Earmuffs for everyone

Celebrations
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  November 28, 2007
INSIDEtji_greenwood_113007

The story goes that 15-year-old Chester Greenwood was ice-skating when his ears got unbearably cold. One account has his ears turning “from red to blue to white” in the frigid temperatures of his hometown of Farmington, another version says that in fact, his ears would go from blue to red to white. In any event, the dude had some cold ears.

Wrapping a bulky scarf ’round his head didn’t do the trick, so he asked his grandma to sew some fur onto wire coils that covered his ears — and thus, in 1873, earmuffs were born; Greenwood subsequently applied for and received a US patent for his cozy invention.

The Greenwood Champion Ear Protector — as the muff was originally called — became a hot commodity, first in Farmington and then throughout a wider community. Eventually, Greenwood had a booming factory that produced more than 400,000 earmuffs a day, according to a Maine.gov Web page on famous people from Maine. He is one of the Smithsonian Institution’s 15 outstanding American inventors.

Each year, Farmington honors its inventive son (who also came up with the wide-bottom tea kettle, the steel-tooth rake, and a version of the mechanical mousetrap) with a parade, award ceremony, and other festivities. This year’s celebration will take place on December 1 (a full 20 days before the officially sanctioned Maine holiday of Chester Greenwood Day, which falls on December 21). There is no entry fee or registration required for those who want to join the parade either dressed in or dressed as earmuffs. For the first time ever, there will be a Gingerbread House contest in addition to the annual Chili Contest. At 3 pm the brave souls who comprise the Polar Bear Club will take a dip in Farmington’s Clearwater Lake.

Certainly, after that freezing adventure, they’ll want to warm up with some ear protectors — and what better place to find some than in Farmington, the Earmuff Capital of the World.

Chester Greenwood Day begins at 9 am on December 1; visitwww.franklincountymaine.org/calendar for more details.

Related: Scared green, No place like home, T-easing pollution, More more >
  Topics: This Just In , Smithsonian Institution
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY DEIRDRE FULTON
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE  |  July 24, 2014
    When three theater companies, all within a one-hour drive of Portland, choose to present the same Shakespeare play on overlapping dates, you have to wonder what about that particular show resonates with this particular moment.
  •   NUMBER CRUNCHERS  |  July 23, 2014
    Maybe instead of devoting still-more resources to food reviews, Maine’s leading news organizations should spend money on keeping better tabs on Augusta.
  •   BLUESTOCKING FILM SERIES SHOWCASES WOMEN'S STORIES  |  July 16, 2014
    Among last year’s 100 top-grossing films, women represented just 15 percent of protagonists, and less than one-third of total characters.
  •   CHECKING IN: THE NEW GUARD AND THE WRITER'S HOTEL  |  July 11, 2014
    Former Mainer Shanna McNair started The New Guard, an independent, multi-genre literary review, in order to exalt the writer, no matter if that writer was well-established or just starting out.
  •   NO TAR SANDS  |  July 10, 2014
    “People’s feelings are clear...they don’t want to be known as the tar sands capitol of the United States."

 See all articles by: DEIRDRE FULTON