Monday, January 7, 2013


I love ear muffs. I'm sure you know that most of your body heat escapes, in the winter, via your head and neck area. If you keep that area warm, the rest of you will feel warmer. But we are vain and a hat smashes one's hair and going without a hat or ear protection is just inviting frost bite.

Enter Chester Greenwood. In March of 1877, the US Patent Office awarded him patent number 188,292 for Greenwood's Ear Protectors. The design has stayed pretty much the same. A piece that goes over the head to which are attached circular padded ear protectors. The ear protectors are on a hinge to make sure they lie flat against the ear to keep it warm. When not worn, the whole thing will fold on its own into a circle which can fit in a pocket or purse.

Well, the hinge has changed in material composition over the years. Chester's original design had a metal hinge. It would, sometimes, particularly if the ear muffs were years old, wear through the muff material and poke the ear. Manufacturers have gone to plastic. Lightweight, cheaper and just as durable, plastic hinges make the muffs cheaper over all and just as sturdy. Just as sturdy that is, unless you belong to me and I'm slightly stressed.

I've had these for 3 years. The hinge is plastic and I've never had a problem with them. Perhaps it was inevitable but I popped the hinge apart over Christmas.

They've always been a bit of struggle to unfold and wear properly. I was unfolding them once I got to my brother's in Iowa and snap, off came one of the ear pieces. It looks, on the face of it, that it can be snapped back into place. I'm not strong enough to do it. Dan was able to pop it back on with quite a bit of effort. I got home and, on the first day back to work, snapped the ear piece right off again as I was putting them on in the morning.

Now, I have a pair of those ear coverings that wrap around the back of your head. They are of similar design but they don't feel anywhere near as secure as the over the top of the head, plain old ear muffs. I tried to snap the ear piece back on, but I'm just not strong enough. In our disposable society, I could just run to Target and see if they have a new pair. But these still have long life in them. I'm going to see if one of the guys in the office can reattach the ear piece. If it snaps off again, after that, then perhaps there is something wrong that is not apparent.

I miss my ear muffs.

Beverage:  Lady Grey tea


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