Greenwood - Earmuffs
Chester Greenwood was born in Farmington,
Maine in 1858. A grammar school dropout, he invented earmuffs at the age
of 15 (1873). While testing a new pair of ice skates, he grew frustrated
at trying to protect his ears from the bitter cold. After wrapping his
head in a scarf, which was too bulky and itchy, he made two ear-shaped
loops from wire and asked his grandmother to sew fur on them. He patented
an improved model with a steel band which held them in place and with Greenwood’s
Champion Ear Protectors, he established Greenwood’s Ear Protector Factory.
He made a fortune supplying Ear Protectors to U.S. soldiers during World
War I. He went on to patent more many other inventions. In 1977, Maine’s
legislature declared December 21 "Chester Greenwood Day" to honor a native
son and his contribution to cold weather protection.
Farmington Maine is now the Earmuff
Capital of the World. There is a parade that celebrates Chester's birthday
the first Saturday in December, with local police cruisers in the parade
decorated as giant earmuffs.
Another of Chester's inventions
was the steel-tooth rake - U.S. patent #2066036, issued on December 29,
1936. Chester Greenwood accumulated over 100 patents in his lifetime and
the Smithsonian Institution has named him one of America's 15 outstanding
image provided by David A. Greenwood
(yes a direct descendent)
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