Pat Shingleton: "Chester Greenwood and Ear Muffs"
Many of you may be donning hoods and ear muffs today. Appropriately we'll repeat a story about Chester Greenwood. He was cursed with ears that throbbed and ached anytime he was cold. His ears would change color when the temperature dipped below freezing, first turning pale white, then vivid red and finally blue. Chester had no trouble doing chores when the weather was above freezing, but once the mercury dropped, he dropped inside to get next to the fire. Chester would wear a heavy towel around his head to protect his ears and when ice skating he tied a scarf around his head, resulting in an unbearable itch. Allergic to wool, his ears either ached or were itchy. Every year, Farmington, Maine honors their favorite son. His doctor determined that his ears were allergic to wool and very sensitive to cold weather. With some assistance from his grandmother, Chester solved the problem by looping two pieces of wire with fur sewn to the ends. According to the United States Patent Office, he patented a device that included a steel band that secured the fur pads, and called it Greenwood's Champion Ear Protectors. He later formed the Greenwood Ear Protector Factory. For 159 years they’ve been known as "ear muffs" and Chester's hometown of Farmington is recognized as the Earmuff Capital of the World. The first Saturday in December celebrates his birthday, including an Ear Muff Parade.