Who invented earmuffs? In this December 2015 photo, Ronald Greenwood a great-grandson of earmuff inventor Chester Greenwood, models a pair of original ear protectors in his barn in Farmington, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Who invented earmuffs?
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Earmuffs have come a long way in 142 years.
 
Chester Greenwood was a 15-year-old bestowed with generous ears when he decided he had had enough of the biting cold while ice skating in 1873. The first earmuffs were then born, fashioned from farm wire with fur sewn on them by his grandmother.
 
Greenwood made improvements with a steel band and adjustable hinges. He sold hundreds of thousands of "Champion Ear Protectors."
 
These days, similar versions are still sold. Others wrap around the back of the neck, eliminating mussed hair. There are versions with fleece, fur and down. Some have built-in ear buds for music.
 
It's worth celebrating. So Greenwood's hometown of Farmington, Maine, is doing just that, as it has for nearly 40 years. They hold a parade in which residents proudly wear earmuffs.
 
"It's unique. How many other little towns can celebrate earmuffs? Seriously," said Nancy Porter, author of the self-published "Chester: More Than Earmuffs."
 
While Greenwood is forever linked to his signature invention, he also created other things. By some accounts, he came up with more than 100 contraptions. But, he received patents for only five. In addition to his ear protectors, he patented a rake, an advertising matchbox and a tea kettle. He also created a device designed to drill holes in the ends of wooden spools, Porter said.
 
"He was of the Yankee ingenuity breed," Porter said.
 
He also was a businessman. He ran a bicycle shop, built a plumbing and heating business and created a local telephone company. His earmuff factory closed a few years after his death in 1937.
 
The legacy of the dapper-dressed inventor faded over the years. It was renewed when the Maine Legislature declared Chester Greenwood Day on the first day of winter in 1977.
 
Fittingly, the first parade was held in a snowstorm. A snowplow led the parade to clear a path and students from the University of Maine at Farmington participated on skis.
 
"It was snowing and people were on the street just the same, both sides. The parade turned out pretty good," said 75-year-old Ronald Greenwood, Chester Greenwood's great-grandson.
 
These days, the event is held on the first Saturday in December.
 
All parade participants incorporate earmuffs in their floats. Afterward, an earmuff flag is raised at the courthouse. There's also a polar dip on Clearwater Lake and the town Christmas tree is lighted.
 
In years past, there was a fake lockup. Youngsters caught without earmuffs would be jailed, Ronald Greenwood said, but organizers aren't going that far during this year's festivities.
 
Afterward, many folks will put their earmuffs into storage.
 
Ronald Greenwood is a locksmith and building contractor. He said earmuffs don't work so well for him.
 
And Porter said she had a fleece hat with ear flaps that she prefers. "I have an original pair of Chesters," Porter said. "I wear them on Chester Greenwood Day."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What necessity was the mother of this invention?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (88)
  • samanthas-1-ste
    12/14/2015 - 02:56 p.m.

    This invention was made to keep your ears warm when it was cold outside and kept the cold away. This invention has widely spread to the households of millions of people.

  • brandonm-2-bar
    12/14/2015 - 07:40 p.m.

    Ear muffs were invented to prevent your ears from becoming cold as shown in paragraph 2. I was really surprised that ear muffs are 142 years old. In other classes we learn about ancient cultures that have lived in the snow for centuries. I assumed that they used ear muffs, but now I know that they didn't use them, as the invention of ear muffs is more modern.

  • richardp-wes
    12/15/2015 - 09:13 a.m.

    The necessity is to keep your ears warm

  • rashiyad-wes
    12/15/2015 - 09:18 a.m.

    I think it's interesting becuase ear muff was around 142 years.And ears muff was made with farm wire.Also the use to celebrate for ear muff.

  • richardp-wes
    12/15/2015 - 09:21 a.m.

    The necessity of the mother of the invention of ear muffs is to keep your ears warm.

  • emiliec-haw
    12/15/2015 - 11:29 a.m.

    She sewed lots of parts of the ear muffs.

  • masonk1-hor
    12/15/2015 - 11:41 a.m.

    I think it is very cool and interesting how they were made back then, How he soled thousands of them that was a good thing to make we still ware them to.

  • julianw-wes
    12/15/2015 - 02:39 p.m.

    The necessity for this invention was for people's ears not to get cold when outside when it is winter.That is why Ronald Greenwood invented earmuffs.

  • deasiam1-wes
    12/15/2015 - 02:39 p.m.

    They necessity of the mother of this invention was to keep your ears warm on cold days.
    I never thought of looking up who invented earmuffs but now that I read this article I want to know more about it.

  • destyneet-wes
    12/15/2015 - 02:43 p.m.

    He perpose of making the ear muffs so he wouldn't have cold ears.

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