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.


  1. Thank you for the continuing history. I especially like the folk lore. I will be watching for more history.

  2. Glad you are enjoying, thanks for the comment.