EarmuffsChester Greenwood was fifteen years old and lived in Farmington, Maine. Now in winter Maine gets mighty cold and Chester had big ears. The cold made them turn white, then  red, then blue.

One day in 1873, Chester was skating on Abbott’s pond near his grandmother’s house. His ears became so cold that they hurt. Chester headed straight for Grandma’s. Upon his arrival, he found some wire, twisted it and had Grandma sew some insulating material on it. He then asked her to sew black velvet on the inside of the ear piece and some beaver fur on the outside. Grandma obliged.

When Chester returned to the pond, his friends laughed at him. However, long after they had gone home, Chester continued to skate on the pond and his ears were perfectly warm. Chester called his invention, The Greenwood Champion Ear Protector. Soon, all of his friends wanted a pair.

In 1877, Chester was granted a patent for his invention. It was issued on March 13, 1877; patent number 188,292. Today Chester’s invention is known as earmuffs and hundreds of pairs are purchased each year.

by Mary M. Alward