Category:
World Records

The woman who counted to one million

The great claim to fame of Marva Drew of Waterloo, Iowa was that she typed the numbers one to one million on a manual typewriter. It took her about six years, starting in 1968 and ending in 1974 (although she took several years off in the middle). It totaled 2,473 pages.

She explained that she got the idea when she heard that her son’s high school teacher had told him that no one had ever counted to a million, and that anyone who tried would be crazy. So Marva decided she’d do it.

She noted that if someone started at the age of 18, they could conceivably type up to 50 million in their entire life.

Some other info from the Waterloo Courier:

“Corrections and erasures were done meticulously, and often whole handfuls of pages were discarded when she discovered she’d left out a number somewhere along the way...
There were physical problems, too. The endless carriage returns caused pains in her wrist, back, and shoulders, and there were swollen fingers, eyestrain, headaches, and insomnia."

Marva Drew poses with the stack of completed pages.



Update: I just recalled that we have another story on WU about someone counting up to one million. It's the case of Henry Parish of Meddybemps, Maine who counted a million peas in one month, back in 1922.

The first and last pages typed.



Waterloo Courier - Dec 5, 1974

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 04, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Eccentrics, World Records, 1970s

Showered for four-and-a-half days

Preston ‘Rocky’ Stockman's comments after standing in a shower for 4½ days in an attempt to set the world record for longest shower (which he didn't even come close to setting): “My hands and feet were wrinkled. Then my ear became plugged, and I tried to unplug it. Everything I did was futile. It just got worse and worse… It got to the point where I was standing there in absolute agony.”

Shreveport Times - Mar 31, 1974

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 02, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: World Records, 1970s

86-year-old trapeze artist

Betty Goedhart first tried the trapeze at the age of 78, after a career as an ice skater. So she had an athletic background. Even so, she's got some seriously good genes.

More info: fox news

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 14, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Sports, World Records

The Jump-Roping Rabbi

Rabbi Barry Silberg set a world record in 1975 for jumping rope for five hours. According to Guinness, the current record, set in 2009, is 33 hours 20 minutes. That's not even close. So why such a huge difference? Did shoes get better, or something?

Moline Dispatch - June 25, 1975



Green Bay Press Gazette - Mar 31, 1975

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 10, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Sports, World Records

World’s largest swing made from colored pencils

Is it just me, or do world record categories seem to be getting increasingly specific?

More info: Express Tribune

Posted By: Alex - Thu Oct 11, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: World Records

Most walnuts cracked against the head

S. Navin Kumar of Nellore, India recently smashed 217 walnuts with his head in one minute, thereby beating the old record by 36 walnuts.

Unfortunately the video ended too soon. I wanted to see what his forehead looked like after finishing.

Also, he lost a lot of time turning around the end of the table. I bet he could beat his record simply by setting up a longer row of tables.

More info: Food & Wine

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 23, 2018 - Comments (3)
Category: World Records

Death by Snails

November 1979: World-champion snail eater Marc Quinquandon died soon after eating 72 snails in three minutes and four seconds.

More info: Death of a snails man (Washington Post - Nov 29, 1979)



San Bernardino County Sun - Nov 27, 1979

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jul 10, 2018 - Comments (11)
Category: Death, Food, World Records, 1970s

Jim Purol, world-record smoker

One of comedian Jim Purol's recurring gags was to stuff record-setting amounts of things in his mouth, especially cigarettes and cigars. For instance, he set a Guinness world record for smoking seven packs of cigarettes simultaneously. Ironically, he was a non-smoker. From the LA Times (July 18, 1987):

His trick of broadening a yawn into a crater crammed with seven packs of gaspers also has given Purol, 35, a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. He scored a second mention by smoking 38 pipes at one puffing. He opened wider, gritted his tonsils, and earned a third entry in 1983 by smoking 40 finger-fat stogies at the same time.
Paradoxically, Purol is a nonsmoker. It gets better. His world cigar smoking record was a charity performance benefiting the American Lung Assn.
"I hate smoking," he explained. "I perform the stunts as a statement against smoking. Lookit this picture of me with cigarettes stuffed in my face. This is glamorous? It's disgusting."


Jim Purol (left) and Mike Papa each smoking 135 cigarettes in five minutes - October 1978



Weekly World News - Jan 1, 1985



Philadelphia Daily News - Apr 22, 1983



Back in 1976, he also set the world's duration drumming record by drumming for 320 hours.

Jasper Herald - June 30, 1976

Posted By: Alex - Tue May 15, 2018 - Comments (3)
Category: World Records, Smoking and Tobacco

23-mile paper chain

Butch Baker of Four Oaks, North Carolina began making a paper chain in 1979. The chain is now 23-miles long, weighs 2300 pounds, and takes up much of his living room. And he’s still working on it. (He knows it's length because he's been measuring it as he makes it.)

The problem is, Butch is 78 and doesn't know what will happen to the chain when he dies.

More info: news observer

image source: Four Oaks Journal - Feb 2016 (pdf)

Posted By: Alex - Thu Apr 12, 2018 - Comments (3)
Category: Hobbies and DIY, World Records

Most Cockroach-Infested Home

In early 1997, Combat Insect Control ran a contest offering a $5000 cash prize to the person with the most cockroach-infested home.

The winner, from over 1000 people who entered, was Mary Esposito of Forest Park, Georgia. She complained that she had roaches living in her dishwasher, refrigerator, oven, coffeemaker, VCR, wallpaper, dresser drawers, and bathtub faucet. An entomologist hired by Combat estimated there were 75,000 roaches in her home.

Somehow I don't think that "most cockroach-infested home" is a record that will ever make its way into Guinness.

Orlando Sentinel - June 12, 1997



Palm Beach Post - Mar 16, 1997

Posted By: Alex - Fri Oct 27, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Insects, World Records, 1990s

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