Sir Hugh Beaver, Chairman of the Guinness Brewery, is out hunting game birds by the River Slaney in County Wexford, Ireland, when he misses a shot at a golden plover. Sir Hugh wonders if the plover is the fastest game bird in Europe but can't find a reference book that answers the question.
Key RecordLEO I (Lyons Electronic Office), the first business computer, begins operations in November 1951 at the Lyons headquarters, London, UK.
Sir Hugh Beaver invites Norris and Ross McWhirter, sports journalists who provided facts and figures to the newspapers of Fleet Street in London, UK, to compile what was then known as the Guinness Book of Records.
Key RecordScientist John Lilly (USA) designs – and is the first to have a dip in – the first sensory deprivation tank.
The first edition of The Guinness Book of Records is bound and released in the UK. It became a Christmas best-seller that year.
First US edition of the Guinness Book of Records is published.
First French edition is published.
Key RecordMarlon Brando (USA) becomes the first actor to break the $1 million threshold for a movie role with $1.25 million (£400,500) for Mutiny on the Bounty – $4.184 million (£6.07 million) in today’s figures.
First German edition is published.
First editions in Japanese, Spanish, Danish and Norwegian are published.
Key RecordOn 27 June 1967, the first cash dispenser is installed at Barclays Bank, Enfield, Middlesex, UK.
First editions in Swedish, Finnish and Italian are published.
First Dutch edition is published
Key RecordRay Tomlinson of MIT (USA) sends the first ever email, which reads QWERTYUIOP.
First Czech edition is published.
First editions in Hebrew, Serbo-Croat and Icelandic are published.
Key RecordCaptain Walter H Mullikin (USA) makes the fastest aerial circumnavigation of the Earth via both Poles by plane in 54 hr 7 min 12 sec (including refuelling stops) between 28 and 31 October 1977.
First Slovenian edition is published.
Guinness World Records opens office in New York, U.S.
Key RecordAlexander Wurz (Austria, b. 15 February 1974) becomes the youngest winner of the Le Mans 24-hour race on 16 June 1996, aged 22 years 123 days.
The Guinness World Records 2000 book is printed in a single run of 2,402,000 copies, the largest single print run of a case-bound book in colour.
Key RecordEasyEverything launches on 28 November 2000 in Times Square, New York, USA, with 760 computer terminals, making it the largest internet café.
100,000,000th copy of the Guinness World Records book is sold!
First annual Guinness World Records Day takes place.
Key RecordEnthusiastic record-breaker Alastair Galpin (New Zealand) celebrates GWR Day with the most socks worn on one foot, with 70 at Prime Television, Auckland, New Zealand.
The world’s most authoritative videogames guide, the Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition launches.
Guinness World Records opens office in Tokyo, Japan.
Key RecordOn 12 June, Junrey Balawing (Philippines) becomes the shortest living man, measuring 59.93 cm (23.5 in).
Guinness World Records opens office in Beijing, China.
Key RecordOn 26 February, Chandra Bahadur Dangi (Nepal) – at 54.6 cm (21.5 in) – becomes not only the shortest living man, but also the shortest man ever measured.
Thanks to Martyn Tovey of the Guinness Book of Records Collectors website, for providing some of the cover packshots above.