Question: What do earmuffs, trampolines, and popsicles have in common?
Answer: They were all invented by – kids! And today happens to be Kid Inventors’ Day.
Earmuffs were the brainchild of Chester Greenwood, a fifteen-year-old who got frustrated trying to keep a scarf wrapped round his head to keep his ears warm while ice-skating. Fashioning two ear-shaped loops out of wire, he got his grandmother to sew fur on them and found that worked much better. The improved model he patented (Greenwood’s Champion Ear Protectors) had a steel band to hold the ear pieces in place. His home town, Farmington, Maine, U.S.A., is now considered the earmuff capital of the world.
Inspired by watching trapeze artists drop into a springy safety net at a circus, a sixteen-year-old gymnast named George Nissan went home and built what he called a ‘bouncing rig’ in his parents’ garage. He and his friends learned to do tricks as they bounced on this contraption, and even performed them publicly as “The Three Leonardos”. When grown, George started commercial production of what he by then called a trampoline (from trampolín, the Spanish word for diving board).
Eleven-year-old Frank Epperson invented his frozen treat-on-a-stick by accidentally leaving a batch of soda pop mix out on his porch overnight. The mixture froze around the stir stick, and the popsicle was born. (He originally called it an “Epsicle’, when he sold them around his neighbourhood the following summer. The name popsicle came later.)