Waterford Heritage & Agricultural Museum (WHAM)

WHAM – Small Museum, Big Ideas

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James William Judd, Waterford

One of Norfolk County’s more contemporary and perhaps most recognizable furniture manufacturers was James William Judd who, in 1968, officially launched Judd Gunstocks Limited in Waterford, Townsend Township. Judd Gunstock started on “the road to success” by producing what were described as the finest hand-crafted gunstocks in the country. The company distributed to major firearm manufactures throughout Canada and the United States.

Judd Showroom
Judd Showroom from an advertising postcard (collection of WHAM)

In conjunction with the gunstock business, Judd Natural Wood Furniture was established in 1970. The factory was located on the south side of Old Highway 24 near the corner of Thompson Road – beside the present-day Tim Hortons. The venture came as a result of Jim’s years of research and experimentation to meet the requirements – namely durability – of firearms and their manufacturers. All types of wood and wood finishes were tested, resulting in what has been described as a “truly unique” product with “nothing of comparable quality and beauty in North America.”

Judd Display
Judd Display

By the mid-1970’s, the factory employed 30 staff, the majority of which were directly involved in furniture production. The annual output of finished furniture and related wares was over 22,000 pieces. Judd’s furniture was sold through several retailers across the country and direct from the factory’s showroom. Tables, chairs, household accessories, and even recognition plaques, were crafted along with custom orders – all being made of heavy, natural wood, finished in thick coats of clear varnish.