In 1854, the snowy weather was so severe that Chelmsford suffered from snow drifts as deep as 7 feet. In January 1881, the 'blizzard of the century' meant that trading all but ceased in most of Essex due to the extremity of the weather. Chelmsford was a notable exception where enterprising businessmen made a roaring trade in eye-glasses that had green lenses help people to avoid 'snow blindness'. In 1976, however, the weather was so hot that firemen in Chelmsford had to resort to using the water from the few ponds that were still 'wet' to put out fires. The summer of 1976 was the busiest time on record for Essex Firefighters, with up to 400 firefighters on active duty to fight the effects of the sweltering weather.