Waterdown native continues to hold world record for gum wrapper chain

News Apr 07, 2016 by Mac Christie Flamborough Review

It all started March 11, 1965.

That’s when Gary Duschl, then a Grade 9 student at Waterdown District High School, started his world-record length gum wrapper chain.

“Some of the kids were making a chain and I said, ‘That looks kind of neat,’” he recalled. “They showed me how to do it and I got started.

“I wanted to make it the longest in the class – that didn’t take too long – then the longest in the school and before long, the longest in the world.”

Today, 51 years later, the Guinness World Record-length chain measures and astounding 89,431 feet. That’s as long as 298 football fields. Or the height of 61 Empire State Buildings.

It would take 17 minutes to drive the length of the chain at 100 kilometres per hour. Or six hours to walk.

Duschl has held the Guinness record for 22 years, and he has the chain measured every year by the Guinness surveyors on March 11. The most recent measurement last month puts it at a distance of 16.938 miles.

Duschl, who now lives in Virginia Beach, Va., said originally, students at WDHS were very encouraging. “Before I knew it, the whole school was saving me gum wrappers,” he said. “In fact, my caption in the Grade 9 yearbook was, ‘Got any gum wrappers?’”

The chain contains an amazing 2,142,857 wrappers – but only those from Wrigley’s gum.

“For years it was just the three – Spearmint, Doublemint and Juicy Fruit,” he explained.

That changed in 1998 when Duschl and his wife Deborah appeared on Rosie O’Donnell’s show.

“She told me that her favourite was Big Red and she thought that red would look good in the chain, so since that time I’ve added Big Red.”

While the chain took more than two million pieces, Duschl hasn’t chewed the more than five tons – or $150,000 worth – of gum required. “I’d have to put a stick of gum in my mouth every 15 minutes, day and night, for the last 51 years to have chewed it all,” he said.

Instead, he is often sent wrappers. “Actually, William Wrigley Jr. sent me a whole whack of wrappers to keep me going,” he said. “The Wrigley company has been very supportive.”

In fact, Duschl said he’s not a big gum guy anymore. “I used to be, I used to chew gum all the time, but not too much anymore.”

The 1,260-pound chain takes up 101 cubic feet and is stored in 15 specially-designed Plexiglas display cases in a room at Duschl’s home.

“I’ve converted it into a sort of a museum,” he said of the room. “I’ve got a bunch of Wrigley memorabilia – I’ve actually got a package of Juicy Fruit from 1895 and wrappers going back that far.”

The technique, which involves folding the wrappers several times and interlocking each link of the chain, started in the 1920s, Duschl explained. “It was called prison art,” he said. “The prisoners had a lot of free time on their hands and they had a lot of wrappers.

“They became very creative with these wrappers and that’s where the design and the folding method actually came from.”

In addition to the chain, Duschl has made a purse using Camel cigarette packages and a bra from Careless Sugarless Gum wrappers that was auctioned off for breast cancer.

Duschl and his wife – and the chain – moved from the Waterdown area to Virginia in 2002. But he noted the cases make the chain fairly easy to transport.

In 2010 he was invited by Jim Pattison Jr., the owner the Guinness Book of Records, to put on a presentation in New York City. “That was kind of fun,” he said.

Duschl noted his wife has encouraged him to continue to work on the chain over the years.

“It’s been part of our life for many years,” he said.

“I just don’t like to sit idle. I watch a lot of TV and sports and while I do that it’s like knitting. I sit down and keep adding on,” he continued. “Every day I set a new Guinness record.”

While there are challengers to Duschl’s throne, he noted the second-place chain builder passed away recently – not that the chain was close to Duschl’s in length. “He was all the way to 16,670 feet, so he was quite a bit behind me,” Duschl laughed. “In fact, if you take the next 10 chains, two to 10, and put them together, they probably wouldn’t be able to catch me.”

Duschl noted David Letterman asked him several times to be on his show, but the Waterdown native declined each time.

“If I go on that show he’d try to make a mockery of me,” he said. “I have a lot of fun doing this, but I’m not a blithering idiot.”

Duschl noted his eventual goal is to see the chain reach the length of a marathon – 26.2 miles. “I’m just about nine miles short of that,” he said.

While the 65-year-old Duschl estimates he’s spent more than 34,000 hours on the chain, he noted he’s been spending a lot more time on the chain since he retired in 2009.

His hobby has led to several interesting experiences over the years, but Duschl said being on national television in front of millions of people was probably the most exciting.

Duschl added his chain has been named one of the top records and Guinness Book of Records editor Craig Glenday has said it’s one of his favourite records.

And he might have another record soon.

He’s asked Guinness about setting up a category for the longest single piece of origami.

“It’s over 25 million folds,” he said of the chain.

Waterdown native continues to hold world record for gum wrapper chain

Gary Duschl started lifelong project in 1965 while a student at WDHS

News Apr 07, 2016 by Mac Christie Flamborough Review

It all started March 11, 1965.

That’s when Gary Duschl, then a Grade 9 student at Waterdown District High School, started his world-record length gum wrapper chain.

“Some of the kids were making a chain and I said, ‘That looks kind of neat,’” he recalled. “They showed me how to do it and I got started.

“I wanted to make it the longest in the class – that didn’t take too long – then the longest in the school and before long, the longest in the world.”

Today, 51 years later, the Guinness World Record-length chain measures and astounding 89,431 feet. That’s as long as 298 football fields. Or the height of 61 Empire State Buildings.

It would take 17 minutes to drive the length of the chain at 100 kilometres per hour. Or six hours to walk.

Duschl has held the Guinness record for 22 years, and he has the chain measured every year by the Guinness surveyors on March 11. The most recent measurement last month puts it at a distance of 16.938 miles.

Duschl, who now lives in Virginia Beach, Va., said originally, students at WDHS were very encouraging. “Before I knew it, the whole school was saving me gum wrappers,” he said. “In fact, my caption in the Grade 9 yearbook was, ‘Got any gum wrappers?’”

The chain contains an amazing 2,142,857 wrappers – but only those from Wrigley’s gum.

“For years it was just the three – Spearmint, Doublemint and Juicy Fruit,” he explained.

That changed in 1998 when Duschl and his wife Deborah appeared on Rosie O’Donnell’s show.

“She told me that her favourite was Big Red and she thought that red would look good in the chain, so since that time I’ve added Big Red.”

While the chain took more than two million pieces, Duschl hasn’t chewed the more than five tons – or $150,000 worth – of gum required. “I’d have to put a stick of gum in my mouth every 15 minutes, day and night, for the last 51 years to have chewed it all,” he said.

Instead, he is often sent wrappers. “Actually, William Wrigley Jr. sent me a whole whack of wrappers to keep me going,” he said. “The Wrigley company has been very supportive.”

In fact, Duschl said he’s not a big gum guy anymore. “I used to be, I used to chew gum all the time, but not too much anymore.”

The 1,260-pound chain takes up 101 cubic feet and is stored in 15 specially-designed Plexiglas display cases in a room at Duschl’s home.

“I’ve converted it into a sort of a museum,” he said of the room. “I’ve got a bunch of Wrigley memorabilia – I’ve actually got a package of Juicy Fruit from 1895 and wrappers going back that far.”

The technique, which involves folding the wrappers several times and interlocking each link of the chain, started in the 1920s, Duschl explained. “It was called prison art,” he said. “The prisoners had a lot of free time on their hands and they had a lot of wrappers.

“They became very creative with these wrappers and that’s where the design and the folding method actually came from.”

In addition to the chain, Duschl has made a purse using Camel cigarette packages and a bra from Careless Sugarless Gum wrappers that was auctioned off for breast cancer.

Duschl and his wife – and the chain – moved from the Waterdown area to Virginia in 2002. But he noted the cases make the chain fairly easy to transport.

In 2010 he was invited by Jim Pattison Jr., the owner the Guinness Book of Records, to put on a presentation in New York City. “That was kind of fun,” he said.

Duschl noted his wife has encouraged him to continue to work on the chain over the years.

“It’s been part of our life for many years,” he said.

“I just don’t like to sit idle. I watch a lot of TV and sports and while I do that it’s like knitting. I sit down and keep adding on,” he continued. “Every day I set a new Guinness record.”

While there are challengers to Duschl’s throne, he noted the second-place chain builder passed away recently – not that the chain was close to Duschl’s in length. “He was all the way to 16,670 feet, so he was quite a bit behind me,” Duschl laughed. “In fact, if you take the next 10 chains, two to 10, and put them together, they probably wouldn’t be able to catch me.”

Duschl noted David Letterman asked him several times to be on his show, but the Waterdown native declined each time.

“If I go on that show he’d try to make a mockery of me,” he said. “I have a lot of fun doing this, but I’m not a blithering idiot.”

Duschl noted his eventual goal is to see the chain reach the length of a marathon – 26.2 miles. “I’m just about nine miles short of that,” he said.

While the 65-year-old Duschl estimates he’s spent more than 34,000 hours on the chain, he noted he’s been spending a lot more time on the chain since he retired in 2009.

His hobby has led to several interesting experiences over the years, but Duschl said being on national television in front of millions of people was probably the most exciting.

Duschl added his chain has been named one of the top records and Guinness Book of Records editor Craig Glenday has said it’s one of his favourite records.

And he might have another record soon.

He’s asked Guinness about setting up a category for the longest single piece of origami.

“It’s over 25 million folds,” he said of the chain.

Waterdown native continues to hold world record for gum wrapper chain

Gary Duschl started lifelong project in 1965 while a student at WDHS

News Apr 07, 2016 by Mac Christie Flamborough Review

It all started March 11, 1965.

That’s when Gary Duschl, then a Grade 9 student at Waterdown District High School, started his world-record length gum wrapper chain.

“Some of the kids were making a chain and I said, ‘That looks kind of neat,’” he recalled. “They showed me how to do it and I got started.

“I wanted to make it the longest in the class – that didn’t take too long – then the longest in the school and before long, the longest in the world.”

Today, 51 years later, the Guinness World Record-length chain measures and astounding 89,431 feet. That’s as long as 298 football fields. Or the height of 61 Empire State Buildings.

It would take 17 minutes to drive the length of the chain at 100 kilometres per hour. Or six hours to walk.

Duschl has held the Guinness record for 22 years, and he has the chain measured every year by the Guinness surveyors on March 11. The most recent measurement last month puts it at a distance of 16.938 miles.

Duschl, who now lives in Virginia Beach, Va., said originally, students at WDHS were very encouraging. “Before I knew it, the whole school was saving me gum wrappers,” he said. “In fact, my caption in the Grade 9 yearbook was, ‘Got any gum wrappers?’”

The chain contains an amazing 2,142,857 wrappers – but only those from Wrigley’s gum.

“For years it was just the three – Spearmint, Doublemint and Juicy Fruit,” he explained.

That changed in 1998 when Duschl and his wife Deborah appeared on Rosie O’Donnell’s show.

“She told me that her favourite was Big Red and she thought that red would look good in the chain, so since that time I’ve added Big Red.”

While the chain took more than two million pieces, Duschl hasn’t chewed the more than five tons – or $150,000 worth – of gum required. “I’d have to put a stick of gum in my mouth every 15 minutes, day and night, for the last 51 years to have chewed it all,” he said.

Instead, he is often sent wrappers. “Actually, William Wrigley Jr. sent me a whole whack of wrappers to keep me going,” he said. “The Wrigley company has been very supportive.”

In fact, Duschl said he’s not a big gum guy anymore. “I used to be, I used to chew gum all the time, but not too much anymore.”

The 1,260-pound chain takes up 101 cubic feet and is stored in 15 specially-designed Plexiglas display cases in a room at Duschl’s home.

“I’ve converted it into a sort of a museum,” he said of the room. “I’ve got a bunch of Wrigley memorabilia – I’ve actually got a package of Juicy Fruit from 1895 and wrappers going back that far.”

The technique, which involves folding the wrappers several times and interlocking each link of the chain, started in the 1920s, Duschl explained. “It was called prison art,” he said. “The prisoners had a lot of free time on their hands and they had a lot of wrappers.

“They became very creative with these wrappers and that’s where the design and the folding method actually came from.”

In addition to the chain, Duschl has made a purse using Camel cigarette packages and a bra from Careless Sugarless Gum wrappers that was auctioned off for breast cancer.

Duschl and his wife – and the chain – moved from the Waterdown area to Virginia in 2002. But he noted the cases make the chain fairly easy to transport.

In 2010 he was invited by Jim Pattison Jr., the owner the Guinness Book of Records, to put on a presentation in New York City. “That was kind of fun,” he said.

Duschl noted his wife has encouraged him to continue to work on the chain over the years.

“It’s been part of our life for many years,” he said.

“I just don’t like to sit idle. I watch a lot of TV and sports and while I do that it’s like knitting. I sit down and keep adding on,” he continued. “Every day I set a new Guinness record.”

While there are challengers to Duschl’s throne, he noted the second-place chain builder passed away recently – not that the chain was close to Duschl’s in length. “He was all the way to 16,670 feet, so he was quite a bit behind me,” Duschl laughed. “In fact, if you take the next 10 chains, two to 10, and put them together, they probably wouldn’t be able to catch me.”

Duschl noted David Letterman asked him several times to be on his show, but the Waterdown native declined each time.

“If I go on that show he’d try to make a mockery of me,” he said. “I have a lot of fun doing this, but I’m not a blithering idiot.”

Duschl noted his eventual goal is to see the chain reach the length of a marathon – 26.2 miles. “I’m just about nine miles short of that,” he said.

While the 65-year-old Duschl estimates he’s spent more than 34,000 hours on the chain, he noted he’s been spending a lot more time on the chain since he retired in 2009.

His hobby has led to several interesting experiences over the years, but Duschl said being on national television in front of millions of people was probably the most exciting.

Duschl added his chain has been named one of the top records and Guinness Book of Records editor Craig Glenday has said it’s one of his favourite records.

And he might have another record soon.

He’s asked Guinness about setting up a category for the longest single piece of origami.

“It’s over 25 million folds,” he said of the chain.