Richard Blood toiled over eight years to build a nearly 24-foot-tall model of the Eiffel Tower. Each of the 706,900 matchsticks he glued together brought the Frenchman one step closer to his dream: setting a world record for building the tallest matchstick sculpture.
But in late January, weeks after the replica was completed, Guinness World Records officials announced devastating news: Its Eiffel Tower had been disqualified because it was built using the wrong type of matchstick.
“it hurts me,” He told TFIFrench television network in an interview broadcast this week. He also expressed his displeasure on Facebook. “A huge disappointment,” he wrote in a post last week. “Tell me the 706,900 sticks stuck together aren't identical!!??”
But by Thursday, after days of headlines about Mr Blood's disappointment at his exclusion, Guinness reversed its decision, saying it had made a mistake. Guinness explained in a statement that Mr. Blood won the title, even though he used matches without flammable ends.
Mark McKinlay, director of records at Guinness, said on Friday that the organization regretted any distress caused to Mr Blood during what should have been a time of celebration.
Upon reflection, Guinness was “a little harsh” in its interpretation of what constitutes a match, Mr. McKinley said in an interview. While Guinness officials had initially defined matches as pieces of wood with a flammable end, Guinness later learned that within the community of people who make things with matches, cutting off the ends was standard practice to avoid starting a fire, he said.
“If you have a flammable end, that makes it a very dangerous activity,” McKinley said.
Mr McKinlay said on Friday that Guinness had contacted Mr Blood on Thursday to let him know he was the new champion, but he had not yet responded.
Mr. Blood, who lives in western France, Le Parisien said He completed the Eiffel Tower's structure, using 50 pounds of glue, on December 27, the 100th anniversary of the death of Gustave Eiffel, the civil engineer after whom the real tower was named.
Guinness said it initially ruled him out because he used specially arranged matches that did not have the flammable end. Mr. Blood began making his model by removing the match head from matches, a tedious process, but decided to speed up the construction process by ordering custom matches without the tip from Flam'Up, a French matchmaker, according to Guinness.
Guinness rules stipulated that the matches used must be commercially available and must not be cut, dismantled or mutilated such that they cannot be recognized as matches.
Mr. Blood joins winners in at least two other matchstick categories: largest collection of musical instruments made from matchsticks and largest matchstick sculpture. The current champion of the first category is Bohdan Senchukov from Ukraine, with a score of 14 Matchstick musical instrumentsThis includes a guitar made of 23,000 matchsticks and took more than a year to complete, Guinness said. (Musical instruments were also made using matches without flammable ends.)
The title of largest matchstick sculpture goes to Briton David Reynolds, who spent 15 years building. An oil production platform in the North Sea. The previous holder of the title of the tallest matchstick statue, the Lebanese Tawfiq Dallah, also won a replica of the Eiffel Tower.
Mr. McKinley said the Guinness verification process is not easy or perfect and, from time to time, involves errors. He added: “It was unfortunate that things turned out this way.”
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