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Shannon Bryan

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Posted: March 13, 2015

Happy earmuff-iversary! Maine’s Chester Greenwood patented “Ear-Mufflers” 138 years ago today

Written by: Shannon Bryan
Chester Greenwood, sporting his fantastical invention: the ear muffler.

Chester Greenwood, sporting his fantastical invention: the Ear-Muffler.

It’s hard to believe there was little recourse for a frigid ear back in the mid-1800s. Luckily a young man from Farmington came up with a genius idea: Ear-Mufflers (or earmuffs, as we call them today). Chester was only 15 when he came up with the idea, and the first pair of earmuffs were purportedly made by his grandmother out of beaver fur and wire.

Ears around the world were grateful for the invention, and Chester’s hometown of Farmington continues to celebrate him annually on Chester Greenwood Day. His invention was officially patented on March 13, 1877, when Chester was 19.

That makes today the 138th anniversary of the earmuff. And with all the blowing snow and all those frigid gusts of wind we’ve had this winter, it’s certainly an invention we can appreciate.

Ears to you, Chester. And happy earmuff-iversary.

The patent:

Chester Greenwood’s official “Improved Ear-Mufflers” patent from 1877. He actually came up with the invention a few years earlier, at the age of 15. Patent documents via

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