It's been almost 15 years since 'Record Breakers' last aired, even longer since the late great Roy Castle and the McWhirter brothers were its hosts, and longer still (60 years!) since the first publication of the Guinness Book of World Records. But records are still being broken and there is an endless fascination with all things extreme. Some records - such as Robert Wadlow's almost nine foot stature - will probably never get broken: people who look like they might exceed seven feet in height tend to get cured by medical science. And some records are just a bit silly: there's actually one for the most jelly eaten with chopsticks in a minute… (663g if you're interested).
Cult Pens hasn't actually broken any records lately (not ever, actually, if we're honest), but we do have a bit of the world's longest coloured pencil - an orange and black striped Noris - and that's good enough for us. Kindly donated to us by Staedtler UK, this piece of record-breaking history was created in just 15 minutes in their factory in Nuremberg on 5th August last year. So how did they create a 459.97 metre long pencil without it snapping during its creation? And why didn't they make it just 3 centimetres longer to make it a round 460 metres? Well, we don't know about the missing millimetres but we do know that they used their unique WOPEX material to make it happen. This is created using three different resins - one for the surface, one for the body and one for the lead - which are melted at high temperatures and pressed through the Staedtler-developed co-extrusion process into a pencil strand. Because pencils made in this way are slightly more flexible, they're resistant to breaking, which is why an almost 460 metre pencil was possible. There's a bit of footage here, showing the pencil snaking out of the factory and into the grounds. Thankfully it wasn't raining.
I suppose that means - because we have a chunk of it - that the world's longest coloured pencil no longer exists, which seems a bit of a shame, but it would have been a nightmare to store. Your average pencil case wouldn't have been much good.
Anyway, part of it (53 cms) came all the way across the European landmass, hopped the channel, negotiated the big city challenge that is London and ended up down in beautiful Devon. It's in the meeting room for all to see, on the windowsill, all framed and everything, and it looks fab.
2 February 2016