December 21 Chester Greenwood Day
January 24, 2012 by staff
December 21 Chester Greenwood Day, Chester Greenwood (1858-1937) of Farmington, Maine invented the earmuff in 1873, at the age of 15. He reportedly came up with the idea while ice skating, and had his grandmother sew tufts of fur between loops of wire. His patent was for improved ear protectors. He manufactured these ear protectors, providing jobs for people in the Farmington area, for nearly 60 years.
Chester also patented a tea kettle, a steel tooth rake, an advertising matchbox, and a machine used in producing wooden spools for wire and thread. He invented, but did not patent an umbrella holder for mail carriers. He no doubt invented many other items, but only patented the above mentioned items.
In addition to being an inventor, Greenwood was the owner of a bicycle business, a business involving an improved heating system and was involved in the introduction of one of the first telephone systems in Farmington.
In 1977 the State of Maine declared December 21 to be Chester Greenwood Day. Farmington continues to celebrate “Chester Greenwood Day” with a parade on the first Saturday of December.
In addition to his inventions, he was an accomplished machinist, an active member of the community, a business developer, a member of the Unitarian Church and a family man. His wife Isabel was a staunch supporter of Women’s Suffrage. He and Isabel were parents of four children.
The Chester Greenwood House in Farmington is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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