Yesterday was the 119th anniversary of the patent application for the earmuff invented by one Chester Greenwood whose home town of Farmington, Maine, became the earmuff capital of the world where the residents celebrate the fact every year with a parade of vehicles and animals decked out in giant earmuffs.
I know this because an Answers.com thingy pops up every time I fire up my work PC to tell me interesting things I didn’t know I didn’t know.
Like Chester who patented over 100 inventions in his life, including the spring steel rake, wide bottom whistling kettle, and the mechanical mousetrap, and is acknowledged by the Smithsonian Institution as one of America’s 15 Outstanding Inventors.
All in all, it was a day for invention and innovation stories yesterday. What with Marmite being sold in squeezy bottles, or did I imagine that one as I can’t find any links to the story. But the invention ‘news’ that surprised me most was that British Rail patented flying saucer technology in 1970.
My surprise wasn’t at the fact that such a staid, bureaucratic, ineffeciently state-run organisation could be so forward thinking, but that the media should consider this to be news at all. My uncle who worked for BR told me about this thirty years ago, so it was hardly a state secret.
I suppose it just goes to show that journalists consider a story to be ‘news’ if it’s new to them.
UPDATE: Finally found a link to the squeezy Marmite story.