Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Toasting his new town... Dueber accepts Canton's offer

At the Canton opera house in 1886, John C. Dueber and his associates were the toast of the town as they met with city officials to accept the $100,000 dollar award, the donation of 20 acres of land with tax benefits, and the promise of a railroad spur to reach the future Dueber-Hampden Watch and Case Companies. Many Canton residents at the time, and those who still remember today refer to Dueber-Hampden as the "Watch Works." Congressman (later President) William McKinley's congratulatory note was among many received by the Dueber congregation as they toasted their newly adopted city.

The advantages of moving to Canton weren't missed by John C. Dueber. He knew it would be a boom to his company because the future factory location would save 16 hours in securing gold and silver shipments from New York, while at the same time save equally in time when the factory began shipping finished watches and cases back to New York or Chicago (Gibbs, 10).

Canton , was also benefiting for all its hard work in securing the $100,000 from prominent citizens to lure the Dueber-Hampden Watch and Case Works. The migration of both companies to Canton, marked the biggest relocation of two fully-developed companies in the city's history. The move would more than double Canton's population. In 1870 the population was 8,700, by 1890 Canton's population was 26,927 (Haldi).

This population growth started a major building boom in southwest Canton in what is now near the Aultman Health Foundation/Aultman Hospital area. Because of this expansion, Canton began to push its corporation limits and add new territory to the city.

The donated 20 acres of land came from the Meyer's family, known for the Meyer's Lake and Amusement park. Andrew Meyer owned 3,000 acres of land. (Haldi).

For the map above: The red box shows the 20 acres donated by the Meyer Family to John C. Dueber for his Watch and Case company, the purple area is Andrew Meyer's farm (3,000 acres). The A flag marks the William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum

As I am working on my project--It isn't just the Dueber-Hampden Watch and Case Works I need to think about, but also how to continue to build the history so that my digital story will began to fit and make it all work with the internet. I have to be conscious of the digital footprint I am creating about this company and its history. Up to this point I have kept the history pretty straight forward, but moving on in to my story and research I am meeting and talking, as well as corresponding, with some very interesting people.

It has been very pleasant to correspond with Mr. Donald Berger from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mr. Berger was born in 1931 and grew up in Massillon, Ohio. He remembers taking the street car to Canton every weekend for his weekly music lesson (clarinet) with Mr. Titta.

Although the factory was empty by the time he was born, Mr. Berger said, " As a boy I used to come from Massillon to Canton on a street car and I remember the old watch factory which to my eyes was huge as I entered Canton."

He said when he was very young his mother would take him to Canton on the streetcar, but about the time he was in the sixth grade--the streetcars were gone, but the inner-city busses continued to run. Mr. Berger's music lessons paid off. He studied at Juilliard, located in New York City. Julliard is one of the most prestigious music conservatories in the country. Mr. Berger was stationed in Tokyo as part of the Army Band, and then from there spent much of his adult life teaching music in Japan.

Thanks Mr. Berger for your recollections about the Dueber-Hampden Watch and Case Works.

Next blogging will include understanding more about your own watch by serial numbers, and ground breaking for the Dueber-Hampden Watch Works.


Berger, Donald P. "Dueber-Hampden ." Message to the author. 18 Apr. 2010. Web.

Gibbs, James W. From Springfield to Moscow: The Complete Dueber-Hampden Story. Revised Edition--supplement to the 1954 Dueber-Hampden Story. Philadelphia, PA: Supplement to the Bulletin of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc., 1986. Print.

Haldi, Richard. "Dueber-Hampden Watchworks ." Massillon Genealogical Society. Massillon. 3 Feb. 2010. Lecture.


Image: Graphic map used with permission from Richard Haldi.

Image: Dueber-Hampden Watch Factory post card (1910) used with permission from the Edward Thouvenin collection.

Image: Watch image used with permission from the Chris Skeeles collection.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Beginnings of the Hampden Watch Company in Springfield Mass...

About the same time, John C. Dueber was engraving his watch cases upstairs in his one-room workshop at the Carlisle Building in Cincinnati (1864), Don J. Mozart, began his association with the Mozart Watch Company in Providence, Rhode Island (Gibbs 8).

Showing great mechanical promise, Mozart began in the watch business establishing himself as an expert in the field. In 1854, he married and settled in Xenia, Ohio. Dedicating himself to the watch repair business, he spent much of his time manufacturing mechanical devices for watches. Mozart's hope was to create a year-round clock, but his invention was a dismal failure (Gibbs 8).

Mozart endeavored to make a three-wheel watch, assisted by George Sam Rice, he converted this idea into the Mozart Watch Company in Providence, Rhode Island. The three-wheel watch would offer economy in cost, and simplicity in manufacturing by using less material, while making it easier for workers to assemble the watches. Not having much success for this venture either, and by mutual consent, Mozart left the company in 1866.

Although Mozart was leaving the company, he still wanted to create his three-wheeled watches, so he started the Mozart Watch Company in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He only produced about seven of these watches, with none ever making it to the public. By 1870, with the company failing, the Mozart Watch Company and equipment was bought by the Rock Island Watch Company. Mozart became the designer and mechanic at the Rock Island Watch Company (Gibbs 8; Engle 213).

The Rock Island Watch Company failed in 1874, and the Freeport Watch Company in Freeport, Illinois, purchased most of the machinery, but then it burnt down in 1875. Although Mozart was affiliated with both of these watch companies neither had much success.

But back in Providence...The Mozart Watch Company --under new directors changed the name to the New York Watch Company. The name change was because most of the capital came from New York investors. This company reorganized twice, and then reorganizing again under the name--The New York Watch Manufacturing Company, but again it failed (Gibbs 8).

In 1877, flushed with new capital the stockholders reorganized. Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, in Hampden County, for which the company is named, the Hampden Watch Company is formed (Gibbs 8).

Around 1885-86, the Dueber Case Company and the Hampden Watch Company were doing business together. Worried about a possible business problem, John C. Dueber visited the Hampden Watch Company to iron out this possible problem. As he toured the plant he became so impressed with the company's potential, so much so...he decided to buy it.

Dueber purchased the Hampden Watch company that had $150,000 surplus cash and 480 employees. Wanting to expand the watch manufacturing company, Dueber soon found the land prices were too high in Springfield to develop, and because Dueber also couldn't expand his case manufacturing facility in Newport Kentucky, he decided to combine the watch works and case factory in an entirely new town. Dueber let it be known that he would move his new companies and their employees to whatever city put up $100,000 (Gibbs 8). After moving the watch company to Canton, Ohio from Massachusetts, the city of Springfield declined economically and was not able to recover until World War II when war production of weapons moved in the old Hampden Watch Factory.

This image (right) shows a new model 1890 movement, 16 size,
from the Hampden Watch Company.

Collector Edward Thouvenin added that a good way to determine where your watch was manufactured is: any serial number below 58,000 was made by the New York Watch Company, and any serial number above 58,000 was made by the Hampden Watch Company.

More to come...


Engle, Tom, Richard E. Gilbert, and Cooksey Shugart. Complete Price Guide to Watches. 27th ed. Mount Pleasant, SC: Tinderbox Press, 2007. 213-318. Print.

Gibbs, James W. From Springfield to Moscow: The Complete Dueber-Hampden Story. Revised Edition--supplement to the 1954 Dueber-Hampden Story. Philadelphia, PA: Supplement to the Bulletin of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc., 1986. Print.

"Mozart Watch Company of Ann Arbor, Michigan." Clock and Watch Makers of the World Historical Clock & Watch Research. Historical Clock & Watch Research. Web Site: , 1998. Web. 31 Mar. 2010. .

Thouvenin, Edward A. Personal interview. 31 Mar. 2010.


Image(The Hampden Watch Factory, at Springfield, Mass.): Abbott, Henry G. The watch factories of America, past and present. A complete history of watchmaking in America, from 1809 to 1888 inclusive. Chicago: G.K. Hazlitt & Co.,, 1888. 98. Smithsonian Libraries' Catalog. Web. 24 Mar. 2010. .

Images (Hampden Watch Com. Advertisement (32); Development of Hampden Watch Co. Chart (ix) , : Hernick, James L., and Robert F. Arnold, eds. Hampden Watch Company. First Edition ed. Columbia, PA: The National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc., 1998. 32-43. Print.

Image: Model Movement used with permission from the Edward Thouvenin collection.