Monday, October 31, 2011

Taking Dueber-Hampden Watch Works Project to the NAWCC Ward Francillon Symposium is a good experience

The National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) organized the Ward Francillon Time Symposium to present the art and science of time keeping. This year’s symposium featured an overview of Ohio’s watch and clock history and was held in Hebron Kentucky, at the Cincinnati Airport Marriott.

Patrick Loftus prepares his clock display at the 2011 Ward Francillon Time Symposium
in Hebron, Kentucky running October 20-22, 2011

Patti Moore, chairman, and the Buckeye Chapter 23 sponsored this year’s event. Patti came to our “Spending Time with Dueber-Hampden,” in Canton, Ohio on August 10, 2010 and she invited me to speak to this group. I have to admit I was nervous; most of these speakers have spent years, if not decades researching their specialty, whether it is clocks or watches. My research into Dueber-Hampden Watch Works is in its infancy and my real intention was studying social media.  I am not a watch expert or as steeped in the watch history, but Patti assured me I did have something to contribute. The group was very welcoming and it helped me to evaluate where my own Dueber-Hampden project fit in the larger context of watches and clocks, especially Ohio’s.

Phillip Morris explained the Connecticut influence on Ohio wooden tall clocks. He said that after Connecticut, Ohio was the second largest producer of tall clocks, even though most of the clocks produced stayed in Ohio. Tom Spittler continued the discussion of tall clocks, and included mention of Hiram Power in his lecture. Power, one of America’s premier sculptors, worked in Luman Watson’s clock shop in Cincinnati from 1822-28. Power’s best known work is the Greek Slave. Some of his other sculptures include the Fisher Boy and The Last of Her Tribe. This is definitely another area to research and read about.

Kris Klingemier’s project—Clock Dials of Trumbel County—centered on north east Ohio clock dials and how to identify their makers.

Lehr Dircks covered the Columbus Watches. He said a railroad watch would have cost a railroad employee a month of his salary, which was his responsibility to secure a watch, not the railroads. Mr. Dircks touched on the American Watch Case Company in Mansfield, Ohio. Originally started as the Bell Watch Case Company in Cincinnati in 1892, it was moved to Mansfield by 1899. The watchmakers went on strike because they didn’t want to move. I found this interesting because this was about 10 years after John C. Dueber moved his combined Hampden Watch Company of Springfield, Massachusetts and his Newport, Kentucky Case Company to Canton, Ohio. One of the guests told me that many of the workers from Springfield were homesick and didn’t want to be in Canton.

I didn't find out why John C. Dueber and his family originally migrated to Cincinnati, but some have told me it was the large German settlement in Cincinnati, and they had relatives all ready there. I also heard it was the large hills that reminded the Dueber Family of their homeland in Germany. That’s easy for me to understand. With the sun coming up I was heading home from Kentucky and driving down past the hills into Cincinnati, it’s hard to say goodbye to this beautiful area.

Symposium attendees were treated to a tour of the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute (AWCI) training facility, research library and museum.
Thanks to all the speakers at the symposium: Philip Morris, Lehr Dircks, Chris Klingemier, Patti Moore, Rebecca Rogers, Fortunat Mueller-Maerki and Tom Spittler, and all my new friends in the NAWCC who made me feel welcome. Special thanks to Patrick Loftus for sharing some of his images of the symposium.  I hope you enjoyed this snapshot report of the symposium. The event helped me to refine my research.

Enjoy a look at the video NAWCC Ward Francillon Time Symposium and Visiting the AWCI on the left-side of this blog for a look at some of the clocks and watches we saw at this event.

More to come.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ward Francillon Time Symposium--Ohio Horology, October 20-22, 2011

The Ward Francillon Time Symposium will be held October 20-22, 2011 at the Cincinnati Airport Marriott, Hebron, Kentucky. The Symposium will focus on the activities of the clock and watch industries in Ohio.  The Symposium opens on Thursday evening, October 20, with the James Arthur Lecture by Philip Morris, titled: "Tracing the Origins of Ohio Wooden Clockmaking".

Philip began a serious study of wooden movement tall clocks about 8-9 years ago. With the encouragement of a friend he began research which ultimately culminated with the recent publication of his book, "American Wooden Movement Tall Clocks: 1712-1835". This volume documents the work of over 625 clockmakers, cabinetmakers, dial painters, suppliers and peddlers working in the wooden clock industry and was drawn from the study of hundreds of wooden clocks, account books, diaries, genealogical records, family histories, town histories, probate records and period newspapers.

Philip is a leading authority on wooden tall clocks and has lectured widely on this subject.

Friday, and Saturday's lectures will feature various topics related to Ohio clocks and watches.  Speakers featured for the symposium include: 

Tom Spittler:
After a brief history of early Ohio concentrating on its explosive settlement in the very early 19th century, the program discusses the early Ohio brass movement grandfather clocks and their makers.  The program will discuss the discovery of a here-to-now unknown Ohio maker and significant documentation about him and his clock making.  Just as rapid as the coming of the brass movement tall clocks to Ohio was their decline with the introduction of the wooden movement tall clock.

The wooden movement tall clock killed the brass movement clocks.  There were two major centers of wooden movement clocks in Ohio, one in the north east and one in the south west.  This program centers on the wooden movement clocks manufactured by Luman Watson and some of his associates who went on to manufacture clocks on their own. 

The two talks are related in that they will discuss the vast differences in the making of bespoke, hand made clocks and the manufacturing and peddling of the mass produced clocks.

Chris Klingemier:
An analysis of the Trumbull County clock industry based on the objects, not the documents.  Part material culture, part industrial archeology, the study seeks to enhance the understanding of the industry by analyzing clock dials for similarities and variations in construction, layout and decoration. 

Rebecca Rogers:
The Trumbull County Clock Industry and its Peddlers.  A look at the clock peddlers who traveled the countryside with clock movements to sell.

Lehr Dircks:
Columbus Watch Company history and special features.  Also the discovery of a new Ohio watch making company.

Randy Thatcher:
A look at the Herschede Hall Clock Co. of Cincinnati.  Randy knows a lot about Herschede.  In 1992 he bought the Herschede company's inventory and trademark.  He collects Herschede clock movements, and Revere clocks, and he has around 100 Herschede movements and Revere clocks.

Lee Horrisberger:
"Spending Time with Dueber-Hampden."  This session will include exploration of the historic Dueber-Hampden Watch Works, primarily the history of the watch works,  the early years in Canton, and the company's dispersion to Russia.   

Fortunat Mueller-Maerki:
The title of his talk is: "Exploring the World's Preeminent Concentration of High grade Horological Artifacts.  The 2011 Horological Study Tour of the AHS - USA Section in and around London."   AHS stands for Antiquarian Horological Society which is an international organization with a Section in the U.S.

Patti Moore:
Ohio was very important in the neon clock industry.  Neon Products Incorporated in Lima, Ohio, received huge orders for neon clocks from national companies wishing to advertise their products at the consumer level.  Electric Neon Clock Company out of Cleveland, Ohio, produced a large variety of neon clock styles.  Cincinnati, Ohio, was a hot bed of advertising clock manufacture including The Lackner Co., The Ohio Advertising Display Co., and many others.   

The Symposium will conclude with a banquet on Saturday evening.  Program details are available on line at

Hebron is located in northern Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Marriott Hotel  is 5 miles off I-75, on I-275, exit 4A.  Air service is available through the Greater Cincinnati International Airport.  A free shuttle service is available from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to local shopping and dining.  

Direction help from  the symposium organizers:  Watch out for traffic on I-75S and on the bridge going south.  Right now they have lane closures that may be backed up significantly at rush hour (4-6pm).  You may want to check Map Quest for an alternate route which requires getting on I-275W very far north of Cincinnati (north of Glendale, Ohio).  This is a very long detour (it goes all the way out to Indiana and then back into Ohio and then into Kentucky), so don't take this detour lightly.

For more information on the symposium please contact Patti Moore:

Hope we see you in Kentucky!!