The Wards 1284What I've been able to find out so far:
Montgomery Wards 1284, front side.
Montgomery Wards 1284, back side.
The "Mystery Sigil", found in two locations inside. No other markings found!
Top cover removed. Very well built!
Bottom cover removed. No manufacturer's marks found other than the above sigil.
This is the "Monkey Wards" machine my mother purchased sometime in the early to mid 70s to replace her ailing American Beauty. Most experts would tell us that this was built by Japan's Happy Sewing Machine Company - and maybe it was! However, it bears NO "JA", "JC", "HA" or other markings whatsoever, inside or out, other than the above pictured sigil - which no sewing machine expert thus far has been able to identify. One authority tells me that "It [the machine's appearance] made me think of some Riccar's and Janome/New Homes I've seen.", but is as mystified by the sigil as I am...
The only other clue is that I've seen pictures of a couple of Nelcos that had carrying cases identical to the one this machine came with. Nelco was a distributor/badge, not a manufacturer so this factoid means little. Perhaps whomever supplied machines or cases to Nelco also supplied Montgomery Ward at the time this machine was built. Who knows?
Update: I received an email from a gentleman who claimed to be the actual purchasing agent for Montgomery Ward at the time they were selling this machine. He stated that he personally signed the purchase agreement with Happy for them to supply this model to Montgomery Ward. So - unless this guy was an imposter, this machine was indeed made by Happy - which certainly was true for a large number of machines sold by MW.
The "mystery sigil" continues to be an enigma. "Randy", the online acquaintance whose wisdom graces so much of these sewing machine pages, speculates it may be a foundry mark of some kind, not necessarily the "manufacturer" of the machine per se; but rather something to do with the company that cast the body. The manufacturer and the foundry may or may not be one and the same.
However, I encountered another Sewing Machine guru "Dale"; who, while agreeing that it could be a foundry mark, had this to say:
This is a representation of a bobbin and shuttle hook in the shape of a dove. The dove is the international symbol of peace, and from the factory that the casting was made, it symbolizes that this product was made in peace for the U.S.A, their former enemy.
These factories that built sewing machines had built munitions like bombs, planes, tanks and other weapons of war. The entire Japanese culture embraces all types of symbolism. The rising sun on their national flag, the chrysanthemum on the bow of their warships, and even seals to denote last names.
I believe the correct name for an unofficial government seal is called a "hanko". Factories, businesses and other commercial as well as private endeavors, generally have their own seal to denote what type of product they have, and how they feel about it in the market place. It acts almost like a blessing of sorts, similar to appeasing the spirits.
For example, if you made a chainsaw in Japan and you wanted to have a seal that shows how you feel about your particular brand of chainsaw, you may choose a growling lion with chainsaw teeth. If you were supplying [sewing machines to] a country that you were formally at war with, you might choose a dove in the shape of a bobbin and shuttle hook.
Very interesting - and if this is indeed the case, even more interesting that they would still be doing this in the 1970s, when this machine was built. Still, I'm no closer to the "who" of this symbol than before...
If you know anything about this, please tell me!
If you own this model, you can buy the manual here.
A Belly Dance "Stitch and Bitch".
The lovely lady to the right is now the proud owner of this machine.
The Pfaff 776 can be seen in the foreground.
Directly behind it can be seen my "American Beauty" Reversew.
Yes, my White 690 was hard at work this day also - in a different room.
Oh, the machine to the far left? A modern, plastic Singer belonging to another dance sister.
Does quite well, although I don't think it "holds a candle" to my '57 Singer 99k which was not
in use here, but I take it to "away dates" frequently.