In 1911, William Aho and his wife Aino immigrated to the United States from Finland and settled in Massachusetts. By the following year, William had opened the Thrift Furniture Shop at 505 Washington street. 

William Aho
1937 Advertisement for the Thrift Furniture Shop, 505 Washington St


On October 31, 1957, William Aho announced that Israel Adelstien had purchased the Thrift Furniture Shop and it would henceforth be known as Puritan Furniture. 

First ad for Puritan Furniture, October 31, 1957 (The Norwood Messenger)


Later, Puritan furniture moved to a larger location at 607 Washington Street.

Puritan Furniture’s location at 607 Washington St in 1966.

In 1973, the company jointly acquired the Holliston Mills property at 111 Lenox St, on the corner of Nahatan St. Plumbing and heating supply manufacturer Emerson and Swan leased 60,000 square feet of the 113,000 square foot building and Puritan Furniture occupied the other 70,000+ square feet.

January 6, 1974 Boston Globe

The company introduced Harriet the talking chair around this time. A large chair with a face in the middle that spoke, Harriet either delighted or terrified children who would visit the store.

This 1977 ad featuring Harriet the talking chair highlights the differences between Puritan and their competitors.

In 1982 the company had a huge sale to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Harriet the chair.

But 1983 was not a good year for the company. Complaints about slow delivery times, defective merchandise and poor service mounted and in May of 1983 the company was sued for $25 million by then Massachusetts Attorney general Francis X Bellotti.

July 1, 1983 Liquidation sale

The company responded with a clearance liquidation sale, hoping to sell their way out of trouble.

Spring of 1984 Puritan Furniture Ad

Attorney General Bellotti sued the company again in mid 1984. The new suit alleged that Puritan was in financial difficulty and didn’t adequately notify consumers. Some customers were still making deposits on future furniture purchases and deliveries while the company was planning to close the store, violating The Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act. Puritan agreed to refund $400,000 in funds for furniture not yet delivered and then shut down the company in June of 1984.

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The building was later torn down and Nahatan Plaza was constructed on the site.