Tuesday, November 29, 2011

John C. Dueber, Master craftsman and watchmaker

In this blog and those upcoming, I want to share my presentation from the NAWCC Ward Francillon Time Symposium in Hebron, Kentucky. 

It seems that the logical question to begin this blog post with is,  just who was John C. Dueber?

John C. Dueber

• According to Greg Farino, our geneologist working on the Dueber Family tree, he tells us that John Dueber was born in Netphen, Germany in 1841 (Farino).

• John Dueber was the oldest of 6 children—three of his siblings all died in infancy in Prussia (Farino).

• Arriving aboard the steamer Herder along with John Dueber were his parents Johannes and Katharina (Schmitt ) Dueber and his sister Pauline (his brother Hermann is believed to have died in Germany before the family came to America. They arrived in New York on October 20, 1853 (Farino).

• Ship records indicate the family's final destination was Cincinnati, Ohio. It is unknown why the family chose that city.

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 already there. I also heard it was the large hills that reminded the Dueber Family of their homeland in Germany.

• The ship record with the family's name (Farino).

• About one year after coming to America, on August 17, 1854, John Dueber’s father died. It is believed but not certain that he is buried in Cincinnati (Farino).

• For five years, Dueber spent his days making watch cases in a small room in Cincinnati as an apprentice watch maker. At night, he crafted wedding rings.  He saved the money that would one day fund his own watch factory. (Heald,v2., pg.170)

• In 1863, after his apprenticeship ended, Dueber with partner Francis Doll, rented a one-room office and workshop on the third floor of the Carlisle Building in Cincinnati (Gibbs).

The Dueber Watch Case Factory--
(used by permission from The McKinley Presidential Library & Museum, Canton, Ohio)

One guest at the Symposium who is also researching watches and has written about Dueber-Hampden and John Dueber said he has yet to find anything about John Dueber that was negative.  The source said although there were bigger watch and case companies, John Dueber's reputation was pretty impecable. 

Farino, Greg. "Dueber webfile." Message to the author. 16 May 2011. E-mail.

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.

Heald, Edward T. The Stark County Story. 3rd ed. Vol. 4. Canton, OH: The Stark County Historical Society, 1958. 262-275. Print.

Graphic images: 

John C. Dueber--used by permission from Edward Thouvenin, private collection

The Ship record with the family's name--used by permission from Greg Farino, private collection

The Dueber Watch Case Factory--used by permission from The McKinley Presidential Library & Museum, Canton, Ohio)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sharing more of the project

Over the next several blog posts, I would like to share with you what I spoke about at the Ward Francillon Time Symposium.  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.  

How it started...
I am not an historian nor am I a watch aficionado, so you are probably wondering how I became involved in the Dueber-Hampden story. I am a college professor at a small Catholic co-educational university in north- east Ohio.  To keep current in my field, my primary goal was I wanted to learn more about social media—specifically blogging.  I wasn’t sure what to blog about, and someone suggested the Dueber-Hampden Watch Works.  I really didn’t know much about it, other than I did know there was a Dueber Avenue, so I was intrigued.  I did some preliminary research and found there wasn’t much on the internet about Dueber-Hampden, most of what I found was e-bay listings.  So to learn about Dueber-Hampden Watch Works I would need to make a trip to McKinley Presidential Library and Museum in Canton to learn more.  I wondered how much information can I collect about a company that was more than a hundred years old, and has been out of business since the 1930s. 

My initial thought was to create a digital story interviewing people connected with The Works and incorporate that into my blog. To continue with my project I was able to write an Arts in Stark grant that would fund my project. Part of the requirements for the grant was to have a public exhibit. What is more interesting is that by creating a digital cache so to speak on line, I find there is a growing interest in collecting Dueber-Hampden Watches, and learning more about the Dueber-Hampden Watch Works and its history. In addition to blogging, I created a small community of interested fans on a Dueber-Hampden Face Book page.  One of the interesting and an exciting part of the research has been uncovering some of the lost pieces that many people were not aware of.

Like I said, I am not a collector, nor am I an historian.  The success of this project lays primarily with the collaboration of some key Dueber-Hampden collectors, Bob Dasko, Bob Arnold, Bob Kerr, Bob Capastrain, and Edward Thouvenin. Thanks goes to UK blogger Alan Garrett for sharing his information, and Geneologist Greg Farino who is documenting the Dueber Family tree.  I must also add a special thanks to Dave Miller of Michigan and Ralph Goodenberger, both of whose grandfathers were part of the move of Dueber Hampden to Russia.

How I came to speak at the Ward Francillon Time Symposium, was that when we held our Spending time with Dueber-Hampdenevent,  Patti Moore came to Canton, and invited me to speak to at the Symposium about my project. Thank you to Patti Moore and the NAWCC who allowed me to share my project and my research. 

The Beginnings...
No one could have predicted the future for twelve-year-old John C. Dueber when he immigrated with his parents to America from Germany (about 1851). An early apprenticeship as a watch maker put Dueber on the road to a future in the watch making industry that would span several decades, touch many lives, and change the makeup of several cities.

In the upcoming blogs I would like to share with you an overview of my research into Dueber-Hampden Watch Works, its beginnings at Canton, Ohio and the dispersion of the factory to Russia. Some of the research I have blogged about already, but as I continue to research and talk with different people who know more about the "Watch Works,"  I continue to uncover more interesting stories. 

Wishing all my blog readers a blessed holiday season.  

This copy of the original painting by Tom Franta, was commissioned by the Canton Rotary Club of Canton to be placed on Christmas cards.  The painting shows the Dueber Watch Case building of the Dueber Hampden Watch Company circa 1925. The great Watch Works was sold to Russia and the buildings were torn down.  The clock from the clock tower can be seen in operation at the McKinley Museum in Canton.