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?
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.
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.
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.
Back in 1930, George Kinder of Milwaukee set a record for endurance bowling. He bowled for 50 hours 20 mins, rolling 362 ½ games. He had to quit because "his thumb was badly split, blistered and torn, and he couldn't grasp the ball."
Courier News - Jan 13, 1930
41 years later, Richard Dewey of Kansas City set a new endurance record. He bowled for 98 hrs 45 mins, rolling 1220 games. But Dewey also had to quit because of injuries:
During his four days on the lanes, Dewey suffered a sprained right arm, severe blisters and swollen fingers. To overcome the problem of the sprained arm, he alternated arms, throwing left, then right-handed. To take the pressure off swollen and blistered fingers, his eight-pound bowling ball was drilled out every 20 hours. But after he was unable to stop the bleeding from his fingers, officials said enough was enough.
I just returned from visiting family in the Northern Neck region of Virginia. One of the oddities I encountered there was the giant corkscrews which stand at the entrance to the Dog and Oyster Vineyard in Irvington. Inside the vineyard, they'll tell you that these, at 40-feet tall, are the largest corkscrews in the world, and also that they're functional. If you bring a giant bottle of wine, they could open it.
I don't think this claim has been officially verified in any way. And since the corkscrews are anchored to the ground, I think they'd have trouble opening anything.
Another claimant to the title of World's Largest Corkscrew is a giant corkscrew that stands outside the Corkscrew Liquor Store in Hurley, Wisconsin. According to the Chicago Tribune it's only 24-feet tall, so the Dog and Oyster corkscrews have it beat.
According to Guinness, the record for the largest corkscrew goes to one that was only 5ft 8.1 in long that was created for the Watterfaescht festival in 2015. It was actually demonstrated to work, which I assume that Guinness considers to be essential for claiming the title.
In 1979, two Vancouver businessmen, Orst Perry and Adolf Schiel, set a world record for traveling around the world on commercial airlines. They started in Vancouver and ended up in Vancouver. They did this in 54 hours, 42 minutes. It cost them $7000 each.
I can think of a lot better ways to spend $7000 than sitting on a plane for several days. But it seems that others have pursued this same record. A press release from Nov 2016 says that Brother Michael Bartlett set a new record for flying around the world on commercial airlines by doing it in 57 hours, 17 minutes.
That's slower than the time set in 1979, but I'm guessing that Bartlett must have adhered to stricter rules. It says that he had to "cross the equator and land at points that are approximately 108 degrees apart and roughly on the same north–south longitude."
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.