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Around 4,000 people came to see the finished model in January. Pic: Facebook/Richard Plaud
Around 4,000 people came to see the finished model in January. Pic: Facebook/Richard Plaud

Guinness World Records: Man builds Eiffel Tower model with 700,000 matchsticks over eight years only to be rejected

A Frenchman who built a model of the Eiffel Tower using over 700,000 matchsticks says he had his efforts rejected by Guinness World Records.


Richard Plaud, 47, said he spent eight years and 4,200 hours assembling 706,900 matches to build the world's tallest structure made of matches, measured at 7.19m (23.6ft).

It would have been enough to beat the record that's been held by Lebanese model maker Toufic Daher since 2009, who used six million matches to create an Eiffel Tower replica measuring at 6.53m (21.4ft).

But after completing his creation on 27 December, Mr Plaud said he submitted an application to Guinness World Records only for it to be rejected without even being looked at.

In a scathing social media post, Mr Plaud said the decision was a "great disappointment" and relayed the record company's reasons for rejecting his work.

He said it was because the structure must be built from matches that are available to the public for purchase and don't have flammable red tips - and they must "not be cut, disassembled or deformed to the point where they are no longer recognised" as matches.

The matchstick model took more than eight years to make

Mr Plaud told French media outlet TFI he started off the tower with matches bought commercially, but became tired of having to cut off their red tips one by one, so ended up contacting the main French manufacturer to have the wooden rods delivered in 15kg boxes.

He says he did not know this would disqualify him from breaking the record.

As for the other regulation, Mr Plaud said on Facebook: "Tell me that the 706,900 sticks glued together one by one are not matches!? And they are too cut to be unrecognisable!?"

The model maker still got some joy from his creation, having presented it to a crowd of 4,000 people in a hall in Saujon in January.

Mr Plaud isn't sure what he'll do with the model now, he told TFI. He said his hope was to present it at the Olympics in Paris this summer, but that organisers told him "there was no room high enough to accommodate it".

'We might have been a little heavy handed'

Mark McKinley, director of central records services at Guinness World Records, said: "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. 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."

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