“FROM EQUESTRIAN HARDWARE AND TROUSER CLASPS TO FASTENERS FOR MILITARY GEAR AND SEAT BELTS, AMERICANS BUCKLE UP WITH NORTH & JUDD”
The oldest manufacturer in New Britain, and one of the oldest in CT., North & Judd’s business and identity evolved over decades before incorporating in 1863. In 1812 a company was started by Alvin North, H.C. Whipple and Seth North to make plated wire and articles from that wire such as hooks and eyes.The business was partially suspended during the cholera outbreak in 1832 and when it resumed the company began to manufacture brass items and plated saddlery hardware. In 1855 the firm became H.F North & Co., incorporating as North & Judd in 1863 when Lorin F. Judd bought out the interests of one of the partners.
North & Judd became prominent in the manufacture of saddlery and harness hardware including bits and spurs. This business led to a close and friendly relationship with William F. (Buffalo Bill) Cody who would write letters to the company commending the quality of their spurs, and who would visit the company whenever he was in the area. When Buffalo Bill visited North & Judd, workers could bring their children into work to meet the famous westerner and have their pictures taken with him.
As life in America became more mechanized, and the need for saddlery and harness hardware decreased, North & Judd expanded production and development of other lines until they were manufacturing and selling over 46,000 items under the name “Anchor Brand” including: belt buckles, shoe trimmings, clothing accessories, upholstery nails and thumb tacks and many others. Web strap hardware was added to the line in the l930s and, in addition to commercial applications, a considerable amount of this hardware was used by the military. The company was one of the first to produce automobile seat belt buckles and, with the purchase of the Wilcox-Crittenden Company of Middletown, they added a full line of marine and boat hardware. In the 1970s the company was merged into Gulf and Western, and then passed through the ownership of a couple of other companies until 1998 when it was acquired by Buckles International who continues to sell Anchor Brand Hardware from their home office in Meriden.