Chester Greenwood of Farmington, Maine patented his earmuffs in 1877. He loved to skate on frozen ponds, but he was allergic to the wool caps with ear flaps that most people used to stay warm. So at age 15, he asked his grandmother to sew either pads of beaver fur or flannel (there is some debate over which) onto a wire headband with two hoops at the ends, creating earmuffs. As his creation caught on, he made further improvements and eventually built a factory that kept his hometown employed for many years – in 1936, the factory’s best year, they made over 400,000 pairs of earmuffs. However, Chester Greenwood was not the first person to invent earmuffs. But he did invent a V-shaped swivel hinge that allowed the muffs to stay tight against a person’s ears, offering a massive improvement over earlier designs.