What Horsepower Is a Montgomery Ward?

Montgomery Ward, an iconic American department store, once held a prominent place in the retail landscape, offering a diverse range of products to customers across the nation. While primarily known for it’s catalog sales, the company also produced it’s own line of machinery, including lawnmowers, tractors, and other equipment. Among their offerings, one common question arises: what horsepower is a Montgomery Ward? In order to understand the power and performance of these machines, it’s essential to delve deeper into the history and specifications of Montgomery Ward's offerings, unraveling the mystery behind their horsepower ratings.

When Was Montgomery Ward Created?

The original Montgomery Ward, & Co. was founded in 1872, making it one of the earliest pioneers in the mail-order business. It was created by a man named Aaron Montgomery Ward, who’d the innovative idea of creating a catalogue that customers could browse and order from. This concept revolutionized retail at the time, as it allowed people in rural areas to access a wide range of goods without having to travel to a physical store.

Montgomery Ward continued to thrive throughout the 20th century, but faced financial challenges in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In 2001, the company filed for bankruptcy and began the process of liquidating it’s assets. This marked the end of the original Montgomery Ward, & Co. as a retail entity.

However, the brand name was later revived in 2004 by a different company called Direct Marketing Services Inc. This new Montgomery Ward operates as an online retailer, offering a variety of products through it’s website. While it carries on the name and some of the traditions of the original Montgomery Ward, it’s a separate entity with no direct connection to the earlier business.

Today, Montgomery Ward continues to serve customers across the United States, albeit in a different form than it did in it’s pioneering years. It’s legacy as a trailblazer in the mail-order industry remains, and it’s recognized as an important player in the history of retail.

The Impact of Montgomery Ward on the Mail-Order Industry

Montgomery Ward had a significant impact on the mail-order industry. The company played a crucial role in the development of this sector by pioneering the concept of direct-to-consumer sales through catalogs. Their innovative approach revolutionized the way people shopped, allowing them to conveniently order products from the comfort of their homes. The success of Montgomery Ward led to the proliferation of other mail-order businesses, expanding options for consumers and stimulating the growth of ecommerce.

Before diving into the fascinating history of Montgomery Ward, it’s worth addressing a peculiar nickname that’s surrounded the retailer over the years: “Monkey Wards.” While the origins of this moniker aren’t entirely clear, anecdotes suggest that Montgomery Ward gained this quirky nickname due to it’s intriguing venture into selling exotic monkeys in it’s stores and through it’s renowned mail-order catalog. However, it’s important to note that the company has evolved significantly since then, and today, it’s website offers a wide range of popular products for customers to explore and order.

Why Was Montgomery Wards Called Monkey Wards?

However, the origin of the nickname “Monkey Wards” isn’t directly linked to the sale of monkeys. Rather, it’s believed to have been a playful twist on the stores name, combining “Montgomery Ward” with the word “monkey” to create a lighthearted and catchy moniker. This nickname gained popularity among customers and employees alike, eventually becoming a part of the stores cultural identity.

Despite the playful nickname, Montgomery Ward was a serious and successful retailer. Founded in 1872 by Aaron Montgomery Ward, the company quickly became one of the largest mail-order businesses in the United States. With it’s extensive catalog and wide range of products, Montgomery Ward offered customers the convenience of shopping from the comfort of their own homes.

Over the years, the retailer expanded it’s reach by opening physical stores in various locations. These stores became known for their impressive selection of merchandise, ranging from clothing and furniture to appliances and electronics.


In conclusion, the determination of the horsepower of a Montgomery Ward engine isn’t a straightforward task. Due to the lack of centralized information and inconsistencies in labeling practices, it becomes challenging to ascertain the precise power output of a specific model. It’s crucial to rely on various sources, such as product manuals, vintage engine enthusiasts, and online communities, to obtain the most accurate estimate. Additionally, understanding the context in which a Montgomery Ward engine was manufactured, including technological advancements and industry standards of the time, can aid in forming a better judgment. Ultimately, the horsepower rating of a Montgomery Ward engine should be considered within a broader historical and comparative framework, acknowledging the uniqueness and complexity associated with these vintage engines.

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