Vintage sewing devices offer you impressive durability and the allure of historic charm. However you may uncover it complicated to choose the perfect vintage machine out of the wide selection of options. What execute you know about the Montgomery Ward sewing machine?

Montgomery Ward sewing machines sold indigenous 1872-2001 and featured a variety of manufacturers. Today, home sewers value these vintage devices for their sturdy construction. Steel components and solid cases make vintage Montgomery Ward sewing machines reliable workhorses.

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In this article, you’ll uncover a brief history of Montgomery Ward. You’ll also learn around their most famous models in a handy timeline. Finally, you will gain a great idea of the typical value of these vintage machines.


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Who made Montgomery Ward Sewing Machines?

Montgomery Ward had sewing devices in its sales magazine for end a hundreds years, however the firm did no make any type of of these appliances. Instead, they re-branded and also marketed commodities made by various other manufacturers.

In 1872, Aaron Montgomery Ward released a one-page mail-order directory for the landscape area around Chicago. In ~ this time, people who lived far away indigenous metropolitan locations had no easy access to supplies. They one of two people bought products from travel salesmen or ventured right into a city when they required to do a purchase.

The mail-order directory was the very first of its kind and also he confronted some opposition early on on. Regardless of this, his organization expanded so quick that by 1883 the catalog reached an outstanding 240-page length and encompassed much more than 10,000 items. In fact, civilization started to speak to the directory the “Wish Book!”

The 1890s saw the rise of Sears Roebuck. Sears introduced its own mail-order catalog.

This led to many decades the competition in between the 2 companies. In quick order, castle both prospered to nationwide prominence.

Both companies offered sewing equipments intended for residence use. Today, it’s basic to see these as simply one much more item in a massive catalog of products. However in the at an early stage 20th century, the ide of owning a little domestic machine instead of sewing through hand to be still rather novel!

In the early on 1900s, Ward likewise built a substantial chain that brick-and-mortar sleeve stores as they ongoing to broaden their reach. Meanwhile, the catalog continued come grow drastically through both people wars and the great Depression.

It wasn’t until the advancement of suburbs and also shopping malls in the 1950s that this retail large finally began to topple. In 1985, the company closed down its famed catalog. And also in the 1990s, it had actually to explain bankruptcy, largely as result of competition indigenous Walmart.

In the early on 2000s, Swiss nest bought what to be left that Montgomery Ward and reinvented it as an virtual retailer. You deserve to still purchase numerous items from your website today, though to date, the website does not offer any kind of sewing appliances because that sale.

Montgomery Ward Sewing maker Timeline


Montgomery Ward offered “badged” sewing machines. This way that castle bought and rebranded assets manufactured by various other companies. Manufacturing companies put bids to win the right to do these appliances.

Foley and Williams made the earliest models. The national Sewing an equipment Company took over until the 1950s. Throughout the 1950s, numerous Japanese providers such as the Happy Sewing an equipment Company produced the machines.

In 1913, Ward released a heat of domestic machines make by Foley and also Williams. Castle didn’t get good reviews also at the time. They to be priced in ~ under ten dollars (though in today’s currency, that would certainly equal about $200).

Shortly after ~ this, the contract switched end to the national Sewing machine Company. Nationwide made almost all models produced before 1955.

Montgomery Ward continued to sell badged devices made by nationwide through WWII. Complying with the war, international companies took over lot of the industry.

The national Sewing an equipment Company also got its start in the late 1800s. Based in Illinois, it had actually a successful run manufacturing bicycles and also other home appliances. It built a reasonably huge sector supplying badged commodities to Macy’s and also Marshall areas as well!

In 1955, Ward switched their contract to a Japanese manufacturer called Happy Sewing machine Company. In the post-WWII era, Japan emerged a huge sewing device industry that crushed a most its American competition.

Called Happy commercial Ltd. Today, this firm began creating sewing machines in 1945 and also is still selling them now! lock usually get recognition together the best Montgomery Ward models.

Wards Signature Sewing Machine

Ward marketed several of its Japanese-made models as its “signature” line. These products promoted special craftsmanship and also high-quality parts.

Most of these models made from the 1950s-1980s do attribute solid metal components. However the concept of the special models didn’t get really far. Countless early Japanese models make in this era simply cloned the specs from older companies favor Singer.

Despite that, the signature models do hold up well over time contrasted to various other vintage models sold throughout this era.

It’s not constantly easy come track under the origins of a Montgomery Ward product, together you will uncover out shortly! that said, you have the right to look for the designation the “JA” or simply the letter “J” in prior of the model number. This suggests that it was made in Japan.

For example, the Montgomery Ward sewing device models make in 1954 include the 185A. Friend will discover the expression “made in Japan” stamped on this models. They feature solid steel construction, a lovely wood cabinet, and also a knee lever for regulate instead the a foot pedal or a treadle.

The J1984 also sold as part of the signature line. Make in Japan, it features a foot pedal, several decorative stitch options, solid metal parts, and rotary shuttle, and a free arm. The comes v a metal carrying instance instead the the wooden cabinet of earlier years.

Home sewers value the J1984 due to the fact that it runs an ext smoothly and also quietly than many vintage models.

Montgomery Ward Sewing machine Serial Numbers

All Montgomery Ward machines bring their brand name, and most of them likewise have a model and serial number. These numbers can help you find out who made it.

Model numbers describe a certain version the a product. This works favor iPhones–the iphone 7 is a various model indigenous the iphone 8, however Apple makes both.

A serial number is distinctive to one separation, personal, instance product. For this reason, it have the right to sometimes aid identify her appliance.

You deserve to usually discover these numbers in a pair of various places. Occasionally you can discover it published on the plastic instance of her machine. Or girlfriend may find it stamped into a tiny metal label affixed to the body. Sometimes you may locate it stamped right into the underside that the body.

Check the prior of the casing, the best side over the strength cord, and underneath the maker to find these numbers.

Unfortunately, no one has actually compiled a registry of Montgomery Ward serial numbers or also a substantial list of every the model numbers produced. This way you may have trouble finding details online.

On height of that, part models might just function the brand name and not also have a design number!

Some that the signature heat models additionally have words “Signature” printed somewhere top top the body. If you discover that and also a serial number, you will certainly be fine on your method to finding an ext information around who make the signature machine!

Your finest bet to recognize your machine is most likely to Google the model and also serial number. Climate scroll v Google photos to find a picture that looks comparable to yours!

How Old is mine Montgomery Ward Sewing Machine?

Model and also serial numbers can assist you date antique and also vintage Montgomery Ward machines. For numerous antique appliances, you deserve to plug the serial number into Google and also you will quickly find useful online registries that tell you as soon as it was made. Unfortunately, this is no the situation with Montgomery Ward.

That said, you can sometimes day an old Montgomery Ward device in one of 4 ways. First, flip with the hand-operated if you have it. This useful booklet sometimes contains a production date.

If friend don’t have your owner’s pamphlet, girlfriend may discover a corresponding image if you find Google images. This will typically lead you to a blog or forum released by various other sewing enthusiasts.

If the outlet failed, friend may uncover a comparable item on eBay if you search by your design number. Sometimes sellers will additionally publish helpful information in the product description.

Finally, if you yes, really can’t find any type of information online, sign up with a sewing or quilting conversation forum! individuals commonly write-up questions about how to date vintage machines. They also share tips on just how to repair and also use these old appliances.

How much is a Vintage Montgomery Ward Sewing maker Worth?

The average price because that a vintage Montgomery Ward sewing machine typically falls between $50-$200. The price depends greatly on the age and also condition the its components such as a wood cabinet or foot pedal. That said, also the signature models can price in ~ as tiny as $100.

If you favor to sew, you will probably value this vintage appliance for its sewing ability, not its monetary worth.

Whether or no it comes v all its initial accessories together as various feet, cleaning apparatus, and a zigzag cam can also raise the price. That course, whether or not the motor runs additionally makes a large difference!

So, are Montgomery Ward models good? ago in the day, they had a kind of Walmart appeal. The mail-order brochure made them obtainable to everyone, and the low price outweighed the absence of quality.

Sewers this particular day appreciate the Signature line for its reliability and solid metal construction. Regardless of that, friend won’t find a lot of rave reviews around most of these models. For the reason, lock don’t usually have actually a high price range.

In case you’re interested, most Montgomery Ward models autumn into the vintage category. This duration ranges from the early on 1900s through about 1970. Any machines made prior to the 20th century would certainly be classified together antique.

The national Sewing device Company the you read around earlier walk sell miscellaneous models that we would contact antique today. These antiques can variety in price indigenous $50-$500, depending upon the condition of the device and the age and also rarity.

If you setup to sell your grandmother’s old Montgomery Ward sewing machine, you probably can’t collection the price any greater than around $100. Perhaps you have to keep she old maker and learn how to darn instead!

Tips for utilizing a Montgomery Ward Sewing Machine


Your finest bet because that finding information on an individual Montgomery Ward model is to check YouTube and also to read the owner’s manual. Together you search for information, make certain you placed in your details model number. This is important because each various model may operate differently.

Here room some general tips to get you started:

First and also most importantly, review the owner’s guide, if you can get your hand on it! This valuable pamphlet will offer you set up and operating information.Check the problem of electric components such together the cord and also the receptacle. Among the dangers of working through old appliances is that they may have actually frayed cords or even mysterious goop oozing close to live electricity!To thread a vintage Montgomery Ward sewing machine, either review the owner’s hands-on for accuse or shot following the intuitive cues on the an equipment to collection up the thread path and also thread the needle. Many vintage machines have actually a basic design that provides this doable. You can additionally sometimes find YouTube clips to gain a visual overview for your details model.To placed a fail in a Montgomery Ward machine, girlfriend will require to ar it top top the winding lever and also fill it with thread. Next, location it right into the failure case, and also slot the loose end of the thread with the noted hole in the case. Gently push the case into the maker and make sure you line up the little metal finger sticking turn off the case with the shuttle gyeongju notch that fits it favor two puzzle piece clicking together.If friend run into trouble, constantly rethread the machine. Occasionally the object slips out of the thread route as you sew. This can reason timing and also tension issues. Rethreading will gain you up and going again in no time!Finally, you don’t have to be an skilled technician to clean your vintage machine. Open it up and use a small, soft brush to remove lint and also dust. Oil metal portions carefully, follow to the indict in the owner’s manual.

Montgomery Ward Sewing machine Owner’s Manual

A sewing maker owner’s hands-on provides vital information together as how to collection up, clean, and use the machine. If friend buy a brand-new machine, you space guaranteed to obtain this necessary document! Unfortunately, this isn’t constantly the case with vintage machines.

Some popular companies provide free downloadable manuals on your websites. Singer, because that example, go a good job do old info easy to find.

Sadly, Montgomery Ward does not administer the exact same level of service. You can’t find any type of information on their website. In fact, the website does not even sell sewing appliances of any type of kind.

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You have the right to often discover old duplicates of these manuals ~ above eBay.

The bottom heat is that it’s very difficult to find Montgomery Ward’s owner’s manuals today!