The last blog I mentioned corresponding with Mr. Donald Berger, formally of Massillon, Ohio, and now living in Philadelphia, PA. My acquaintance with Mr. Berger began when he contacted me about his grandfather's watch.
The photograph (above) shows the Cigar Makers' Union. Donald Berger's grandfather, George Herrmann Berger is seated on the left side. Of his four siblings and mother, who migrated to America from Amsterdam in 1882, only George remained in Massillon. It is believed he began work at the Sailer Cigar Factory when he was 15-years-old. His wife, Eva Louis Masson, came to America from Franche-Comte (eastern France). By the time Donald was growing up the cigar business was nearly finished, but his grandfather kept a shed on the side of the house where he rolled his own cigars. Although Mr. Berger said he had no recollections about his grandfather's watch, he did say he has tried to keep it running.
Without seeing the watch, my watch collectors were able to tell a little more about the watch based on the works serial number. Mr. Berger and I were able to learn the year his watch was made.
What we learned about Mr. Berger's watch are the same characteristics you can learn about your own watch.
Thanks to Robert "Bob" Arnold of Flint, Michigan, if you own a Dueber-Hampden watch you can learn a lot with just the serial number.
Bob has spent more than 20 years collecting, cataloguing, and looking at Dueber-Hampdens. Mr. Arnold, a retired engineer working for the automobile industry, has put close to 11,000 serial numbers into the book, Hampden Watch Co. The book contains an extensive list of serial numbers that will help identify the model of your watch, setting, style, construction, and description.
It is interesting to note the fact that Cunard shipping authorities were able to identify a body of a passenger washed ashore on the coast of Ireland in October 1915. This passenger was aboard the Lusitania when it had been torpedoed on May 7, 1915. The passenger had been wearing a Dueber-Hampden watch bearing the serial number 3,039,347. By looking at the serial number on the watch, the authorities were able to contact the Dueber-Hampden Watch Works and trace the number back to the owner. (Repository)
By identifying the deceased shows that there were accurate records and that those records did exist.
I have seen records for most other U.S. watch company detailing watches and serial numbers. If the numbers for the Dueber-Hampden Watch Works were destroyed, all collectors certainly owe a debt of gratitude to Bob Arnold for his meticulous record keeping and sharing of serial numbers in his book.
According to the Hernick and Arnold Hampden Watch Co. book, there are some four million Hampden watches that are now more than 80 years old. Before this book, Dueber-Hampden watches were from the "Forgotten Watch Company."(Hernick, vii) .
Arnold's book is easy to understand and will help any collector, professional or beginner, to understand more about the Dueber-Hampden watch.
The items to look for when identifying your watch, are size, jewel count, style, model, and grade.
The second feature of your watch is the jewels. Jewels serve as bearings in a watch reducing friction. Watches may have between 7 to 23 jewels. The more jewels your watch has, the higher quality your watch was.
Third, the style of your watch could be open faced or hunting. An open face watch has the pendant at 12 o'clock, where a hunting style will have the pendant set at 3 o'clock. A hunting style should always have a cover. Key wind, or key set is a watch that you wind with a key, and this watch could be either a hunting, or an open faced watch (Hernick 1).
Arnold's book is useful in identifying features of your watch. To find the watch model the recommendations are to match the shape of plates, bridges, balance cocks, and the winding wheels, and the shape of the ratchet click.
Finally, look at the back of your watch and match the name with the grades listed in Hampden Watch Co. book (Hernick 1).
With the serial number, it may be possible to determine all the features as well as determine the year your watch was made, and where it was made as well. Hampden serial numbers began at 58,000 in 1877, at the end of the New York Watch Co. and the beginning of the Hampden Watch Co. The end is 4,000,000 for 1927 when the Dueber-Hampden Watch Works went into receivership. No serial numbers have been found above 4,000,000.
Today Arnold is still continuing to build his data base by looking at watches selling on the internet, and collecting serial numbers from collectors. Thanks Bob, for helping all watch owners and collectors understand more about their watches, and making research a little easier.
More to come...
"A Millennium Moment, October 10, 1915." The Canton Repository 22 Feb. 1999: A-11. Print.
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: Cigar Union: Vogt, Margy. Massillon, Reflection of a Community. Massillon, OH: Margy Vogt, 2009. 83. Print. & courtesy of Rudy Turkal
Images: Watch Dial Sizes(1) 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. Print.
Images: Dueber-Hampden Watch used with permission from the Edward Thouvenin collection.