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Students Aim For Earmuff Record

December 21, 1987

FARMINGTON, Maine (AP) _ Residents of this western Maine town turned out Monday to pay tribute to the local boy who invented the earmuff a century ago because his ears got cold.

It was Chester Greenwood Day, which the Legislature designated 11 years ago to coincide with the onset of winter.

Greenwood was 15 when he got the idea for earmuffs, one of more than 100 inventions he patented, after getting his ears nipped while trying out a new pair of ice skates. He fashioned the first earmuffs from a wire loop to fit over his head and had his grandmother sew bits of fur onto the ends.

Later, he manufactured the headgear at the now-defunct Greenwood Ear Protector Factory in Farmington. He died in 1937 at age 78.

Students from the University of Maine at Farmington joined Monday’s observance, hoping to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records by inviting people to gather in front of the Franklin County Courthouse wearing earmuffs.

The goal was to assemble the largest number of people wearing the same item of clothing, said Town Manager Dana Bradley, who helped organize the festivities.

″We passed out 240 pairs of earmuffs this morning,″ said Stephen Spofford, president of the Campus Residents Council, a student group which bought the earmuffs.

Spofford said he assumed the wear-in would make the Guinness book because no similar feat is currently listed. For verification, he said the students would send in a photograph of the gathering and a newspaper clipping about it.

A special flag, featuring Greenwood’s name and an earmuffed silhouette, was raised at the courthouse after a parade, but the events were less extravagant than in 1986, said Nancy LaPlante, Bradley’s executive secretary.

″Last year was the 10th anniversary and we really went all out,″ she said. ″It lasted from 11 in the morning and ended at 6 that evening. This year, they kind of scaled it down.″

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