Arthur Garford was born in 1859. Both of his parents were born in England, but Garford was born in Elyria, Ohio. By his early twenties, Garford had found employment as a store clerk in Elyria.
Garford remained a businessman for the remainder of his life. By the 1890s, he had become a bank executive, and in 1892, Garford purchased the Fay Manufacturing Company. The Fay Manufacturing Company produced bicycles and equipment to improve roads for bicycle use. In 1892, Garford renamed the business the Garford Manufacturing Company. Bicycles had become very popular by the late nineteenth century, but roads were very rocky and bumpy, making riding a bicycle somewhat uncomfortable. Garford's bicycle seat, known as the Garford Saddle, made bicycles more enjoyable to ride. Within a few years of establishing the Garford Manufacturing Company, Garford's firm was manufacturing more than one million seats per year.
By the early 1900s, Garford had amassed a sizable fortune from the Garford Manufacturing Company. Garford eventually sold this company to George Worthington, who renamed the firm the Worthington Manufacturing Company. In conjunction with George Pope, a bicycle and automobile manufacturer, Garford soon formed the Federal Manufacturing Company. In 1904, Garford purchased Pope's share in the firm, and this same year, Garford renamed the company the Garford Company. The Garford Company primarily manufactured Studebaker-Garford automobiles. The company began production in 1904 and ceased production in 1911, having manufactured only 2,481 Studebaker-Garford cars. In 1908, Garford sold his majority interest in the Garford Company to Studebaker. Studebaker officials sold the Garford Company to the Willys-Overland Company in 1911.