It's Back! The Original Guinness Book of Records Returns After 55 Years of Evolution

Oct 22, 2009, 12:44 ET from Guinness World Records

NEW YORK, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The global authority on record-breaking achievement, Guinness World Records, today launched an exact replica of the very first "Guinness Book of Records" in a limited and individually-numbered facsimile edition available exclusively for purchase at the company's website (


The phenomenon of Guinness World Records began in September 1955 when the Chairman of the Guinness Brewery, Sir Hugh Beaver, decided to publish a volume of definite facts, in hopes that such a book would put an end to pub arguments. The very first Guinness Book of Records was printed in 1,000 copies with a plastic cover to protect it from beer stains and despite an initial skepticism from retailers (WHSmith ordered five copies), the book became an instant hit, was reprinted and reached bestseller status by Christmas the same year.

55 years later, the current Guinness World Records 2010 edition is published in 26 languages, 3 million copies and sold in 100 countries around the world. Although the popularity of Guinness World Records has remained steady for half a century the world that the record-keeping company measures has certainly seen some changes.

Editor-in-Chief of Guinness World Records, Craig Glenday, said: "The world is moving at a dizzying pace and we've been there documenting and celebrating the changes for half a century. By reproducing our very first edition, we can offer a snapshot of the world in the 1950s and a true sense of how our planet and its inhabitants have changed in the past 55 years."

"Guinness Book of Records" will take today's readers back to a time when the most expensive bottle of perfume was Jean Patou's "joy" from Paris retailing at 103 s. 6d. per 1/4 oz (225 pounds Sterling per pint), compared to the current record attributed to the limited edition of Clive Christian No.1 Collection priced at 115,000 pounds ($205,000) per 500 ml (17 fl oz); and the tallest building was the Empire State Building in New York at 448.7 m (1,472 ft), which is nearly half the size of the Burj Dubai, "Dubai Tower," which today tops out at a record breaking 818 m (2,648 ft).

Readers will also notice that a category such as "uncontrolled drinking," which is no longer monitored by Guinness World Records, appears in the very first edition with record holders Auguste Maffrey (France) and Spaniard Dionsio Sanchez (Spain), who consumed 24 pints of beer in 52 minutes and 40 pints of wine in 59 minutes, respectively. Other records remain unbroken until this day, including the largest diamond (a 3106 carat diamond found in 1905 in South Africa) and the tallest man ever (American Robert Pershing Wadlow 2.72 m - 8 ft 11.1 in). Not to mention the largest pandemic (Black Death in 1347 eradicating around a quarter of the population of Europe and some 75 million worldwide) -- a record which thankfully has not been surpassed in modern times.

"The Guinness Book of Records" facsimile edition is available exclusively on the Guinness World Records website at 25 pounds in a strictly-limited print-run of 5,000 copies. Each copy is individually numbered as a collector's item.

About Guinness World Records

Guinness World Records is the universally recognized authority on record-breaking achievement. First published in 1955, the annual Guinness World Records book is published in more than 100 countries and 25 languages and is the highest-selling books under copyright of all time with more than 3 million copies sold annually across the globe. Guinness World Records celebrated its 50th anniversary edition in 2004, a year after the sale of its 100 millionth copy. Guinness World Records also annually publishes the Gamer's Edition; a records book devoted solely to the world of computer gaming and high score record achievements. The Guinness World Records website ( receives more than 11 million visitors a year. Guinness World Records is part of the Jim Pattison Group, one of Canada's largest privately owned companies which is a conglomerate of interests, including advertising, broadcasting, grocery stores and automotive retailing.

SOURCE Guinness World Records