Friday, December 23, 2011

Third in a series about Dueber-Hampden Watch Works from the Ward Francillon Time Symposium

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

John Dueber moved his residence back and forth between Cincinnati, Ohio and Newport Kentucky.  He was friendly to the citizens of Newport.  But about 1886 John Dueber’s trouble began that changed the fate of the workers and the case company in Newport.
Image: Dueber Watch Case Factory in Newport, Kentucky.  Image used by permission from the  Northern Kentucky Views

In Newport, Kentucky, John Dueber recognized the benefits of having natural gas piped directly into his factories and began laying the foundation and gas lines to make natural gas available to his company, as well as the citizen of Newport, his eagerness was however, not met with approval or the city council, or the citizens of Newport.  They felt that Dueber was getting Newport to pay for his gas lines.
Another difficulty for John Dueber was that he had been in the watch manufacturing business since 1863, when he was in partnership with Francis Doll.   Around 1886, Dueber's difficulties began with the watch case cartel. In was during the mid-1880s that 19 watch case manufacturers formed a cartel. The cartel members agreed to only make so many cases, and to charge a specific price for those cases. Any case manufacturer who refused to join the cartel, or who made more cases, or lowered the price below the floor price would be punished. The cartel refused to sell cases to any watch distributor who also did business with the John Dueber, or the non-members. History isn't clear on whether John Dueber refused to join the cartel, or if he defected, but the cartel agreed on November 16, 1887, in New York City, that the members of the cartel would not sell, or do business with any distributor who would buy or sell goods from the Dueber Watch Case Company (Troesken, pg. 285-286).

The Hampden Watch Factory in Springfield, Massachusetts; Abbott, Henry G.  The Watch Factories of America, Past and Present.   A Complete History of Watchmaking in America, from 1806 to 1888 inclusive.

At this same time Dueber was also having difficulties with three of his best customers, Elgin, Waltham, and Illinois, and he lost all their business.  Because Dueber was having a difficult time selling his cases, he went to Springfield, MA and discovered the Hampden Watch works and Dueber decided to buy the Hampden Watch Works of Springfield, Massachusetts. Because Dueber couldn't expand his factories in Newport, Kentucky, nor in Springfield, he made it known that any city willing to put up $100, 000 would get his Dueber Case Company of Newport, and the newly purchased Hampden Watch Works of Springfield along with 2,000 employees, and their families.

This image (above) shows a new model 1890 movement, 16 size,from the Hampden Watch Company (used with permission of the Edward Thouvenin collection).

Click this link to take  A look back to our Spending Time with Dueber-Hampden Event  August 10, 2010.

Thanks for supporting my blog. The purpose of this blog is to share the history of the Dueber-Hampden Watch Works, if you use the photographs, graphics or the research, please cite my collectors who have generously shared their collections with this blog and the public, and cite the research.

Troesken, Werner. "The Letters of John Sherman and the Origins of Antitrust." Review of Austrian Economics. 15.4 (2002): 275-295. Print.

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