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. 


  1. Very interesting, and I am quite sure you have done much research on the old Dueber-Hampden Watch Works Factory. I remember the site well, as a child at the time interstate 77 was being routed through the Canton area. My father worked at Diebold's in Canton for many years, and as a child I was taken to the Dueber-Hampden Watch Works to see Santa Claus.....which was sponsored partly at least by Diebold's but held at the old Watch Works Factory. It always seems like such an enormous building. It was too, one of those old Canton Landmarks that was a shame to be seen go!!! Very interesting article here, and I will try to read more of your stories. Thank you for your efforts in putting this all together! Fantastic job you are doing for our community!

  2. Sounds like the old building (Dueber-Hampden) played a part in your childhood memories. I enjoyed hearing your story of Christmas and how your father took you to meet Santa at the Dueber-Hampden Watch Works.

    Thanks for reading the blog and for sharing your reflection with us.