Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Montgomery Ward

Aaron Montgomery Ward (1844-1913) published the world's first mail order catalog in 1872. Thirteen years after his death, the mail order business became a retail store. Although Sears Roebuck copied Ward's idea of a catalog in 1896, Ward's would struggle for the rest of it's existence as a sales business by its competition with Sears.

Ward's stores started in 1926. The company was very big with private brands (Skips sneakers, Airline electronics and musical instruments, Brent men's clothing, Hawthorne bicycles, etc.)

Ward's (later Wards) was the first retailer to use the expression:

----------------------Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.

By 1883, Ward's catalog was known as the Wish Book. Sears would later copyright that term for that company's use.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, the story and the song, were both written for Montgomery Ward promotions in 1939 (the song in 1948 by Johnny Marks).

The company had several owners from the 1960s on, including Mobil Oil and General Electric. It was General Electric which suggested liquidating the company in 1999 and putting the whole thing up for sale.

In 2004, five years after the original company went out of business, the Wards name was put onto an Internet business at

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