Montgomery Ward

Jump to: navigation, search

The Montgomery Ward department store chain is reputed to be the first department store to operate by mail order. The company was founded in Chicago in 1872 by Aaron Montgomery Ward[1]. Like other department stores of the 1950s through 1990s such as Sears and Kmart, they sold a variety of photographic equipment such as light meters, flashbulbs, film, lenses, and complete cameras under their own house brand. Their house brand was variously either Ward or Wards until around 1970, at which time they began selling the rebranded items using their full name, Montgomery Ward. After around 1970 they also began selling their better cameras using the original manufacturer's name on the camera rather than rebranding with their house brand.

In the 1950s and early 1960s Montgomery Ward also sold a number of photographic items under another house brand, Adams. Items such as flash units, flashbulbs, slide viewers, light meters, and even several complete 35mm and movie cameras were sold under the Adams brand name and trademarked logo.

Montgomery Ward carried a variety of very high-end photographic equipment in addition to their medium-range and low-end offerings. Generally, Montgomery Ward sold fewer cameras using their own house brand than their competitors, but sold a wider range of cameras and other photographic equipment using original manufacturers' labeling.

The company was not consistent in its camera branding. For example, their 1948 photographic catalog shows no cameras with Montgomery Ward branding, and lists the Argoflex E under its original manufacturer's name (prior to WWII, this camera was sold as the "Wardflex"). In the 1950s they again sold a new TLR camera with the "Wardflex" branding, this time re-badging a camera made in Japan.


  • Adams 351
  • Adams 352
  • Baby Thornward #2
  • Long Focus Thornward - 4x5
  • Majestic (5x7 plate camera, rebranded Seneca 9)
  • Montgomery Model B - 4x5
  • MW
  • Premium
  • Rolfix (made by Franka)
  • Thornward Dandy - 4x5


35mm Rangefinder

35mm Viewfinder


  • Wards SLR 500 (Made by Yashica but not identical to any Yashica cameras; similar to J-P but with some features from Penta J)
  • Wards SLR 600 (Made by Yashica but not identical to any Yashica cameras; based on the J-3 but with a light meter assembly from the J-4)
  • Wards SLR 700 (Konica FP)


110 cameras

  • Montgomery Ward 688

126 cameras

  • Wards Autoflash 100
  • Wards Autoflash 300 (Keystone)
  • Wards cp301 (Konica EE-Matic 260)
  • Wards cp302
  • Wards x 42c

127 Cameras




About Us page at Montgomery Ward company site

Companies of Chicago (Illinois)
Adams & Westlake | American Advertising and Research Co. | Bernard | Burke & James | Busch | Calumet | Candid | Chicago Aerial | Chicago Camera Co. | Chicago Ferrotype Company | Deardorff | De Vry | Drucker | Galter | Geiss | Herold | Imperial | Kemper | Lennor Engineering Co. | Metropolitan Industries | Monarch | Montgomery Ward | Pho-Tak | QRS Company | Rolls | Sans & Streiffe | Sears | Seymour | Spartus | The Camera Man | United States Camera Co. | Western Camera Manufacturing Co. | Yale | Zar | Zenith
Chicago in depth: The Chicago Cluster‎, a bakelite trust?