Celebrating 137 years of toasty ears - Tucson News Now

Celebrating 137 years of toasty ears

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The patent filed by Chester Greenwood for earmuffs in 1877. (Source: U.S. Patent Office) The patent filed by Chester Greenwood for earmuffs in 1877. (Source: U.S. Patent Office)

(RNN) - Happy 137 birthday, earmuffs. Many people used you this frigid winter through polar vortexes and many snow storms.

On March 13, 1877, Chester Greenwood of Farmington, ME, patented the earmuff at the age of 18. However, the young inventor was 15 when he came up with the idea.

Tired of cold ears while ice skating, Greenwood asked his grandmother to sew together beaver fur between loops of wire, thus inventing his "ear protectors."

In his 20s, he started a factory in his hometown, producing 50,000 pairs of Greenwood Champion Ear Protectors, and employing dozens of women because he believed women were best suited for the sewing. In 1936, the company produced 400,000 earmuffs.

Earmuffs were not Greenwood's only patent; he created a mechanical mousetrap, shock absorbers, a whistling tea kettle and more.

In 1977, the state legislature proclaimed that the Dec. 21 of each year to be Chester Greenwood Day.

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