Griffith Road 

Griffith Road is named for George Leslie Griffith

George Griffith  Stratford-Perth Archives

George Leslie Griffith

Born on a farm near Melbourne Ont., in 1864, George L. Griffith took an interest in harness and began to experiment in its manufacturing. Because he suffered from arthritis, he found farm work difficult, which led him increasingly in the direction of harness-making.

In 1901-02, he patented a halter made from rope and leather, and started to make them in his spare time. Demand for the Griffith halter was high, and in 1905 it became his full-time occupation. By 1912 he was looking for a real manufacturing plant, which is what brought him to Stratford.

For the first 16 years of its existence in Stratford, the Griffith firm was involved solely in the manufacture of harness. In 1928, Griffith bought the Federal Manufacturing Co., a Wingham rubber manufacturing business, and moved it to Stratford. In 1934, he combined the harness and rubber divisions under one roof in the former Stratford Mill Building Co., a factory on the southeast comer of Erie and West Gore streets (today the site of Cooper-Standard plant no. 3, 341 Erie St.).

George Griffith died in 1929, and for many years his son, Ewart T. Griffith (1899-1985) was president of G. L. Griffith and Sons Ltd., until the company was sold in 1961 and became Federal-Mogul-Bower (Canada) Ltd. 1030 Erie St. For a while, Ewart Griffith chaired the board of that company, which has since changed hands several times. Because the new owners were primarily interested in manufacturing rubber products, the harness plant was closed. Determined to keep the harness business alive, 1966 Ewart Griffith established a new company, Griffith Saddlery and Leather Ltd. , at 240 Norfolk St.

There is now a new Cooper-Standard Automotive plant (no. 1) at 1030 Erie St. (corner of Packham Road). It produces latex trim products. Source: Streets of Stratford 2004