Man Builds Largest Matchstick Eiffel Tower, But Is Denied Guinness Record Because of a Technicality

Imagine putting your heart and soul into a project for almost a decade, only to have your dream shattered due to a detail that never crossed your mind. That’s what happened to Frenchman Richard Plaud when he was denied the chance to have his name mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records after spending 8 years assembling over 700,000 matchsticks into a 23-foot-tall replica of the Eiffel Tower. After spending roughly 4,200 hours working on the project, Plaud learned his work was ineligible for a record because he used regular headless matches. When he first started working on the model, he used store-bought matchsticks, but soon found the process of removing the flammable heads too time-consuming. He convinced French matchstick maker Flam’Up to supply him with a huge order of headless matchsticks, which sped up the process considerably. “It’s pretty astonishing, and actually rather annoying,” said Plaud of the initial denial. However, in an unusual move, Guinness World Records has reversed its decision, saying “it seems that we have been heavy-handed in the application of our rules in this case.” On Thursday, Guinness World Records updated its website to declare Richard Plaud the recordholder for the Tallest Matchstick Sculpture.