65 years of Guinness World Records: Here's a look at top 5 weirdest things people have records for
The credit for its existence can be given to one old man, whose desire to settle a bet about the fastest bird sparked the idea for the first book of world records
As children, the most popular book that we could stumble upon were those filled with trivia that piqued our interests. From the tallest man alive to the person with the biggest feet, facts like these have often been intriguing to children, and one book that has been feeding this fascination is the Guinness World Records. Even today, 65 years after it was first published, the ever-changing book, with every tabulated crazy fact, has become a kid's classic. The credit for its existence can be given to one old man whose desire to settle a bet about the fastest bird sparked the idea for the first book of world records.
The story of the book began in 1951 at a shooting party in Ireland. Sir Hugh Beaver, the managing director of Guinness Brewery, found himself in a bit of a predicament. After initiating a bet over it, he engaged in an argument about whether the golden plover was Europe's fastest game bird. Unable to find a book that would give him an answer, he instantaneously thought that it might be a good idea if one existed. He thought that the patrons of British pubs would appreciate a record book that could be used to settle friendly disagreements.
Athlete Chris Chataway, who was working at Guinness at the time, recommended hiring twin brothers Norris and Ross McWhirter to aid him with his new project idea. The McWhirters had won accolades as ace sprinters at Oxford and a London-based publishing company and agency that provided facts and statistics to newspapers and advertisers. It is said that the McWhirters clinched the deal after instantly and correctly citing Turkish as the language with the fewest irregular verbs when asked. Guinness commissioned the publication of the book and on August 27, 1955, the first edition of 'The Guinness Book of Records' was published in the UK.
The book, which was initially intended to be given away for free in pubs to promote the Guinness brand, turned out to be a smashing hit. The company started selling it in the fall, making it a bestseller. The American edition of the book debuted in 1956 and other countries soon followed. It combined meticulous research and accuracy with a broad reach. The subjects spread across sport, engineering, science, technology, arts and entertainment to include intriguing yet bizarre information. Readers were also encouraged to set new records of their own, no matter how ridiculous. All claims that come to them are checked for authenticity before being published.
The 'Guinness World Records', as it is now known, is currently an annual publication that features a wide range of information pertaining to humans and animals. On average, the book sells over 100M copies each year, in 37 different languages in some 100 countries. The McWhirters traveled the globe extensively to research and verify records. Ross McWhirter was involved in compiling the book until he was killed by the Irish Republican Army gunmen in 1975. Norris served as the book's editor until 1986.
Five weirdest Guinness World Records
Most toothpicks in a beard
On July 7, 2018, Joel Strasser spent three hours and 13 minutes to weave 3,500 toothpicks into his beard. In 2019, Strasser also held the record for stuffing the highest number of straws in his beard at 312, before he was dethroned in March 2020.
On December 1, 1993, in commemoration of World AIDS Day, the world's largest condom, measuring at 72 feet, was fitted over the phallic-shaped historical monument, the Obelisque at the Place de la Concorde in Paris. The condom was funded by the Italian apparel company, Benetton.
Largest table tennis/ping pong bat
Rise Brands achieved its world record for the biggest tennis/ping pong bat on July 21, 2017. It measured at 11 feet. 7.8 inches tall and six feet, 7.8 inches wide. The bat now hangs on a wall in a combination arcade/bar where guests can play table tennis.
Fastest time to eat a bowl of pasta
Competitive eater, Michelle Lesco, devoured an entire bowl of pasta in 26.69 seconds, setting the record for the fastest time on September 18, 2017. She smashed the previous record by 14 seconds and her new achievement was linked with the charity food drive "Carbs for a Cause". A math teacher by profession and a foodie at heart, Lesco is ranked #9 in the world by the International Federation of Competitive Eaters (IFOCE) and Major League Eating (MLE). She has also held the record for the fastest time to eat a hot dog with no hands at 21.60 seconds, and most mayonnaise eaten in three minutes at 2,448 g (equivalent to 3.5 jars).
Most tattooed man
Lucky Diamond Rich of Australia holds the record for the most tattoos man, with over 1,000 hours of body modification. Rich, a street performer whose acts include sword swelling and juggling on a unicycle among others, has held the certified record since 2006 being 100 percent tattooed. His tattoos cover his whole body, including the inside of his eyelids, mouth, ears and foreskin.