Chester Greenwood Day, also known as Earmuff Day, falls on the first Saturday of December each year. This year, it’s on December 4. Yes, there’s a day for that! Every year, the town of Farmington in Maine celebrates its famous resident. Greenwood first designed the earmuff when he was 15. He came up with the idea so his ears wouldn’t catch frostbite while ice skating. With a little help from his grandmother, the first earmuffs were born — tufts of fur sewn between loops of wire! The rest is history.
History of Chester Greenwood (Earmuff) Day
Chester Greenwood grew up in the town of Farmington in Maine. We know Maine gets cold in the winter, but the average temperatures were significantly harsher during the 19th and 20th centuries. The local ponds would regularly freeze up. Like every other teen, Greenwood looked forward to winter days and ice skating with friends and family. Although he loved the sport, Greenwood couldn’t stay out on the ice for too long because he found that his ears were more prone to frostbite than others. At the time, most people wore wool caps with ear coverings that worked to protect the ears, but they didn’t work for Greenwood since he was allergic to the wool caps.
But frostbite and allergies wouldn’t stop him. He decided to solve this dilemma and roped his grandmother in on the plan. Greenwood asked her to sew flannel pads onto the ends of a wire ring that could go around his head. And that’s how the first version of the earmuffs was born! These little ear protectors became a rage with his friends, who recognized the sheer brilliance in their simplicity. Soon, everyone in town was wearing them.
Greenwood improved the original design by replacing the wire with bands. He introduced velvet pads instead of flannel. The new design also came with a hinge that allowed more pressure against the ear. Much later, Greenwood set up a small factory in Maine to produce ear muffs. The factory provided jobs and steady incomes to people for over 60 years – especially when it began supplying earmuffs to overseas troops during World War I. Despite having machines for manufacturing, Greenwood still employed women to hand-stitch velvet pads to the bands at home. It was a way of thanking his grandmother, who brought the first earmuffs to life in the same way.
Chester Greenwood (Earmuff) Day timeline
Chester Greenwood receives a patent for earmuffs at the age of 19.
Greenwood starts a factory, employing 11 workers and producing 50,000 earmuffs.
The factory employs more people and produces 400,000 earmuffs annually.
Farmington declares the first Saturday of December each year as Chester Greenwood Day.
Chester Greenwood (Earmuff) Day FAQs
What is the earmuff capital of the world?
The town of Farmington in Maine is the earmuff capital of the world. Chester Greenwood, a Farmington resident, invented the first earmuffs.
What else did Chester Greenwood invent?
Greenwood acquired over 100 patents in his lifetime. He invented the steel-tooth rake, a folding bed, a wide-bottom kettle, and a shock absorber design for airplane landing gear used to the present day.
Who invented ear warmers?
In 1877, Chester Greenwood patented the earmuffs intended to be an “improvement in ear mufflers.” Chester came up with the idea at 15 when his ears got too chilly while ice skating, and he received the patent for his invention when he was 19 years old.
Chester Greenwood (Earmuff) Day Activities
Visit Farmington, Maine
Spend the day in Greenwood’s hometown for the annual Chester Greenwood Day. Expect a day of craft fairs, open houses, games, and concerts. Don’t miss the parade, which is the highlight!
Go ice skating
If you can’t be in Maine, enjoy the cold weather where you live and go ice skating. Don’t forget those earmuffs!
Snuggle in for a day of crafting if you’re not the outdoorsy kind. Look up online tutorials and learn how to knit stylish earmuffs. From crochet earmuffs to ear warmer headbands or the French Knit, the possibilities are endless.
5 Facts About Maine That Will Blow Your Mind
Home of the donut hole
When Maine’s Captain Hansen Gregory first punched a hole in hot dough, he found a solution to annoyingly raw donut centers.
Maine supplies 90% of the country’s lobster.
Maine also accounts for 99% of blueberries produced in the U.S.
Maine is the only state name in the country with a single syllable
The sun rises in Maine first
Maine is the first state to witness the sunrise in America.
Why We Love Chester Greenwood (Earmuff) Day
It’s a beautiful story
Chester Greenwood’s story is a heart-warming narrative of small ideas that go on to become larger than life. It chronicles Greenwood’s and an entire community’s success over the years. Reading about it makes us feel all warm and happy – much like his earmuffs warm our ears.
A reason to venture outdoors
Earmuff Day equals ice skating! Anything that gets us outside in the winter needs appreciation.
The parade in Farmington has home-style floats, games, and a ton of events. Everyone, and we mean everyone, wears earmuffs!
Chester Greenwood (Earmuff) Day dates