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Frenchman originally denied record for tallest matchstick Eiffel Tower now awarded world record

Guinness World Records first claimed the man’s 23-foot structure made of matches went against the rules, but now he’s achieved a childhood dream

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A man takes a photograph of the Eiffel Tower after snowfalls, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024 in Paris.

A man takes a photograph of the Eiffel Tower after snowfalls, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024 in Paris. A man’s record-breaking matchstick structure of the Eiffel Tower was initially rejected by Guinness World Records due to him using the wrong type of matches.

Thomas Padilla, Associated Press

A Frenchman’s record-breaking matchstick structure of the Eiffel Tower was initially rejected by Guinness World Records due to him using the wrong type of matches. But according to the organization’s website, he is now officially the title holder.

Previously, the record was held by Toufic Daher of Lebanon, who made a 6-million-matchstick Eiffel Tower that reached 21.4 feet tall in 2009, per NBC News.

The creator, Richard Plaud, stated he used 706,900 matchsticks and over 50 pounds of glue to create the 23.6-foot model over the course of eight years, according to USA Today.

Per BBC, the final match was glued in on Dec. 27 last year, exactly 100 years after the death of the titular engineer Gustav Eiffel.

Last week, Plaud submitted an application to Guinness World Records for his matchstick structure, but he claimed it was denied because the matchsticks used weren’t commercially available, and the matchsticks couldn’t be “cut, disassembled or distorted beyond recognition,” according to NBC News.

Why did Plaud use non-commercial matchsticks?

As reported by BBC, Plaud realized while planning that he was going to have to shave the sulphur — or the flammable red parts — off of hundreds of thousands of individual matchsticks.

NBC News shared that Plaud did at first shave off sulphur heads from supermarket-sold matchsticks, but after growing tired of the process, he contacted a match manufacturer that supplied him with 33-pound boxes of sulphur-less matches.

Plaud was not happy to hear the initial news

Guinness World Records’ reasoning behind the rejection caused Plaud to be frustrated at the organization.

According to Sky News, Plaud shared a scathing social media post, saying the first decision was a “great disappointment.”

He previously stated, “It’s pretty astonishing, and actually rather annoying. Not exactly fair play. What hurts most is that they don’t acknowledge the work that I put in, the time I spent, the mental energy — because I can tell you it was not easy,” via BBC.

Moreover, he argued that the invoices for the matches and other evidence from independent observers would show his model did follow the rules.

Plaud’s second chance

Despite what was first upsetting news, Plaud later officially became a record holder.

Mark McKinley, director of Guinness’ central records services, previously told NBC News regarding the rejection, “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.”

Today, Sky News reported McKinley’s second response:

“However, having learned more about the techniques used by the matchstick model community, and after a second review of this achievement in relation to similar record titles that we have awarded, it seems that we have been heavy-handed in the application of our rules in this case.”

McKinley added, “We are therefore very happy to award Richard with the Guinness World Records title and we have corrected some inconsistencies within our rules which now allow the matchsticks to be snipped and shaped as the modeller sees fit.”

“Having a world record was a childhood dream. I always had that in the back of my mind,” Plaud shared to Le Parisien, a French newspaper, per USA Today.