Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hoover Company Rising as Dueber-Hampden Watch Works begins to fade away

Progressive or not…this photographic image taken in 1919 shows women learning how to use vacuum cleaners from the Hoover Company. This is just one image that is part of 500 images found and never before seen and that were taken by the Hoover Company between 1880’s and 1970’s. The photographs are part of the exhibit, From the Factory Floor. The Exhibit will open on Sunday, March 20 from 1-4 p.m. at the North Canton Public Library, and will be installed until April 15.

 Lectures will be given each Sunday over the course of the exhibit.

Lecture Topics:

• March 27: Communism and a Company Town: Labor Turbulence at Hoover in the 1940s, Dr. Will Cooley, Walsh University Assistant Professor will share history about the strike at the Hoover Company.

• April 3: Kathy Fernandez, director of the North Canton Heritage Society will lead a discussion with hourly workers from the Hoover Company who will discuss the exhibit photographs and reminisce about their work experience.

• April 10: Musing on the Past by Nancy Stewart Matin, the former assistant to the President of the Hoover Company.

This exhibit is part of a collaboration service learning project between the Walsh University public relations writing class and the North Canton Heritage Society.

Turning off Dueber-Hampden's Beacon
How does this photograph relate to John C. Dueber and the Dueber-Hampden Watch Works? While Hoover was beginning its assent into history with its manufacturing success, by 1919, the Dueber Watch Works' beacon was dimming. By 1926 the Watch Works was in receivership and the machinery and tools were sold to Amtorg.

This post card was sent by John Miller, Dueber-Hampden superintendent and in charge of the Russian move, to his son Richard Miller "Dickie boy" who was still stateside in Canton, Ohio.  Written from Russia on March, 27, 1930. 

Carrying John C. Dueber's name and legacy to Russia
Corresponding with Dave Miller of Michigan, Dave said his great-grandfather John Miller was the superintendent  of the Watch Works. John Miller started with the Works about 1889 when he was only 14-years-old, and spent 41 years working for Dueber-Hampden Watch Works moving up through the ranks. Both of Dave Miller’s great-grandparents, John and Stella Miller were part of the move of the Watch Works to Russia.

When the Works move to Russia it was Dave’s grandfather who was in charge. Dave has generously shared some of the 1930’s images.

More information about the Russian Era will follow as I continue to research Dueber-Hampden Watch Works.

John Miller who started with Dueber-Hampden Watch Works in about 1889 when John Dueber moved his Watch Works to Canton, Ohio.  Mr. Miller started with the Watch Works when he was 14-years-old, and spent 41 years working at Dueber-Hampden.

Selected to go to Russia
This group of workers board the ship in New York to carry John Dueber's name to Moscow.

 Newport, Kentucky Research up to this time

As I continue my research on the Kentucky period of John C. Dueber, blog reader, Teresa Hall from Kentucky, tells me that the building that was John C. Dueber’s was torn down and is now an empty lot.  She has sent me several emails that helps detail the buildings and added that her grandfather was a night watchman there in the 1970's This will take more investigation and I appreciate all her comments so that I can keep the blog accurate.  I will explore this further in another blog. 

Special thanks:
Thanks Teresa Hall for helping with the Newport research.  Special thanks to Dave Miller of Michigan for sharing his family's photographs with us. 

Hall, Teresa. "Newport Kentucky." Message to the author. Jan. 2011. E-mail.

Miller, Dave. "Dueber-Hampden, John Miller." Message to the author. Feb. 2011. E-mail. 

Hall, Teresa. John Dueber Building, Kentucky. 2011. Private collection. By Teresa Hall. N.p.: same, 2011. Print.

Goodenberger, Ralph. Photographs of Dueber Workers bound for Russia aboard ship. 1930. digital file. private collection.

Miller, Dave. Photographs of John Miller, post card of Russia. 1930. digital file.


  1. Many years ago I was told that the main reason for the purchase of Dueber-Hampden was to establish the production of clockwork artillery and bomb fuzes in the Soviet union. I have never been able to confirm this. Can anyone ?

    Dr.J.R.C. Schmitt
    Ordnance Historian and consultant

    1. Dear Dr. Schmitt,
      Thank you for your insightful observation. Our only information is that the Dueber Watch Company was purchased by Amtrog Trading Company to help establish watch making industry in Russia. At this time the Ansonia Clock Company Machinery and tools were also moved to Russia, along with the equipment and inventory from the Dueber-Hampden Watch Works. No evidence is known to say that these transactions were for a military purpose. Although military versions of clocks exist, for example the tank clock or aircraft clock.