Man Builds World’s Largest Matchstick Eiffel Tower, Is Denied Guinness Record on a ‘Technicality’

A Frenchman who spent the last 8 years assembling over 700,000 matchsticks into a 23-foot-tall replica of the Eiffel Tower has been denied the Guinness World Record because he didn’t use commercially available matchsticks.

Imagine putting your heart and soul into a project for almost a decade only to have your dream shattered at the very end due to a detail that never crossed your mind. That’s what 47-year-old Richard Plaud went through when he was denied the chance to have his name mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records after building the world’s tallest matchstick Eiffel Tower. He started working on the complex model in 2015 and poured roughly 4,200 hours of work into it over the last 8 years, painstakingly gluing 706,900 matchsticks into 402 panels that he then assembled into the impressive structure. But last year, as he was getting ready to complete the project, Plaud learned that his Eiffel Tower model wasn’t eligible for a Guinness Record.

Photo: Richard Plaud/Facebook

“It’s disappointing, frustrating, incomprehensible, and not very fair play,” Richard Plaud said. “My matchstick tower still stands and will be 7.19 meters for a long time. Tell me how 706,900 sticks stuck one by one are not matches.”

Plaud’s Eiffel Tower is visibly taller than that of the current Guinness record holder for ‘the world’s largest matchstick Eiffel Tower’, a 6.53-meter-tall model built by Lebanese craftsman Toufic Daher in 2009. However, the difference is that Plaud used regular and headless matchsticks for his, and that apparently makes it ineligible for a Guinness Record.


When he first started working on his wooden model, Richard Plaud used store-bought matchsticks, but he found the process of removing the flammable heads of the matchsticks too ‘fastidious’, so he managed to convince French matchstick maker Flam’Up to supply him with a huge supply of headless matchsticks that he could use without having the remove the heads. That sped up the process considerably, but it apparently also made his dream go up in flames, as Guinness rules stipulate that only “commercially available” can be used.

“It’s part of the dream that has escaped,” Plaud said about not being able to get the Guinness Record. “It’s pretty astonishing, and actually rather annoying. 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.”

@tf1info 😢 Terrible injustice. Ce passionné a mis 8 ans pour construire la plus haute tour Eiffel… en allumettes ! Avec ses 706 900 battonets en bois et ses 7,19 mètres, il espérait décrocher le record du monde mais voilà : le Guinness Book n’est pas de cet avis et l’a tout simplement disqualifié. Le prestigieux jury lui reproche de ne pas avoir acheté ses allumettes dans le commerce, et surtout de ne pas les avoir utilisées avec leurs bouts rouges inflammables. Le maquettiste Richard Plaud ne perd pas espoir : il rêve d’exposer son oeuvre aux JO de Paris 🙏 #insolite #recorddumonde #toureiffel ♬ son original – TF1 INFO

Plaud had hoped that Guinness would take pity on him and consider all the work he put into the project, but in the end, they denied his application without even inspecting his matchstick model.