Inventor Spotlight: Chester Greenwood

C4IP is recognizing a renowned American inventor who provided cold-weather protection — and altered the course of his hometown — with his patented invention: earmuffs.

Chester Greenwood, American inventor and founder of Greenwood’s Ear Protector Factory. Born in Maine, with an affinity for ice skating outdoors, Greenwood was no stranger to winter-weather discomforts — including sore ears. Seeking a solution, he sewed pads of beaver fur onto a wire frame with ear-shaped loops — inventing modern-day earmuffs as a mere teenager. After patenting his invention in 1877, he then founded Greenwood’s Ear Protector Factory in his hometown of Farmington — which would become known as the “Earmuff Capital of the World.” By Greenwood’s death in 1937, his factory had supplied earmuffs to troops during World War I, provided steady local jobs for nearly 60 years, and produced over 400,000 pairs annually.