To celebrate its 60th birthday Guinness World Records has compiled a list of some of the achievements and events that have seen the biggest changes since the annual’s first ever publication.
World records can reflect the changes in society, as progress in science, technology, nutrition and everything else that enables people to push the limits and break new ground.
For example, when the first Guinness World Records book was published in 1955, the fastest man in the world title was being shared by six different athletes with a time of 10.2 seconds over 100 metres. The record now stands at 9.58 seconds ran by Jamaican Usain Bolt in 2009.
Bolt is undoubtedly an incredibly gifted athlete and has worked his whole life to achieve his goals. However, he has also been helped to shave more than half a second off world record of 1955 by the knowledge and understanding of nutrition, training, physio work and recovery time that have been developed over the past few decades.
Almost all athletics records have been improved since the first Guinness World Records. Watch Bolt set the record below – it won’t take long!
The world of television has also been revolutionised in the past 60 years. The highest paid TV star in 1955 was US comedian Jackie Gleason, who was being paid $65,000 per episode for CBS’s The Honeymooners. That is about $555,000 in today’s money.
Today Ashton Kutcher holds the record for his income of $750,000 for each episode of Two and a Half Men. The vast number of channels available to viewers mean that television companies need to keep hold of their star actors if they consistently get the ratings.
Advances in construction and technology have allowed architects to be more ambitious than ever before. The Empire State Building was named as the tallest building in the first ever book of Guinness World Records. It stated that the building stood 448.6m tall (that figure has since been corrected to 443m).
Fast-forward 60 years and the tallest building in the world has almost doubled in height. The top of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is a mind blowing 828m from the ground. It is unsurprisingly also the holder of the ‘building with most floors’ record with 163.
Burj Khalifa is host to several more ‘highest’ records, such as the world’s highest swimming pool – 76th floor, world’s highest restaurant – 122nd floor and world’s highest nightclub – 144th floor.