruments made from matchsticks and largest matchstick sculpture. The current champion of the first category is Bodan Senchukov from Ukraine, his collection is 14 pieces. matchstick instrumentIt also includes a guitar made from 23,000 matchsticks that took more than a year to complete, according to Guinness. (Musical instruments were also made using matches that had no starting parts.)
The title of largest matchstick sculpture goes to David Reynolds of the UK, who took 15 years to create. North Sea oil production platform. The previous title holder for the tallest matchstick sculpture, Toufik Dahle of Lebanon, also won with his replica of the Eiffel Tower.
McKinley said Guinness’ verification process is neither easy nor perfect, and sometimes mistakes are made. “It was unfortunate that it had to end like this,” he said.