The books containing facts and records that we have known in the early times that covered our school and district libraries were mostly almanacs and encyclopedias. They were believed to contain almost anything we wanted to know about what happened (glimpse of history), various facts and information arranged on a scholarly and formal way. Ever since its original and first volume came out as early as the Ancient Babylonian times, our libraries and book shelves were occupied by these ever-so reliable mediums of information. What makes it more interesting and popular is that its contents are pure factual, non-fiction and contain only the “real thing”, as if to say.
We were accustomed to the various volumes, annual updates and records of almost everyday activities involving human beings and everything around him. They talk about straight facts and records but the notion and idea of them being more inclined on history was inescapable. Those contents were merely for the academe’s consumption and use. They were formal, conventional and are truly deserving of distinction.
But as we say it quite so often, change is inevitable and there are always paths and alleys that are left in the dark undiscovered and less traveled. And these paths are mostly unconventional, out of the ordinary, unique in its own nature and form. The collection of information and facts about human beings, the place where he belongs and everything around him was given a new light in the form of an extraordinary and rather unconventional manner thru the birth of a much modern approach on every fact and feat available – the Guinness Book of World Records. And it all started in 1890.
1890 was year when the founder of the Guinness World Records (its name until 2000 and later became Guinness Book of Records) Some of its previous US edition name was Guinness Book of World Records, Sir Hugh Eyre Campbell Beaver KBE (Knight Commander or Dame – the second rank among King George V’s British Order of Chivalry) was born. As a well known engineer and industrialist, he spent most of his early working days in the Indian Police force and was later a great figure in rebuilding the British Empire after World War II. During then, he worked as a Managing Director of Arthur Guinness, Son and Co., Ltd., a brewery originally located in Ireland.
Beaver was a very busy man as the feathers he wore in his hat during those times were being a member of Lord Reith’s Committee on New Towns, a member of the Building Industry Working Party and the Director of the Colonial Development Corporation. He tremendously held these positions from 1946 to 1960. But it was on the 10th of November 1951 that a simple idea of him triggered of what later became one of the best read book of all times.
Sir Beaver was then invited to a shooting party somewhere in Ireland. He later was engaged and got involved in a small argument in finding out which was the fastest game bird in all Europe. Their argument broken down their candidates to be either the Grouse (birds with slender built such that of the chicken’s) or the Golden Plover (a migratory bird with a yellowish face and now considered near to extinction).
Beaver then was not satisfied with how the argument went about because his posted query was not answered. He then ravaged through reference books and still wasn’t satisfied. And as a person connected with the brewery, he then thought more of the people in approximately 81,400 pubs and bars in Britain and Ireland arguing and debating each night on some quest for the fastest, the firsts, the biggest and such questions about records.
All of a sudden a light bulb suddenly turned on inside his mind (like that of the cartoons shows…) signaling him and giving him an idea of presenting a book full of records in order to settle these arguments. A collection of various records in a book pictured in his mind suddenly turned the light bulb into a much brighter source of light!
As he marketed his idea, a co-employee at the brewery recommended and offered Sir Beaver some help from the university. They were guys who were operating a fact-finding agency in London. They were then required to gather and compile as much facts they can. And in August of 1954, Sir Beaver’s idea became a reality as the first 1,000 copies of the Guinness Book of Records was printed and distributed.
The humble success of Guinness World Records started merely as it being just a corporate give away from its office at 107 Fleet Street. Its first 198 page edition was released on August 27, 1955. The said “corporate give away” suddenly reached the top and found its way to among the best sellers in Britain. The success of Guinness World Records ballooned as their US release the following year totaled to 70,000 copies sold.
Feat after feat, records upon records, Guinness World Records is there to cover and document them. Currently, it has sold more than a hundred million copies in 100 countries on 37 languages and is also considered the world’s best selling copyright book. It is truly a record in its own.