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Thursday, April 7, 2005; Page C13

Dang-Gum-It, That's One Long Chain!

• Gary Duschl started making a chain out of gum wrappers when he was in high school. That was 40 years ago. The chain is now 8.72 miles long -- the length of more than 125 football fields!

Not that Duschl ever stretches it out that far. He keeps it in eight containers that look like fish tanks but allow the chain to stay connected. His wife doesn't complain, he says, "as long as I keep it to one room" in their Virginia Beach home.

One to chew on: Gary Duschl has eight miles of gum wrappers. (Mark Mitchell -- Virginian-pilot)

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Duschl, 54, started the chain with 20 spearmint wrappers in 1965. (He uses only Wrigley's gum.) All the kids at his school were doing it. The difference is, they eventually stopped. He didn't.

Since then, he has folded more than 2 million links, using more than 1 million wrappers. "I can do it in my sleep," he said, estimating he has spent 16,000 hours on the chain. He adds about three feet each night. Every 50th wrapper is numbered, and every five feet he makes a measuring mark.

In 1995 the chain made it into the Guinness World Records book. "I'll do it until my fingers don't move anymore," Duschl said.

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