Guinness Book of Records 1955
The cover of the first ever Guinness Book of Records in 1955.Guinness World Records

It is 60 years since the first Guinness Book of Records was published back in 1955. Since then, it has been the definitive source of world records and the settler of many boozy disputes. It is still updated yearly with broken records and entirely new ones, from the brilliant to the bonkers.

The book's genesis formed in the mind of Sir Hugh Beaver, chairman of the Guinness Brewery, in 1951. While hunting game birds, he missed a shot at a golden plover. Pondering, he wondered if it was Europe's fastest bird -- but no reference book had the answer. Fast forward to 1954 and, with the help of sports journalists, Sir Hugh was compiling facts and figures in preparation for the first edition of the Guinness Book of Records.

Now called Guinness World Records, the annual is still a popular reference point for pub quizzes the world over -- as well as a nifty bit of marketing for a certain brand of Irish stout. To mark the 60th anniversary of the first book, here are six of the original records still standing today.

Tallest person

He's pretty tall. At 8ft 11.1in tall (2.72m), American man Robert Pershing Wadlow is the tallest person recorded. His height was confirmed by doctors in 1940. Sadly, he died aged just 22 in 1940 from a blood infection caused by a sore on his ankle.

Best-selling single

Bing Crosby's White Christmas was written by Irving Berlin for his 1942 festive film Holiday Inn, in which Crosby also starred alongside Fred Astaire. White Christmas is still popular to this day and has sold over 50 million copies.

Highest grossing movie

It caused a scandal on its release for the infamous (and, to modern ears, tame) line: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." But that didn't stop the 1939 film Gone with the Wind from becoming the highest grossing film of all time. In its day it took $393.4m -- and when you adjust it for inflation over the years, that comes out at a whopping $3.44bn.

Richest person

The wealth of American businessman John D. Rockefeller at its peak in 1913 is estimated to have been $900m. In today's money, that's $189.6bn. To put it in context, the world's richest man in 2015 is Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, whose wealth totals $79.2bn -- less than half that of Rockefeller, who died aged 97 in 1937.

Largest office building

You might have expected one of the gargantuan towers of Dubai to have taken this record, but it remains The Pentagon in the US. According to Guinness World Records:

"The Pentagon, built to house the US government's war offices in Washington DC, remains the world's largest office building; in 1955, it was listed in the first edition as housing 28,500 people, and by 2008, it accommodated 31,000 military, non-military and civilian employees. Each of the outermost sides is 281 m (921 ft) long – at its widest point, the Pentagon is as wide as the Empire State Building is tall – and the perimeter of the building is about 1,405 m (4,610 ft). The floor area equates to 604,000 m² (6.5 million sq ft)."

Largest diamond

It will be a lucky person who finds the diamond to replace this record. The largest ever diamond, uncut, is the Cullinan. It was dug out of the Premier Diamond Mine in South Africa back in 1905, coming in at 3,106.75 carats. It was cut down into nine stones, the largest of which is called the Great Star of Africa and sits in The Royal Sceptre alongside the other Crown Jewels of the British Monarchy, housed in the Tower of London.