Everyone knows the 'Guinness Book of World Records,' but apparently not everyone knows the origin story: 'I never knew that!'
Most of us are well aware of the Guinness Book of World Records, as well as the eyebrow-raising achievements people are listed for inside of it. But as one viral TikTok has shown, not all of us know how the whole thing got started — and for some, the strange-but-true story is actually kind of mind-blowing.
According to Dylan Evans (@dylanevans), a TikToker from Liverpool, England, he recently learned the backstory himself and shared it on social media to see if others were just as shocked.
Turns out, the people behind the Guinness Book of World Records are the same people behind the legendary Irish stout beer, Guinness. But here’s the real kicker, Evans says: The whole thing got started as a way of settling drunken arguments that would break out in the pub.
“Like, who knew?!” Evans asks toward the end of the clip. And at another point, he admits to feeling “so stupid” for not realizing this sooner.
Ultimately, he jokes that maybe everyone already knew this anyway and wonders if he’s “just having a bit of an American moment.”
Judging by the comments, Evans wasn’t completely alone on this one.
“That’s amazing, I never knew that!” one user wrote.
“so the Guinness book of world records was made so lads in a bar, presumably drinking Guinness, didn’t go to each other’s throats over arguing records?” asked someone else.
Still, there were plenty of people who were not at all surprised by the news.
“I thought this was super common knowledge,” one commenter wrote.
Don’t just take Evans’ word for it, though. According to the Guinness World Records website, the origin story is 100% true.
In fact, it all started back in the 1950s when a British engineer and industrialist named Sir Hugh Beaver found himself arguing with some friends on a hunting trip. The point of contention: Who was the fastest game bird in all of Europe?
After going back and forth for some time, and later realizing that they couldn’t find the answer in any reference book, Beaver got an idea: What if he made one himself?
In November 1954, after teaming up with several sports journalists, Beaver founded the Guinness Superlatives, Ltd., which later published the first-ever sports reference book of its kind. And as for the name Guinness? Well, it turns out that Beaver was working as managing director of the Guinness Brewery at the time and thought it would be a great way to solve trivia questions among bar patrons. (Not to mention a great branding opportunity.)
As of 2022, more than 60,000 Guinness world records have been cataloged in the publication, and they seem to get even more random with each new year.
In February 2022, circus performer Getti Kehayova earned her spot in the book for spinning the largest hula hoop on record, which was 17 feet wide. And in 2019, there was Lauren Stroud — the mom who ran the fastest half-marathon ever run while pushing a stroller. Or Kevin Shelley, of Germany, who broke the most toilet seats with his head in a one-minute span during 2007.
But as silly as some of these achievements may seem, the folks at Guinness seem proud that their book has been able to amuse and inspire people for nearly 70 years now.
“Our mission to document the incredible can still be found each year on the pages of our book, but also through TV Shows, social media and live events,” the official website reads. “Whether in the form of a personal life-long dream, or a team attempt within a company of 5000, the power of record-breaking is easy to see, and continues to inspire amazing feats and achievements every day, across the globe.”
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