Brief History of Furniture Companies
Materials produced by these companies were found during the documentary
project and/or the companies have a long history and are still in business.
The titles of those in business now are italicized.
Most of the following information about these companies is taken from
Esther Gilman Moore’s History of Gardner Massachusetts
This book is available at local libraries and for sale at the Gardner
Founded: 1940 , by Victor J. Beauchemin and his sons Herve and Roland.
Location: home garage
Products: Lamps and tables
Company closed: 1956, see Brewster-Beauchemin, Inc.
S. Bent & Brothers, Inc.
Gardner’s fourth oldest manufacturing
company and an offshoot of Heywood-Wakefield Company.
Founded: 1867 by Samuel, Charles O. and Roderic L. Bent
Location: Mill Street in South Gardner
Products: First made five-spindle factory chairs for Heywood-Wakefield,
and later made Colonial chairs and rockers. About 1870 they began making
children’s chairs, rockers and stools. From the 1920s-1950s they
made breakfast sets and institutional furniture. One specialty, by the
1960s, was the college and university chair. Bent Brothers, along with
Nichols and Stone, were national leaders in this area.
Company closed: 2001
Bettez-Laroche Upholstering Company
Founded: 1946 by Lester F. LaRoche
and Alphonse J. and Cleo J. Bettez
Location: Coburn Avenue
Products: Upholstered rockers, recliners, two-piece Colonial and slim
line living-room suites.
Brewster Furniture Corporation
Founded: 1958 , Charles Nichols, President and Treasurer
Location: 3 Sanborn St.
Affiliate: Chairtown Manufacturing Company, 3 Sanborn St., same ownership and officers as the Brewster Furniture Corporation
Products: contract work for institutions, including Wellesley College. Furnished 24 separate rooms in the Heritage House at Jug End Barn in South Egremont, MA, with custom-made pieces designed to bring out the personalities of 24 famous people.
Founded: 1956, Charles Nichols, President
Location: 114 Leamy St.
Products: full line of maple furniture including dining and bedroom sets and special accessories which were sold countrywide.
Affiliate: Chairtown Manufacturing Company, South Lincoln and Sanborn Sts.
Company closed: 1958, see Brewster Furniture Corporation.
Chair City Upholstery
Location: 177 West Street, Gardner
The company has closed.
Founded: 1906, by George A. Keyworth (who was
lumber purchasing agent for Heywood Brothers & Company for ten years
before that) and David R. Collier
Location: Tuttle Place (beginning in 1913)
Products: Baby carriages, swiveling and tilting mechanisms for office
chairs, baby carriage hardware, and fire extinguisher brackets
Company closed: 1989
Conant Ball Company
Founded: 1852, by Aaron Jackson and Aaron Greenwood.
They sold the compay to Abner and Leander White, who later retired. John
R. Conant joined the company in 1862, Charles W. Conant became a partner
in 1864, and in 1868 Carlos E. Ball was admitted ot the company and took
charge of the Boston branch. In 1875, the name became Conant, Ball & Company.
Location: Chair shop began on West Broadway in South Gardner. In 1888
it moved to West Lynde Street. In 1929, a branch of the Gardner factory
opened in Templeton in the plan formerly owned by Bourn, Hadley Company.
Products: Cane seat chairs, bedroom and dining room chairs, kitchen,
dining room and bedroom furniture in Early American design, and later
Company closed: about 1990
Ralph Curcio Company
Founded: 1938 by Ralph Curcio, who had been superintendent
of the rush seat department of Nichols & Stone for many years. Leonard
Curcio is now the owner of the company.
Location: The company is in the former Greenwood Associates buildings,
on Route 2A near the Westminster line. A fire in 1940 destroyed some
of the original buildings. Of the two remaining buildings, one is an
office and showroom. The other is the factory where chairs are made.
Between 1939 and 1941, Clint Goodwin and Pete Caoulette, of South Ashburnham,
made patterns and set up jigs for all the chairs. Much of the machinery
made then is still used today.
Products: The company makes ladderback chairs and stools exclusively.
These are made by hand and can be made to order. Seats are hand woven
of either rush or fiber material. At one time, the company sold chairs
to other companies, and they were sold under other companies’ names.
Today, chairs are sold through the factory showroom and by order over
the Internet. Web site is http://www.chaircitywayside.com.
P. Derby & Company
Founded: In 1863, Derby, Knowlton & Company
was established on Main Street. In 1868 Mr. Derby bought out his partners,
and in 1880 he formed a partnership with other members of his famiy under
the name P. Derby & Company.
In 1897 the Gardner News listed P. Derby & Company as the second
largest chair manufactory in the United States. It had branches in New
York, Boston and Chicago.
Location: Main Street
Products: P. Derby specialized in cane furniture, but also made tables,
and other furniture.
Company closed: 1935
John A. Dunn Company
Founded: In 1886 this company became John A. Dunn
Company, but it had begun in 1838 as a chair business owned by Elijah
Putnam. Mr. Dunn came to Gardner from Petersham in 1865 and worked at
the Heywood Plant for eight years, before he bought an interest in Mr.
company. He became sole owner in 1886.
Location: Mr. Putnam had purchased a mill privilege from William S.
Lynde; he built a dam and moved his shop to the site.
Products: Primarily chairs
Company closed: 1930
Founded: 1934 by Aldy Fontaine, a furniture buyer for
Goodnow Pearson Company, and his brother, Rene, a foreman at the Gardner
Doll Carriage Company. The business began on a part-time basis from
a two-car garage where the plant was later built.
Products: The company made hall trees, and cricket and occasional chairs.
The company has closed.
Gardner Craftsmen, Inc.
Founded: 1945 by Michael Kotoski in East Templeton.
Location: In 1950 the company moved to 19 Chelsea Street in Gardner.
Products: The company made vinyl covered, upholstered furniture.
The company has closed.
Gardner Machine Works, Inc.
Founded: 1894 by William H. Hobby.
Location: Union Square.
Procuts: The company made special machinery for the chair industry,
and repaired machines for chair shops.
It closed, and an effort was made to save the site around 1980.
Gem Industries, Inc.
Founded: Gem Crib and Cradle Company was formed
in 1911 by W. P. Shuffleton, Carl H. Hedstrom, Frank Favor, and F.
W. Richardson. A few years later, Mr. Favor and Mr. Richardson left the
firm, and somewhat later Walter Beaman joined it. In 1915, Mr. Shuffleton,
Mr. Beaman, and Mr. Hedstrom, with others, formed the Hedstrom Company.
Other small companies were also formed by the group, including Chairtown
Mfg. Company. In 1928 Gem began manufacturing its own crib springs
and hardware, beginning the Metal Division. In the 1950s Gem established
Mohawk Wood Products in New York and Benson Corporation in Wisconsin.
Mohawk manufactured contract and dormitory furniture, and Benson manufactured
springs, bedding and furniture hardware for the Middle West territory.
In 1964, with the diversification of its products, Gem Crib and Cradle
became Gem Industries. In 1978, Gem bought a plant in Georgia, and
in the mid-1990s the Gardner plant was closed. Today all manufacturing
is done in Georgia.
Locations and products: The company began manufacturing bassinets
and nursery furniture in a building on Sherman Street. In 1916 Gem
moved to 314 Main Street. Over time, the company grew and purchased
other buildings, including the P. Derby buildings. As stated above,
plants were begun in other parts of the country as well. Since about
1980, Gem has exclusively made hardware for cribs and caskets, including
springs and mechanisms, in its Georgia plant.
The Gardner office of Gem is at 525 Parker Street.
Founded: In 1827, Walter Greenwood began a chair
factory manufacturing flag seat chairs.
Location: The company was located on East Broadway. The business expanded
in the later 1800s, with warehouses in Boston, New York, Buffalo and
Products: By the early 1900s, the company was making rush and cane
chairs, Windsor chairs, box seat chairs, dinettes and tip-top tables.
The business was dissolved in 1938.
C. H. Hartshorn, Inc.
Founded: C. H. Harshorn began the company in 1893,
after working for 13 years for the Heywood Company.
Products: He began making hand-woven reed chairs at a small plant in
South Gardner, but soon moved to a larger space in Union Square. In 1907,
when the company began making woven reed baby carriages, Mr. Hartshorn
built a four-story factory near the Cheshire line of the Boston-Maine
Products: In the 1920s the company began using woven fiber for its reed
seats. It made upholstered maple living room furniture, dinette sets,
children’s rockers and fiber baby strollers.
The company closed in 1993.
Hedstrom Union Company
Founded: The Hedstrom Company was founded in 1915
by Carl H. Hedstrom, his two brothers, E. Gustaf and Knute W. Hedstrom,
Wilfred P. Shuffleton, and Walter Beaman.
Location: The company began in a small barn on Chestnut Street and a
few years later moved to Sherman Street. In 1925, it moved to Main Street.
Products: Hedstrom Company manufactured clothes dryers’ hardware
and wheels for use on cribs and bassinets.
The Union Manufacturing Company was founded in 1917 by William Carlson,
Oscar E. Fowelin, and Ernest Johnson.
Location: Sherman Street.
Products: Union manufactured hand-woven reed baby carriage bodies and
hoods, and purchased the gears, wheels, and hardware for the carriages
Mr. Hedstrom bought Ernest Johnson’s interest in the Union Manufacturing
Company in 1919, and in 1922 the two companies merged to form Hedstrom
In 1928, the Children’s Vehicle Company of Templeton was acquired.
This branch of the company closed in Templeton in 1936, and new quarters
were leased in Fitchburg.
Closed: In 1950, the Gardner plant was closed, and the company moved
to Dothan, Alabama. A plant was also constructed in Bedford, Pennsylvania.
Founded: In 1826 by the five Heywood brothers,
Walter, Levi, Seth, William, and Benjamin. A partnership known as F.
B. Heywood and Company was formed by the early 1830s, made up of Walter,
Benjamin and William Heywood and Moses Wood, also of Gardner, and James
W. Gates of Boston. In 1835, Levi Heywood returned from Boston and was
admitted to the partnership. He was interested in the use of machinery
for chair making, and his partners, concerned about such innovation,
withdrew. Levi Heywood became the sole owner, and developed a successful
business with the use of machinery. A fire destroyed the factories in
1861, but Levi and other relatives Seth, Charles and Henry Heywood rebuilt
the factories and named the company Heywood Brothers & Company.
In 1897 the Heywood Company joined with the Wakefield Rattan Company
and the Heywood & Morrill Rattan Company, located in Wakefield, Massachusetts.
The company became the Heywood Brothers and Wakefield Company. Some time
before 1920 the remaining stock of the Washburn and Heywood Chair Company
was purchased, and the Oregon Chair Company was acquired. The firm changed
its name to the Heywood-Wakefield Company, about the same time acquiring
Lloyd Manufacturing Company of Menominee, Michigan.
Location: The business began in a barn next to the family’s home
on Elm and Central Streets. Soon a new shop was built across the street,
at the corner of Woodland and Central Streets. In 1834 the business was
moved to the location where it remained. In 1870 the company purchased
a half interest in W. B. Washburn Company in Erving, Massachusetts, and
began some production there. In 1884, the company also began manufacturing
By the 100th anniversary of the company in 1926, over 5,000 people were
employed in seven factories (Chicago; Erving, Gardner and Wakefield,
Massachusetts; Menomineee, Michigan; Portland, Oregon; and Orillia, Ontario).
Products: By 1926, Heywood-Wakefield manufactured cane and wood seat
chairs of every type, baby carriages, cocoa mats and matting, theatre
chairs, railway car seats, bus seats, reed and fiber furniture, cane
and reed products, school furniture, toy vehicles, and fiber webbing.
In the 1930s, the company began making suites of furniture for every
room of the house. It developed Modern and Old Colony lines.
In the four years after1956, the company experienced financial difficulties.
In 1965, Curtis G. Watkins bought 40% of the company’s common stock
and became a member of the Board. When he died in 1967 his son Edward
G. Watkins was elected to the Board. At this time, the Gardner plant
was manufacturing household and contract wood furniture. Plants in Michigan,
Onatario, and Tennessee were also in operation.
Date closed: Heywood-Wakefield closed in 1979.
L & Z Kamman Company, Inc.
Founded: In 1946 in Gardner, and incorporated that year. Founded by brothers Lee D. Kamman and Zora R. Kamman with their father I.B. Kamman. In 1967 approximately 150 people were employed.
Location: The first location was a rented floor in the old Sundstrom building, part of the old John A. Dunn complex. After a few years the company bought the old Brown Brothers building at 90 Mechanic Street. A few years later another building at this address, formerly a part of Brown Brothers, was acquired from the Gem Crib and Cradle Company.
Products: Early American chairs, mostly hand-decorated types, which were sold all over the United States.
Company closed: 1991?, building burned in 1998
Founded: In 1889 by John, Patrick and James Kelly. The
company was incorporated in 1918.
Location: Logan Street
Products: In the early days, Kelly Brothers made reed baby carriages.
In 1894 they began exporting baby carriages to Central and South America,
and were able to expand their plant. The export business ceased during
World War I and in the 1920s the work force diminished and the company
made bassinets for other companies to sell, and also made collapsible
go-carts for Collier Keyworth. In the mid-1920s Kelly Brothers began
making fiber sun room furniture, and in 1932 they began making solid
maple living room and den furniture, which continued to be their primary
and successful line.
Date closed: Late 1970s or early 1980s.
Lilly Chemical Products, Inc.
Founded: As the Lilly Varnish Company of
Massachusetts, by Thomas P. Kelly, Sr. in May of 1925. The company
was incorporated in 1949.
Location: 29 Maple Street in Gardner.
Products: Lilly manufactured coatings and colors for the wood and metal
industries. It worked extensively with Gardner-area furniture companies
and had a styling department which developed new color treatments and
systems for furniture.
Date closed: Soon after 2000.
Kott Manufacturing Company, Inc
Founded: In 1959 by three men, two of
whom were Paul Krasawski and Michael Kotosky.
Location: 61 Barthel Avenue. The building was purchased in 1959 from
Products: Kott made Colonial upholstered furniture and sold the furniture
to retail stores. In the last few years, Kott has stopped making the
furniture and does re-upholstering. James Krasawski is the present
Nichols & Stone Company
Founded: In the mid-1800s by Edmund Nichols
as a small chair shop in Westminster. In 1857, his two eldest sons and
James Clark, a brother-in-law, built a new shop and the company became
Clark, Nichols & Company.
In 1894 Charles Nichols bought out the interests of his brother Marcus,
and began a partnership with Reuben S. Stone. The company became Nichols & Stone.
Location: The company moved from Westminster to Logan Street in Gardner.
Products: In 1917, Edmund Nichols and Albert Stone, sons of Charles
Nichols and Reuben Stone, decided to manufacture exclusively trademarked
reproductions of Windsor and other early American chairs, using the
early designs. When Carleton Nichols, Jr. entered the business in 1968,
he expanded the product line to include dining room tables, cabinets
and occasional furniture. In the 1970s and 1980s the company added Shaker
and country designs. The company also makes alumni and recognition chairs,
with institution logos.
S. K. Pierce & Son
Founded: Begun in 1830 by Stephen Taylor as a
chair shop. Soon after this, Mr. Taylor sold out to Jonas Pierce the
2nd and his brother Sylvester K. Pierce. Sylvester Pierce became sole
owner soon after this. When Mr. Pierce died in 1888, his son Frank
Pierce took control.
Location: South Gardner
Products: Chairs for chamber suites, dining chairs, rockers with cane
or cobbler seats, and screw and spring office chairs.
Date closed: About 1937.
L. B. Ramsdell Company
Mr. Ramsdell worked for P. Derby for twelve years,
before purchasing the business of John Lovell around 1879. By 1897 the
company was the largest manufacturer of doll carriages in the United
Products: Ramsdell’s made doll carriages. Later the company made
toy furniture, and eventually began making juvenile and adult furniture.
Date sold: Roger Smith sold the business to the American Mills, Inc.
Rousseau Brothers Manufacturing Co., Inc.
Founded: In 1936 by Joseph
Rouseeau and his four sons, Arthur, Roland, Norman and Alvin. The company
was incorporated in 1946.
Location: Branch Street, and later Branch Street and South Main Street.
In 1962 all operations of the company were moved to 424 Main Street,
formerly the O. W. Siebert Company building.
Products: In its early days, the company manufactured boudoir chairs
exclusively. Later colonial furniture was also made.
Date closed: In 1973 Rousseau became part of George B. Bent Company.
The last directory listing for Rousseau was in 1983.
R. Smith Upholstering Company
Founded: In 1956 by Richard A. Smith.
Before this, Mr. Smith had been foreman of the upholstering department
of the Custom & Modern Upholstering
Company for twenty-five years.
Location: The company began at 505 Main Street, and later moved to
289 South Main Street.
Products: R. Smith did upholstering for two furniture companies, one
in Gardner and the other in Vermont. It also took special orders and
sold furniture to retail stores.
Date closed: R. Smith probably closed in the late 1980s. The company
is not listed in the telephone book for 1990.
Maynard Machine & Tool Co., Inc.
Founded: In 1930 by Ernest Maynard’s
father, who had worked for Temple-Stuart in Baldwinville before beginning
his own company. Ernest Maynard later became the owner.
Location: 81 South Main Street, South Ashburnham
Products: For many years, Maynard Machine made precision cutting tools
to shape spindles and other furniture parts. They specialized in back
knives and lathe tools, and designed tools to customers’ specifications.
They had many local furniture company customers, and also many international
customers. As the furniture industry declined locally, and as companies
in other countries began making tools, it became difficult for Maynard
to stay competitive. Today Maynard Machine primarily makes cutting tools
for the auto glass industry.
Date company sold: The Maynards sold the company in 1992. It continues
in business, making knives for the automobile glass industry.
W. F. Whitney Company, Inc.
Note: this information is from A Century
of Chair Making 1828-1928 The History of Alfred H. Whitney Co.
Founded: In 1828, by John Whitney. In the 1880s John Whitney’s
sons Orange and Alfred took over the business. In 1921 a corporation
was formed by Alfred H. Whitney and the two sons of Orange Whitney, Marcus
Locations: The company began in north Westminster. In 1862, Mr. Whitney
built a new factory in South Ashburnham and moved his business there.
In 1899 the plant was destroyed by fire but immediately rebuilt. After
another fire in 1920 a larger factory was built.
Products: At the beginning, John Whitney made one kind of chairs, by
hand. He made scroll arm or Boston Rockers, in three sizes: Large Rocker,
Misses’ Rocker and Child’s Rocker. These had wood seats,
but later cane seats were made. By the 1920s, the company was making
an extensive line of chairs for home, office, hotels and restaurants.
By the 1950s Whitney was offering Colonial/traditional style living room,
dining room and bedroom furniture.
G. C. Winchester
Note: this information was drawn from research compiled
by local historian Joseph von Deck.
Founded: In 1842, when Charles Winchester bought Phillip Merriam’s
chair shop, which he had begun in 1833. In 1848 Charles Winchester’s
brother George Caleb Winchester joined him as a partner. The Winchester
brothers are described as ambitious and sometimes ruthless businessmen,
who put competitors out of business. Much of Ashburnham’s economy
depended on the Winchester factory.
Location: The company was located on Phillips Brook. Like many other
companies, the factory was destroyed by fire, but rebuilt. By 1867 the
brothers owned many buildings and had acquired several of their competitors’ saw
mills. In 1870, the brothers parted company, but there was a bitter court
battle which was finally resolved in 1875. George Winchester ended up
in control of the business. He cut workers’ wages, and seems to
have over-extended himself financially. In 1876, deputy sheriffs placed
an attachment on his holdings and the factory was closed.
Products: G. C. Winchester began by making chairs. In 1850, Winchester
made 93,600 chairs, and had forty male employees and sixty female employees.
By the 1870s the company was also making sofas, settees, tables, cradles
and chamber suits.
Date closed: The factory closed in 1876. The property was auctioned in
1880, and the Boston Chair Company was formed. The company struggled
to survive, and diversified in order to do so. It began producing snow
plows and electric street cars, and was sold in 1894, becoming the Massachusetts
Athol Table was established in 1922 by Charles Kumin and
Jacob Garbose, in South Athol. In 1925 the company was purchased by Herbert
Hadley, George Hadley and I. B. Frost, and a year later it moved to the
former Diamond Match Company plant in Athol, on the Boston and Maine
Railroad. Over the years, the company made tables, dining room furniture,
hutches, cabinets, book cases, night stands, and deacon’s benches.
The Hadley family owned Athol Table until 2002, when it was sold. Less
than two years later the company closed.
Note: information provided by Richard Chaisson
Note: the information that follows, except that about Eastern Furniture
Company, is from History of Athol, Massachusetts, by William G. Lord,
J. B. Cardany
The Cardany Block was built in 1872 on Exchange Street. “Mr.
Cardany quickly established a furniture and undertaking store there selling
out around 1875 to Charles L. Lord but repurchasing it after a few years
and continuing in control until his death in 1889.” The business
changed hands several times, to Charles F. Dow, then Loriston Amsden,
then Beach & Halbert. In 1953 it was owned by Isadore Plotkin.
Eastern Furniture Company
Founded: In 1945. In 1946 Chester Carbone purchased the controlling interest
in the company, and the Carbone family continued to operate the company
until 1987, when it was sold to Mike Rolla, who also owns Gem Industries
Location: 372 Riverbend Street
Products: Eastern Furniture Company made upholstered furniture in colonial,
traditional and contemporary styles, plus specialized seating for restaurants.
Date closed: The company closed in 1990.
Note: Information provided from Richard Chaisson
H. Mann & Co.
Horace Mann was born in 1838. “After teaching a few terms in Athol
and vicinity, he engaged in the furniture business here.”
Rice, Barlow & Co.
The company was located in South Athol, in a mill
built at New Sherburn, later called Riceville, east of the Monson Turnpike. “In
1856 Mr. Wood sold the entire tract to James Rice who operated the furniture
factory doing a flourishing business the remainder of his days…After
his death in 1877, the business was continued for a time by his son,
B. Madison Rice and his son-in-law, Charles F. Barlow, but financial
difficulties overtook them. Fire destroyed the mill in 1881.”
Alden Spooner and Fitts & Spooner
In 1826 Alden Spooner purchased
a shop on land between Pleasant and Chestnut Streets. He operated a
cabinet shop. For several years he was associated with George Fitts under
the name Fitts and Spooner, making many articles of household furniture.
Charlton Company Inc.
Founded: The company was founded in 1932 by Jacob
Location: The company began in Fitchburg (Prescott Plant) and later
expanded to include a plant in Leominster. In 1952 a West Coast branch
plant in Los Angeles was established as well.
Products: In its early days Charlton Company developed and perfected
sofa beds. It also made living room furniture. After World War II,
the Prescott Plant in Fitchburg specialized in laminating and steam
Closed: The company is now out of business.
Walter Heywood Chair Co.
Founded: Mr. Heywood founded the company in
1842, with Leander P. Comee. Mr. Heywood began work in James Comee’s
chair shop in Gardner in 1824. In 1826, with his brothers, he formed
F. B. Heywood and Company in Gardner. In 1841, he sold his interest in
Heywood Brothers and moved to Fitchburg. The partnership with Leander
Comee dissolved in 1849. Later Mr. Heywood formed a partnership with
Alton Blodgett, Lovell Williams, George E. Towne and George Spencer.
Walter Heywood died in 1880.
Location: After fires destroyed the early factories, Mr. Heywood rented
a building on Water Street. When that burned in 1870, he built a factory
on River Street.
Products: The company began as a chair shop, and expanded to also manufacture
tables, bureaus, cribs, and dressing case suites.
Date closed: The company has been closed for many years.
Merriam, Hall & Co., Inc.
Founded: In 1864 by Samuel Merriam, George
Hall and S. C. Pickard.
Location: On the Nashua River, near the freight station of the Fitchburg
Railroad. In 1888 an additional factory was built on Crawford Street
in North Leominster for finishing work.
Products: The company manufactured bedroom, or chamber, furniture in
ash, oak and cherry.
Date closed: In 1940 Merriam, Hall became Wilder Mfg. Co., and in 1949
it became Charlton Chair. The Charlton Company has closed.
Note: Information supplied by Leominster Historical Society.
Selig Manufacturing Company
Selig was founded in 1931 in Gardner and
moved to Leominster in 1939.
Whitney Reed Company
Whitney Reed was established in 1893, making furniture
of reed and rattan. The company made occasional tables, hobby horses,
Note: this information was provided by the Princeton
J. M. Stuart, B. Stuart and Sons, Temple-Stuart
Benjamin Stuart and
his son, Joseph Mirick (1815- ) came to East Princeton from Sterling,
Massachusetts. They began a chair-making business in the 1840s. John
H. Stuart joined the partnership, and the company operated at various
times as B. Stuart and Sons, J. M. Stuart and B. and J. H. Stuart.
The company stayed in the family until 1904, when it was incorporated
as Temple-Stuart Co. The factory burned in 1910, and the company moved
to Baldwinsville, Massachusetts.
Buck Chair Factory
Thurston and Eugene Buck began a chair factory in
1880 in the part of Princeton called West Sterling, which is near the
Sterling line. The Buck factory continued in operation until the later
Note: information on Bourn Hadley and Temple-Stuart
was taken from The Story of Templeton, compiled by Elizabeth Wellington
Lord, c. late 1940s. Information on Kenney Bros. was from material
written by a Kenney descendent and was with the other Kenney Bros. information
Bourn Hadley Co.
In 1865 Isaac Bourn and John Brooks bought a saw mill
at Trout Brook, near Pine Grove Cemetery. They made pine, chestnut and
ash furniture. In 1879 Mr. Brooks sold his share to Lucian Hadley and
George W. Bourn, and the company became Bourn Hadley. The company made
post office, bank and store fixtures, and mission, chamber and kitchen
furniture. Robert Bourn was an inventor, and around 1900 he began making
post office equipment.
In September 1929 Bourn Hadley & Co. sold their plant to Conant-Ball
of Gardner. The plant has since closed, but was still operating in 1946,
at the time Princeton’s history was written
The company has been closed for many years.
In 1910, J. A. Temple and Arthur L. Stuart, with their
company known as Temple-Stuart Co., came to Baldwinville from Princeton.
They manufactured kitchen and dining room chairs. During the 1940s
they employed about 125 people.
The company is closed now.
A Mr. Whitcomb began making school furniture in 1875 in
Winchendon. In 1886 Oliver Kenney purchased the business, and the company
moved to Weston. In 1917 Kenney Bros. moved to Baldwinville. In 1941,
it moved again to Winchendon. Kenney Bros. manufactured many types
of school furniture, and also sold school supplies.
Artemas Merriam’s Chair Shop
At one time this shop in South Westminster
manufactured chairs and settees and employed around 75 people. It was
owned by a Mr. Miles, Mr. Holden and Joel Merriam, but after they retired
or died, Artemas Merriam became the manager. In 1897, the shop and
its contents were destroyed by fire. The shop was not rebuilt.
(Information provided by Westminster Historical Society)
Nichols Brothers Chair Factory
This factory was located in the center
of Westminster, in the area of Eaton and main
(Information provided by Westminster Historical Society)
Mathers Pierce Company
Some time before 1900 a chair factory was established
in what became the Whitmanville section of Westminster, about three
miles northeast of the center of Westminster. Franklin Lombard owned
the factory at that time. Mr. Lombard sold the factory to Chester Morse
around 1900, and he sold it to Matthew Lombard and Mr. Pierce. In 1920,
they sold it to Mr. Mulligan. In 1926, the factory was destroyed by fire.
(Information provided by Westminster Historical Society)
Note: Much of this information comes from Winchendon
Years 1764-1964 by Lois Stevenson Greenwood, published in 1970.
M. H. Parks Company
Founded: In 1827 by Levi N. Parks and his brother,
Location: The company began near Stuart’s brook in Bullardville,
with a mill and bobbin shop. In 1900 the company moved to 30 Brown Street,
Waterville, where it is today.
Products: M. H. Parks began making bobbins, and later also made barrel
covers. M. H. Parks now manufactures furniture.
Winchendon Furniture Corporation
Founded: In 1923 by John H. Murray and
his brother Patrick. Until 1935, it was knows as Winchendon Chair Company.
Location: The Murray’s purchased a plant from Demond & Brown
Chair Co. on Murdock Avenue. In 1935 they purchased factory buildings
of Morton E. Converse & Son Company at 101 Jackson Avenue
Products: The Murray brothers began manufacturing kitchen chairs. Around
1935, they expanded their products to the “Old Meeting House Maple” line,
making dining room, living room and bedroom furniture. After World War
II, the company introduced a modern line of furniture.
Date closed: IN 1963, Winchendon Furniture became a division of Sprague & Carlton,
Inc. of Keene, N.H. who continued to operate the Winchendon plant until
some time in the 1970s, when Patriot Industries acquired Sprague and
Carlton. The company is now out of business.