"Beyond Springfield & Moscow."

I'm using this platform to set out the results of my investigations into the remarkable story wrapped around the people and companies involved with Hampden watches.

In a nutshell this story should interest people trying to find out more about, Hampden watches, the Dueber Watch Case Co., The Mozart Watch Co., The New York Watch Co., The Manheimer Watch Co., The Clinton Watch Co. (Hampden Watch Corporation). Additionally, Type-1 watches made during the Soviet era in the two Moscow factories and at Zlatoust & Chistopol. 
Geographically the story has it's origins in Italy, it's birth and re-birth in the USA with it's genetics finally ending-up in the USSR. Sociologically the story throughout involves a succession of migrants from the old world making their mark in the new world and takes place in the diverse ideology of both capitalism and communism.

Much of my content covers the important Dueber period. This was comparatively easy to research as it had been well documented earlier - both by Cantonians and Horologists.

In particular I wanted to include more about the contribution Hampden patterns, tools and staff made to the Soviet Watch Industry and, in turn, it's role in perpetuating Hampden technology for a further four decades. The USSR's ability to produce fine horological devices was somewhat unfairly dismissed by Gibbs in his definitive publication "From Springfield to Moscow". This whole chapter is now available in a sister publication which has well defined links later on.

Just prior to the Hampden movement being transported to the Soviet Union a 'White Émigré who had escaped the purges following the communist revolution, was building up the Clinton Watch Co. in the US. There is little documentation in the public domain about the important and extended period when the Hampden heritage was rescued by the Manheimer Watch Co., and later the Clinton Watch Company., today's Hampden Corporation and I hope to engage others to contribute to that important chapter in the brands survival. 
This is not a work of great academia - I'm a storyteller not an expert. I have no wish to hide the fact that I have transposed other peoples work. I have sought continuity, rather than simply changing the source material for the sake of disguising it. My purpose it simply to link strands, part stories, articles and snippets together to take the story forward as a whole. Nevertheless, I hope you will find much, previously un-published, new information.

Statue of Sir John Hampden in St. Stephen's Hall, Houses of Parliment, London, England.
It is necessary to start in 1864 to discover the origin of the Hampden Watch Co. The seed was sown by a man who would, in the end, not have any actual association with Hampden; Donald Joaquin Mozart. Mozart was born in Italy in 1818 and emigrated to the US with his parents at the age of three.

According to Mozart specialist Jon Hanson, his father was a watchmaker in Italy before emigrating to the US, whereupon he carried on his trade in Boston, Mass. Six years after arriving in Boston, Donald was enticed, by the promises of some bright shells, on board a vessel lying at Boston harbor. For the next seven years he was forced to sail around the world until he eventually managed to escape and return home to Boston. When he did get back no trace of his family could be found and despite many efforts to find them all proved futile.

It is said that he had an aptitude for mechanics and that he made a living as an itinerant watchmaker. By the age of 36 he had found his way to Xenia, Ohio where in September 1855 he married Anna Maria Huntington and set up a jewellery business. By 1860 three children had been born to the couple, who lived in Yellow Springs just north of Xenia, their names were Donna, Estella and Florence. A fourth daughter Anna would be born in 1862 in New York. Don was by all accounts a little temperamental, somewhat unstable and difficult to live with, nevertheless he and Anna Maria remained married until his death.

Don spent much of his time experimenting, developing and inventing watches. Sometime between the birth of Florence and Anna he abandoned his jewellery business and moved to New York City and then to Bristol, Connecticut. Here he planned to manufacture a clock of his own invention, a complicated clock on which he held several patents. This enterprise ended in failure due to manufacturing difficulties and the family moved back to New York. He had however attracted the attention of some backers and in the spring of 1864 the Mozart Watch Co. was organised in Providence, Rhode Island, the incorporators being mostly wholesale and manufacturing jewellers. The company was founded on the basis of a Mozart designed, 18 size, three wheel watch which would become known as the "Three-Wheeled Mozart".
Mozart Patent
From the outset progress was slow and there appeared little prospect of Mozart being capable of turning his design into a viable product. The stockholders finally decided that Mozart's watch would never be a success and that the sooner they abandoned it, the better off they would be. In the summer of 1866 Donald Mozart was dismissed from the company that bore his name. L. W. Cushing, of The Waltham Watch Co., was placed in Mozart's position, with instructions to construct the necessary machinery to build a regular 18 size three quarter plate lever movement.

Stiles & Co., of West Meriden, Conn., wrote to Cushing on the 20th August 1866.
© 2012 Richard D. Dickerson.
With Mozart gone the company changed its name, in 1867, to the New York Watch Company and moved to Springfield Massachusetts where it purchased two buildings into which it moved the machinery. The site was between modern-day Van Horn Park and Wait Street on the north side of Armory Road. The buildings consisted of a large boarding house and a large building which had previously been occupied as a machine shop. Along with the name change the company was reorganised and the capital increased to $300,000. The former president and secretary retained their offices; George Walker was elected as Treasurer and O. P. Rice became business manager. The General Manager was John C. Perry and Henry J. Cain was Manufacturing Superintendent. The ability of last two men to work well together had much to do with the initial success.

Left & Center: 1880 Springfield map by permission of s
see "Hampden Co◼︎" below the Reservoir. Right: Current Google™ map. The Reservoir is in Van Horn Park
1868 New York Watch Company "Homer Foot" movement - Internet sourced picture.
The factory was destroyed by fire on April 25th 1870, but many of the machines and much of the materials were saved. The company cleared away the debris and moved the boarding house into the position previously occupied by the factory. It was re-modelled and after about three months was in operation again. The first movements placed on the market were known as "The Springfield", "John L. King," "Homer Foot,” "No. 5," “J. A. Briggs,” ”H. G. Norton," and "Albert Clark", many of these names being company officers. In 1871 the company placed a size-18 full plate movement on the market.

The factory did well until the year of the economic panic of 1873 when they began to fall behind. They finally pulled through 1873-74 by reducing the number of employees but in 1875 they decided to close the factory.

The stockholders reorganized under the name of the New York Watch Manufacturing Company but this did not last long, for within eight months the factory was again closed.

In the Spring of 1877 the stock and bond holders once again reorganized, this time under a new name the Hampden Watch Company. Using fresh capital, they purchased the machinery from the old New York Watch Manufacturing Company. In effect the Hampden Watch Co., virtually succeeded the New York Watch Manufacturing Company.

Homer Foote remained from the New York Watch Manufacturing Company and became the first Hampden President. Charles D. Rood became the Treasurer and Business Manager. Rood was born in Ludlow  Massachusetts on December 31st 1840. After school went to work for the New York jewelry firm of Warren & Spadone, eventually becoming a managing partner. The firms name was changed to Spadone, Rood & Company and became very successful in the manufacture and importing of diamonds and some of the finest watches available from Europe. He sold his interest in Spadone & Rood and re-invested in the Hampden Watch Company, in which he became the driving force.

Henry J. Cain was made superintendent,having previously held that position in the New York Watch Company. The old movement of the New York Company was re-modelled by Cain and the factory opened in the summer of 1877. In 1881 a new brick building was erected, 40 x 100 feet, with three stories a basement and a central tower. The factory's power was generated by a ninety-horse power steam engine, situated in a building at the rear of the main structure. The company turned out fourteen grades of movements, all full-plate with the exception of the " State Street" which was a size-16 three-quarter plate with gilded steel. The capacity of the factory was 400 movements per day and 400 people were employed.

For the first time since 1872 Charles Rood and this new management team allowed the company to prosper and by 1885 it was paying a 10% dividend and had accumulated a cash reserve of some $100,000. That year one of it’s case supplier, Mr John C. Dueber, of the “Dueber Watch Case Company” of Newport Kentucky, bought a controlling share. Cain and Rood remained in place and continued to manage the watch works for a further six years, first in Springfield and then later in Canton, Ohio.
Newspaper clipping of Charles D. Rood. Six years after the Dueber take over, and the factory’s move to Canton, Cain and Rood would move-on and contribute towards founding the Hamilton Watch Company. Rood made a fortune as it's President from 1891 to 1896 and from 1900 to 1910 but lost it trying to manufacture recording equipment.

Following his dismissal Don Mozart moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he became the catalyst around which a new Mozart Watch Company would be formed. It's not clear if the Ann Arbor company used the name with or without the consent of the original Providence company (by now called the New York Watch Company). Whatever the case was, in business terms the Mozart name would have had little value, perhaps would even be seen as a liability - which indeed it turned out to be.
Don Mozart is now Superintendent of the Ann Arbor concern. The capital stock was two hundred thousand dollars and the incorporators who joined Mozart were local businessmen. W. A. Benedict, C. T. Wilmot, W. W. Wheedon, A. J. Southerland and Charles Tripp. A factory was rented and machinists hired to build the necessary machinery. The movement was the same "three-wheeled” one which he tried to have the Mozart Company, of Providence, introduce. Obstacles of various kinds began to present themselves and the progress of the work did not please the stockholders. Nearly three years had elapsed since the organisation of the company and again there was no fruits to show for the labour and money expended. Funds began to run short and in the winter of 1870 the stockholders decided to sell out if a buyer could be found. Some thirty odd movements were finished at this time, all of them given to stockholders and friends; none were placed on the market. Some of the watches made at Ann Arbor have survived, as per Jon Hanson's example below.

At this time the “Rock Island Watch Company” was organised in Rock Island, Illinois and after an inspection of the Mozart Watch Co. machinery they decided to purchase it. The price paid for the plant was $40,000 plus $25,000 in stock of the new company and a note for the balance. No available site could be found for the factory at Rock Island and accordingly the town of Milan, some seven miles below the city, was selected as a fitting place for the factory. The watch movement chosen for the Company was somewhat like the Mozart movement. After the machinery was moved to Milan and placed on the floor of the new building, the stockholders came to the conclusion that it was not just what they wanted. Accordingly they refused to pay the notes for $15,000. The Mozart Company sent a representative to Milan to sort things out, which resulted in the return of the machinery to the Mozart Company and the payment of $5,000.

In 1874 the “Freeport Watch Company” was formed in Freeport, Illinois, with capital of $250,000 by some ‘businessmen’ (draw your own conclusions) from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Freeport, Illinois. Part of the old Mozart plant was purchased for $51,000; $1,000 cash and $50,000 in stock in the new company. A brick building was erected in Freeport, 40 x 100 feet and the machinery moved into it. This company never manufactured many movements as the factory was burned down on the night of October 21, 1875 and the building and contents were a total loss. The company were insured for $30,000.

Don Mozart was unemployed and had trouble managing his affairs and had ceased his connection to any watch making business. He had returned to the jewellry trade where he tinkered with a new watch design. This watch movement wound itself for a days operation by being opened and closed five times. But he was said to have lost his mind completely when he took the watch to pieces and later couldn't fit all the parts back together again. He was taken to Kalamazoo Hospital but despite treatment he was deemed incurable and was moved back to Ann Arbor. Prof. O. W. Stephenson, in his "History of Ann Arbor the First Hundred Years", wrote that Mozart died at the Washtenaw County Poorhouse and Insane Asylum, on Thursday March 15th 1877, of what was called at the time "congestion of the brain".

Don Mozart was buried with Masonic honor's after a service at the Episcopal Church.

Legendary Ann Arbor Three-Wheeled Mozart Watch. Courtesy of Jon Hanson

Dueber the man.
John Carl Dueber was born in Öbernetphen, Prussia in 1841 and emigrated to the United States at the age of 12, together with his parents Johannes & Katharina (nee Schmitt) and his sister Pauline. The Duebers arrived on October 20th 1853 aboard the steamer 'SS Herder', having sailed from the city state of Bremen. John was listed on the ships records as Johannes Dueber, the same name as his father. The Dueber family eventually settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

After leaving school John Dueber took up a five year apprenticeship with Francis Doll the Cincinnati watch case maker who was active between 1857 and 1872. Sometime in the 1860's, according to a NAWCC report, Dueber set up his own comapnay case making workshop in association with Doll. However, Frank Doll left the partnership after about one year. By 1874 Dueber had raised enough capital, with help from his father-in-law John Daller, to enabled him to establish a watch case factory across the Ohio river to Newport Kentucky.

John had become a naturalized US citizen on the 21st of July 1871. He was a battler noted for pugnacity and tenacity. His demina was said by his Great Grandson as being typically 'Prussian'. Indeed, Canton and in particular North Canton (known as New Berlin until WWI) was predominantly a German community and the Dueber household spoke German right up to WWI, some 10 years after John's death.

When in his 60’s he described himself, in his passport application, as 5' 10½" tall, with a high and round forehead, greenish brown eyes, a slightly aquiline nose, round face, medium sized mouth.

Left to right: John C. Dueber and his sons Joseph C. Dueber and Albert M. Dueber. (greatly facilitated by Richard Haldi)
Throughout his business life Dueber would remain in sole charge of company policy. Whilst at times there may have been other partners, they would be sleeping ones. His closest advisor was Col. W. A. Moore, who was Secretary, Treasurer and General Manager of the Dueber company for about 22 years. Indeed, Col. Moore was one of the original incorporators in 1886. By the end of his life he had secured all the stock in both the Hampden and Dueber companies, a state of affairs unique in American watchmaking.

When, in 1885, he bought a controlling interest in the Hampden Watch Company, of Springfield Mass., Charles D. Rood was President, after the move to Canton he was replaced by W. W. Clark who became President and Treasurer. Clark served in those positions until 1895 when Dueber took over the roles himself.

Other notable officers of the company were H.A Wadsworth, an English born case maker, who had moved with the company from Newport and was the Watch Case Works Superintendent, later to be replaced by H. W. Detmering. V. S. Corey, was Superintendent of the Hampden Watch Co., all three men had worked for him for 20 years or more.

However, there was another side to John Dueber. Whilst still in Newport he became embroiled in underhand dealings involving a competitor. The following extract has been compiled from a report published in “The Trader & Canadian Jeweler” March 1883...
The Keystone Watch Case company of Philadelphia utilised their Jas. Boss patent* to manufacture gold watch cases in one piece, a technique they were later able to apply to silver cases. Their cases had many advantages over Dueber’s and began to hurt his sales to such an extent that he sent spies to either find out what was behind the process, or poach away some key workers. Dueber chose Dick Clarke for the job and authorised him to spend as much money on wining and dining Keystone staff as was necessary. However, Clarke encountered a loyal workforce who ate and drank with him and then reported the situation back to Hagstoz & Thorpe, the Keystone owners. The matter was brought to a head when Dueber and Clarke travelled to Philadelphia and tried to entice key apprentices to come and work for him, with the offer of higher wages. This practice contravened State Law and gave Hagstoz & Thorpe the opportunity to have John Dueber & Dick Clarke arrested and charged. The men were apprehended at the Wall Street Theatre (which the report insinuated was a venue for the enjoyment of “Forbidden Fruits”) and later bailed in the amount of $8,000 per man. Hagstoz & Thorpe claimed $85,000 in compensation for lost business.
The report does not say what the outcome of the legal procedure was but does reproduce a damming letter (that was in Keystone’s possession) sent from the Dueber company’s office instructing Dick Clarke upon his spying missions, not only with regard to Keystone but other companies such as Waltham.

I should also point out a discrepancy between the report and the history of the Keystone company according to NAWCC. "Between 1883 and 1885 T. B Hagstoz withdrew from the company which became C. N. Thorpe Co. and shortly thereafter it was reorganised as the Keystone Watch Case Co."

I will now include the following technical note as it shows why the Boss patent created such a dilemma for John Dueber and his prospects.
*NAWCC: "James (Jas.) Boss received a patent for 'spinning up' cases made of 'gold-filled' type material. That is, material made of a sheet of composition metal (usually brass) sandwiched between two thin sheets of gold. Boss formed cases by rolling sheet metal as opposed to the traditional method involving soldering and cutting. Rolling increased the molecule density of the metal. His patent, No. 23,820 of May 3, 1859, revolutionised the watch case industry by enabling the production of not only less expensive, but considerably stronger cases. Unlike gold washed cases, which were made using electroplating, cases produced by means of rolling had much harder gold surfaces and were thus less apt to wear."
NAWCC: Further evidence in an excerpt from a letter written by Mr. John J. Bowman (one of the earliest members of NAWCC and long term proprietor of the Bowman School of Watchmaking in Lancaster, Pennsylvania) on May 13. 1954., describes still another dark side of Mr. Dueber.
"At the time of the Dueber Keystone war, Keystone used in some of their hunting cases, a patented lid lifting spring; the base of this was made of lead, for the definite purpose of 'pressing' it to a tight trim fit in its seat in the case centre. Dueber used the opportunity to publish and circulate, in ads, circulars, etc., an accusation of the 'Tombstone Watch Case Co.' of 'stuffing gold cases with lead,' claiming outright that this was to swindle buyers of their product by selling lead for gold."
NAWCC: Another John J. Bowman letter undated also refers to the Dueber Keystone fight and gives a personal impression of Dueber.
"When I was a boy, John Dueber visited my father and stayed at our house in Lancaster  [Pennsylvania]. I have a very clear recollection of him; I remember his forceful personality; it made a strong impression on me. I can still 'see' him, in my mind's eye. As nearly as I can figure it out, this visit of his was about 65 years ago. Mr. Dueber was dressed in the fashion of that day for an industrial 'big-shot', his suit was of black cloth, with a very low-cut vest with an expanse of 'boiled shirt' bosom and a very fine diamond stud in the centre of it. Mr. Dueber at dinner, made quite a fuss about mother's 'huckle pie' and asked for a second serving of it and I recall how we children, when we got together after dinner, were amused that he said 'huckle pie' in praising and asking for some more of that deliciousness! At the time of Dueber's visit, father had a large business wholesaling watches, tools, and materials and no doubt Dueber's visit was in connection with Dueber-Hampden watches. I remember, in father's office, seeing in the trade journals of that day, some of Dueber's advertisements during his war with the 'watch case trust' and his picturesque language, even referring in his publications to the Keystone Watch Case Company as the: 'Tombstone Watch Case Company.' Those were the days!"
Whilst on the subject of watch cases, many questions are asked about the various types of gold watches on offer. I found a great explanation on-line by Elizabeth at Vintage and Antique Jewelry which I will reproduce...
ROLLED GOLD: Rolled gold is a very thin sheet of gold that is laminated to a lesser metal (most often brass). The two layers of metal are heated under pressure to fuse them together. Jewelry made from rolled gold wear very well over time. It is a very economical substitute for solid gold as it looks and feels just like solid gold. Rolled gold pieces are marked "rolled gold", "RG" or"RGP". Sometimes, there may also be a mark "10 mc", "20 mc" or "50 mc". The "mc" stands for "micron" and indicates thickness of the layer of gold. There may also be an indication of the quality of gold e.g. "9 ct RG", "14 ct RG" or even "22 ct RG". Please do not confuse solid gold with rolled. If in any doubt, always ask the seller for clarification.

GOLD FILLED: Gold-filled is composed of a solid layer of gold bonded with heat and pressure to a base metal, very often brass. High quality gold filled pieces have the look, luster, and beauty of 14 ct gold. The minimum layer of gold in an item stamped "GF" must equal at least 1/20 the weight of the total item. You may also come across items marked "1/20" or "1/50". "1/20 12kt GF" is the most common stamp you will find on gold filled jewelry. 10kt and 14kt are also quite common. Gold filled or rolled gold items, even with daily wear, can last 5 - 30 years but will eventually wear through. 
GOLD PLATED: Gold-plated metal has a very thin layer of gold on the surface, usually applied by the process of electroplating. Gold plated items are often marked "GEP", "gold electroplate", "gold plated", or "electro-plaqué d'or". Because the layer of gold is very thin it will wear off much quicker. 
GOLD WASHED: "Gold washed" are metals that have an extremely thin electroplating of gold (less than 0.175 microns thick). This will wear away much quicker than gold plate, gold-filled, or rolled gold . The gold is applied by either dipping or burnishing the metal, but it is not plated. 
GOLD TONE: Gold coloured or electro-plated metals where no gold has been used in the process.
Dueber’s workers were classed as skilled and he expected them to dress and act accordingly. Factory photos show the men in collar and tie, and ladies in fine dresses. A confirmed story has it that upon leaving the Canton factories after work John's private carriage, complete with fine matching horses, passed by an employee who shouted "Goodnight John". Dueber regarded this as disrespectful and improper, he promptly rose to his feet, pointed at the employee and said in return, "You're fired".

John and his family were devout catholics and the clergy were regular visitors to the Dueber household. He was, however, not austere and lived well when his companies prospered. Whilst still living in Newport he kept a "party boat" on the Ohio river, called the "Olivet". He used this to take up to a hundred employees at a time out for excursions, once as far as the Upper Ohio. Built as a low water packet by George Strecker and Rodick Bros., in 1882 at Knox Yard, Harmar, Ohio, its engines were refitted from the steamer "Science". The Olivet spent most of her first five years running various trades on the Muskingum River out of Zanesville. Shortly thereafter it was sold to John Dueber, who eventually sold the Olivet to Biddle Bros., of Parkersburg, West Virginia.

© Courtesy R. F. Vail
On May 23, 1865 John married Mary A. Daller. She was the daughter of John and Teresa Daller and their wedding took place at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, Cincinnati. The couple would have four surviving children, Joseph, Albert, Estella and Pauline.

In later life Mary Dueber became an austere women who dressed in black and did not endure herself to her wider family. This probably had its roots in the Dueber’s move to Canton from their home in her beloved Cincinnati. She resisted the move to Canton, which she saw as a backwards and unsophisticated, she said Canton had pigs running through the streets. She pledged that if she was forced to live there she would never leave the house, and she pretty much kept her word. Whatever she needed she ordered from Cincinnati and had it delivered.

One of the families most enduring stories tells of the day Mary answered the door to a man asking to see Mr Dueber, she nonchalantly turned and shouted back into the house "John there's a man at the door for you". That man was another prominent Cantonian, and personal friend of Dueber, President William McKinley.

Another family story recalls that not long after John's death Mary came across a cargo of Madeira wine John had had specially shipped from Spain. Mary destroyed it with an axe.

The Dueber & Hampden businesses.
According to James W. Gibbs in “Dixie Clockmakers” 1885/6 were pivotal years for Dueber. By this time sales had reached $1.5million and he had just incorporated the concern as the Dueber Watch Case & Manufacturing Company, with capital of $2million, amongst other named incorporators were John Daller, his father-in-law, and Col. W. A. Moore.

His operation was rapidly outgrowing the factories in Newport but due to a dispute between Dueber and the city administrators they did not allow him land on which to expand. The falling out occurred after Dueber had built a gas works to supply his factory. He later sold excess gas to adjoining companies and homes. Demand grew but the infrastructures requirment to pipe the gas led to claims over taxes. Instead of seeing this as progress for their city, the administration became intransigent. Dueber typically refused to bow down to pressure and instead decided to pull-up stakes and move.

John Dueber got embroiled in yet a another dispute, this time with three of his largest watch making customers Elgin, Waltham and Illinois. This resulted in them, and the Watch Case Trust, boycotting his products. 
In the early years of American watch making the then small number of companies made both cases and movements. As the industry developed separate companies were formed to make either cases or movements exclusively. The case factories used mass production techniques and multiplied faster than the movements manufacturers and soon there was overproduction of cases. The watch case manufacturers banded together and formed the infamous ‘Watch Case Trust’. Trusts were agreements between business competitors, selling the same product or service, regarding pricing, market allocation and agreement not to compete within each others geographic territories etc. John Dueber was opposed to trusts and refused to join. As a consequence he was subjected to a boycott which made trading very difficult.
Dueber was faced with two alternatives: Buy a watch company, to enable him to sell his cases as finished watches, or submit to the trust. True to his character, in 1885 he bought a controlling interest in another of his customers, the Hampden Watch Company of Springfield Mass.

So by 1886 with no opportunity to buy land to expand in Newport, or accommodate the newly acquired Hampden company, which continued to operate from Springfield, Mass. Dueber let it be known around the North Kentucky, South Ohio area that if a city or town could raise $100,000 in 'gift money' he would move the combined Dueber-Hampden companies, with some 1,500 to 2,000 employees. Which with added families members would mean a 7,500 to 10,000 increase in population.

When the city’s leaders of Canton heard about John Dueber's offer they wasted no-time in promoting their city.

The prospect of the arrival of the Dueber & Hampden companies came at a providential time. In the 1880's, the city's largest employer, C. Aultman & Co. faced an uncertain future having cut its workers' wages by 10 percent, claiming they were paid considerably more than competitors' employees. The firm also began closing down its factory from November to January each year, leaving workers unpaid for that period. Both actions placed a great hardship on the workers, their families and the city of Canton, where there was little alternative employment. The situation was made worse by the death of Aultman in 1884, the financial and social figurehead of Canton.

Canton is the county seat of Stark County in northeastern Ohio, approximately 60 miles south of Cleveland and 24 miles south of Akron. It was founded in 1805 on the West and Middle Branches of the Nimishillen Creek. Incorporated as a village in 1815, as a town in 1834 and as a city in 1854.

The Canton Board of Trade had recently been organized by Louis Shaefer and Charles Dougherty (right) and they now set out to raise the $100,000 needed to secure the factory. In just three months the full amount was in place. Twenty prominent leaders had guaranteed $5,000 each and the banks advanced the cash against their guarantees.

John C. Dueber was invited together with his eldest son, Joseph C. Dueber and a party of 40 associates and assistants, to a large meeting in Canton. The meeting was held at the Opera House in June 1886, with 1,500 attending. The Dueber’s were told that in addition to the gift of $100,000 by the citizens of Canton, 20 acres of farm land would be donated on which to site the factory buildings (later a further five acres would be donated for additional parkland to surround the factory). A congratulatory telegram was received from local Congressman William McKinley, later to become a personal friend of John Dueber and more importantly the 25th US President. The city council also agreed to a railroad spur running into the factory grounds from the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Work started on the new factories on October 14th, 1886. The plans called for two buildings for the two separate companies - the Hampden Watch Works to the south - the Dueber Watch Case Works to the north. The buildings had a combined frontage of 1,140 feet, almost twice as long as the large factory of their great rivals Waltham. The buildings were the last word in watch making architecture and were drawn up by Akron architects George W. Kramer and F. O. Weary. The park grounds surrounding the buildings brought a new note of impressive distinction and beauty to Canton's buildings, skyline and landscape. The central parts of each building served as offices and rose to 142 feet in height, the equivalent of 12 story skyscrapers. The turrets on the wings were 100 feet high and the steam-engine stack rose 150 feet. The most majestic landmark was the tower with the great clock, with its four faces, which kept time for the next 60 plus years.

Between 1886 and 1888, whilst John Dueber erected his factory, Canton busily built houses to provide homes for the hundreds of workers and their families, who were to come from Springfield and Newport.

The factory building operation got a set-back on the May 27th, 1888, when a terrific rainstorm and cyclone hit the south wing of the Hampden building (see photo below) and levelled it into a mass of ruins. The just completed wing, was 230 feet long, 30 feet wide and 3 stories high. Nobody was killed, or injured, but there was no cyclone insurance in place and the company had to absorb the $15,000 loss and several weeks of time. While John Dueber was looking over the ruins with his architects, 18 year old Ira Augnst approached him and asked for a job. Dueber engaged him on the spot. He was the first Canton citizen to be employed by the company and he continued working there for 41 years advancing to become head of the Heat Treatment department. He was also one of the 23 members of staff who would later go Russia.

As the factory openings neared there was a great buzz of excitement in Canton. A study of newspaper reports from that period reflects the degree of organisation that the city undertook. Committees were formed to take care of every possible eventuality. A big banquet was organised for the workers and members of their families. On the program, addressing the 560 guests, was Dueber’s friend Congressman McKinley.
Early in August of 1888 two special trains brought the first contingent of 250 Hampden workers from Springfield.  Operations at the Watch factory began immediately, a year earlier than the Watch Case Works. By the end of the first year the Hampden factory was employing 1,000 persons, and turning out 600 watches a day.

The Hampden building to the left, the Dueber building on the right nearest Tuscarawas Street. Circa 1902.

Factory shots (note staff photo on chest, bottom left)
In February of 1890 the company declared an 8 per cent dividend. Net assets of the two companies were reported as $609,000 (January 1891), with liabilities of $612,000. Hampden watches enjoyed a trade reputation of being amongst the highest grade on the market. Hampden watches were popular with railroad men, an important benchmark of the era. John Dueber had chosen wisely when he bought the Hampden company, where the skill of the watch workers was amongst the highest in America. Watch case engravers at the Case Works worked 10 hours a day, 59 hours a week and considered $15 good pay for a week according to a Canton Repository newspaper article of the time. 

It is possible that the Dueber & Hampden factories were unionised but in what year and by what union no one is sure. At least we know that in 1901 Eugene J. Gebel, a watch case engraver, was named the first President of the Canton Central Labor Union.

The year 1891 brought a temporary set-back when Charles Rood and Henry Cain left the Hampden Watch Company (to help set up The Hamilton Watch Company in Lancaster Pennsylvania). This event foreshadowed the impending economic panic of 1893 when many businesses, despite having good asset positions, became embarrassed for ready cash. Even though Hampden had assets three to one over liabilities, it became dollar short when Mr. Dueber bought out the interests of Mr. Rood. Total temporary indebtedness was about $300,000, none of which was overdue. Nevertheless references were filed (a pre-bankruptcy action) for $217,000 and Judge Day turned the companies over to Howard Douglas, a Cincinnati lawyer, as assignee. All operations were suspended for a week or two and Mr. Dueber had to put up $600,000 in mortgages. A combination of Dueber, Douglas, Judge Goebel of the Probate Circuit Court, and a trust of twenty Canton citizens, soon worked out the difficulties and in a few months the assignment was lifted. Six months later all the trust indebtedness was retired. Thus in the year 1891 Dueber and his family became the sole owners of both companies.

Rood & Cain's departure may have also interfered with Dueber's business dealings with the Webb C. Ball Co. of Cleveland Ohio. Ball placed large orders for "Ball's Standard Railway Watches' with Dueber and this period coincided with Dueber making it clear he manufactured the watches and that he sold the same watch under his own name. Rood & Cain were the ones with a personal relationship with Ball, who would also participate in the new Hamilton Watch Company. Indeed, Web Ball was a Vice President early in Hamilton's formation and had an exclusive agency for the western part of the US.

The Ball Watch Company did not manufacture watches directly. Web Ball's original jewelry business in Cleveland grew into the Ball Watch Company. From 1875 to 1879 Ball had been the business manager of the Dueber Watch Case Company. Web Ball helped develop the specifications for watches used by railroads. He selected the best movements available, perfecting them and then reselling them. Ball Watch Company also ordered watches from other watch companies and put the company name on the face and watch movements. Webb Ball established strict guidelines for the manufacturing of sturdy, reliable precision timepieces, including resistance to magnetism, reliability of time keeping in 5 positions, isochronism, power reserve, accompanied with record keeping of the reliability of the watch on each regular inspection.
The Waltham Watch Company complied immediately with the requirements of Ball's guidelines, later followed by Elgin Watch Company and most of the other American manufacturers, later on joined by some Swiss Watch Manufacturers. The Ball Watch Company branded and distributed watches made by Hamilton, Waltham, Illinois, Elgin, E. Howard, and Hampden. Watches marked "BALL & Co." are much more difficult to find than those marked "BALL WATCH Co." Ball watches are today some of the most collectible of the American railroad pocket watches. His attention to accuracy and promptness led to the well-known saying, "On the Ball."

Despite the watch business flourishing John Dueber still had to operate in the face of the watch case trust. This had been going on since before leaving Newport, all his fighting qualities were required to meet the continuing boycott by some 27 American watch case factories. They disapproved of his sale of cases to the Rockford Watch Company who did not restrict the sale of its products to the members of the association. By September 1888, he had succeed, in no small measure, in breaking the worst of the boycotts grip 

After the passage of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in 1890 John Dueber brought an anti-monopoly suit for $950,000 damages against The American Watch Trust for its alleged conspiracy to boycott his products. The combined capital against Dueber was about $10M. At that time the capital of the Dueber Watch Case Co. was $2M and of the Hampden Co. $0.2M. The courts decided against the Watch Trust in 1893 and the boycott was called off in 1895.

In August 1892 the beautiful landscaping about the buildings had been completed and the business were running at the rate of $3,000,000 a year. Hampden watches with 14 karat special filled cases and 17 jewel movements, said to have been the first on the market, commanded a high price because of their intrinsic value. Hampden brought out the first 23 jewelled watch movements in the US. Altogether the company brought out seven different sizes of watches, only one of which was discontinued. Karl Krumm was responsible for jeweling them all.

In 1896 a suit was brought against John Dueber by the Waltham and Elgin companies for infringing on the Colby Patent for pendant (stem) set watches. When the lower courts ruled against Dueber he carried the case to the District Court of Appeals before Judge Howard Taft (another future US President) and there won a reversal of the decision of the lower court.
The examples are diverse in content and reflect a bold, confident company at its zenith. One notable man
who worked in the Art Department at Hampden was Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Charles Macauley.
Retailers Trade Card - Morgan & Ruger, Elmira NY. (From my collection)
By 1896 cycling became the rage, people took bike excursions around the city and surrounding countryside. Members of the “Century Club” were admitted when they had completed 100 miles within 24 hours. Bike racks were provided for workers at the factory, at stores and schools. The two Dueber brother became devotees, riding around town impressing the local girls. It's not clear if they persuaded John Dueber to get into bicycle production, or if he saw it as a way to curb their lifestyles. Either way he did add bicycles to his production, in a special adjoining building next to The Watch Case Works. Manufacture continuing about five years until the space was needed. His bicycles were reported as 'the best in town' with the Dueber Special costing $85.

This enterprise was quickly disbanded when the watch case business needed to reclaim it's factory space to meet a large increase in orders, oddly enough from European watch makers.

There were of course some other prominent Ohio citizens capitalising on the national bicycle craze, the Wright brothers opened a repair and sales shop in Dayton in 1892 (the Wright Cycle Exchange, later the Wright Cycle Company) and began manufacturing their own brand in 1896. Wilbur kept time with his Hampden Railroad pocket watch, whilst Orville carried a Rockford Railroad pocket watch. They also used a Sun stopwatch.

Wilbur checks his watch at Le Mans 
It is thought that neither of John's sons were exactly cast in his mould and that they had a reputation for being something of playboys. Nevertheless, both followed him into the company. The younger son Albert M. Dueber would eventually be the last Dueber to run the company. The eldest son Joseph had been groomed to take over the business but sadly he fell ill and died suddenly on the last day of the 19th century, aged 28, a blow both to his father and to the future prospects of the company. Taken from the 1885 Course Catalog of Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH. Joseph C. Dueber's recorded achievements. Second Premium in both Maths & Book-Keeping - Distinction in Grammar - Distinction in German - Distinction in Penmanship - Excellent Deportment.
John Dueber was a staunch supporter of William McKinley and also personal friend. Although he never sought political office himself he fought hard to get McKinley elected as President in March 1897. It would seem he was a little over zealous and according to the neighbouring Zanesville newspaper report, reproduced below, took steps that would not seem correct today.

The local, strongly Republican, Canton Repository newspaper may not have reported this incident as John Dueber and his associate Col. Moore had bought shares in The Repository Printing Company, the papers publisher, in Sept. 1890, George Frease was their partner and majority shareholder; John Dueber was it's President until his death.

On September 6th 1901, McKinley after assassinated by Leon Czolgosz. Dueber was chosen by the McKinley family to act as an honorary pall bearer at his state funeral. The photo below shows him (seated far right) with the other bearers.
Dueber seated right. Image courtesy of the Peninsula Valley Historic & Education Foundation.
Any other picture you see of John Dueber will be a fake!  
© Courtesy R. F. Vail
One year after McKinley's assassination finds John Dueber writing to President Roosevelt's office seeking an interview with the President in which he boldly proposes a solution to the 'Miners War'. (see letter above)

In 1903 John Dueber travelled to Europe with his younger daughter Estella, where together they visited his native Prussia. When he and his daughter returned to Canton, they were met at the station by a crowd of 3,000 people and a band. Following his return he sent a clock to be put in the church tower at Netphen. During World War II the church was bombed, but the tower and clock were unharmed.

Significant events were on the horizon of the American watch industry. During 1905 capital in the Dueber & Hampden companies had been reduced from $2,000,000 to $500,000.

By Wednesday November the 6th 1907, the Dueber and Hampden factories were operating with 3,000 employees. No longer at capacity for the huge buildings, which had at times ran four nights a week, making a beautiful sight, all lit up. John Dueber’s health had not been to good during the previous year but nothing serious was diagnosed or expected. On Tuesday, November 5th, he had felt unwell at his work and had been taken home. He was put to bed but gradually weakened over the next 24 hours. With his family around him he passed away during the afternoon of the 6th. The reported cause of death was Paralysis of the Heart. John Carl Dueber was 66 years old.

Report of the death of John C. Dueber. Photo simulation © Author.

At the time of Duebers' death H. W. Detmering was the superintendent of the Dueber Watch Case Mfg. Co, and V. S. Corey, was the superintendent of the Hampden Watch Co. Both me acted as pallbearers at Duebers funeral; as did William Doll.
Albert Dueber (born July 31st 1874 - died April 20th 1945), who since the death of his elder brother in 1899, had been Vice-President (he also operated part of the time as a travelling salesman) became President of both the Hampden & Dueber companies; he was 33 years old and would head the companies for another 18 years.
Through correspondence with his grandson I learnt that Albert was a kind, gentle, fun loving man much loved by his daughters and that he did not have the 'Prussian' characteristics of his father. Whilst he did not keep horses himself he was an avid follower of the races and went to the Kentucky Derby each year. He loved to read Western Novels and complete jigsaw puzzles he ordered from England. After the watch factory was sold Albert became President of the George D. Harter Bank. Unfortunately the bank failed during the Great Depression, much to his consternation. Indeed he used much of his own money to help depositors who had gotten into difficulties.

Albert was not only unlucky in business but also in love and his marriage to Jenny Hollinshead ended around 1916. Jenny and Alberts mother had had their difficulties and that that may have been at the root of the problem; neither Albert or Jenny remarried.
Perhaps not the greatest crime in history

Whilst he lived a simple life, he also counted amongst his friends the singer, comedian, actress, and radio personality Sophie Tucker. And Sol Hess the comic strip writer best known for creating the long-run strip 'The Nebbs'. 'The Nebbs' was populated with people known to Hess.

Editorial from the Evening Repository (Canton, Ohio), March 5, 1929. 
Mr Albert M. Dueber recalled Hess’s early days in business. Dueber, formerly President of the Dueber-Hampden company, not only knows Sol Hess and several of the characters very well, but in addition has been included in the column on several occasions as have his daughters, Josephine Dueber and Mary Jane Dueber Farrell.
“I first met Sol Hess about 30 years ago in Chicago,” Mr. Dueber relates.
“At that time he was errand boy in a jewelry store which was on my list and we became very good friends. He finally obtained his own store and was a jobber for Dueber-Hampden watches. Our salesman in the Chicago territory was Earl Stamm and he and Hess established a friendship. It is Earl Stamm’s son, John, who is the attorney representing Sylvia Appleby in the cartoon. The boy now is in college in Chicago.
Practically all of Hess’ characters are from real life. He is clowning his friends in most cases and many of his
pictures of them are true to life.”
John Dueber had achieved much during his 66 years, but he had also been fortunate as the majority of the time he built up his company coincided with a buoyant and expanding period in the watch industry in North America.

Many great changes for the watch industry were on the horizon, many companies would consolidate, many would fail. By the start of the 1920s only 17 of the 44 companies, listed in Robert H. Ingersoll & Brothers 1919 ‘History of American Watch Making’, were still operating. This was the environment Albert Dueber inherited. And from 1907 to 1925, some 18 years, he set a conservative course for the Dueber & Hampden companies, capitalising on many of the principles laid down by his father. To his credit he managed to kept the organisations afloat by maintaining the company’s share of a diminishing manufacturing base. Perhaps what we would today call downsizing, although judging from the staff photo (see factory collage above), taken in 1913, the organisation was still a significant employer at that time. 

In September 1910 a Canton Repository* editorial called 'LOOK TO FUTURE' reported a feeling of optimism when interviewing Albert M. Dueber, President and Treasurer of the Dueber Watch Case Manufacturing Co.
“While the future is entirely problematic,” said Dueber, “the outlook for the next 10 years is a promising one. The fact that Canton’s interests are so diversified, I think, is the most important factor in its prosperity an essential which makes for continued growth and progress.
The shipping facilities of the city make it a desirable location for manufacturing plants. It is but one night away from the important industrial centres of the country, and this alone means inducements for outside capital to invest here,” continued Dueber. “Manufacturing concerns in search of a new location realize that convenience to the large cities is a big economic step in their business.”
Canton was “pre-eminently a manufacturing town,” Dueber said, and its future would be derived from that status. “I hold an optimistic view for the future.”
* There is evidence that John Dueber's share in this newspaper was passed on to Albert. Indeed, the Dueber and Frease heirs retained strong business links until the 1980's according to Frease's Great Grandson Chuck Bennell.

A major shift in the industry was the transition from pocket watches to wristwatches. Not an easy one for a concerns that had built it's reputations on the former. Looking at the wristwatches produced at Canton, it’s apparent they are small pocket watch movements, re-cased with a wrist band. It is most likely that Hampden suffered from an inherent conservatism that believed wristwatches would be a passing fad. And by the time they realised they would replace the pocket watch in popularity, it was already too late. The opportunity to develop a modern wristwatch movement to compete with the rejuvenated Swiss, had gone. In all truth both the capital to finance such a project and the expertise to accomplish it, were probably both beyond the company’s resources. Perhaps, the drive needed to bring it off was also missing - maybe that would have been the destiny of the dynamic Joseph Dueber, had he lived. What we do know is that by the early 20’s companies like the Clinton Watch Co. of Chicago were springing up and capitalising on the trend of importing advanced, modern, low cost and reliable Swiss wristwatch movements. Ironically it was the Swiss who were almost put out of business by the emerging US watch industry only 50 years earlier. 

When Jacques David, of the Swiss Company Longines, attended the 1876 American Centennial Exhibition held in Philadelphia (the same year the Dueber Watch Case Co., was established) he reported his astonishment at the disparity of watch manufacturing technology then existing between US and Swiss companies. The American mechanised system was far in advance of Swiss ad-hoc methods, in that it brought together the entire production of watches under one roof, employing standardised machine-made parts made from improved machines and tools. In his opinion American chronometers of that time were better than the best the Swiss were able to construct.

On October 15th, 1915 a body was washed up on the coast of Ireland. The Lusitania had been struck by a torpedo from a German U-boat and sank in May of that year, and the man was presumed to be a victim of that tragedy. But he had no identification on him – except a Dueber-Hampden pocket watch serial number 3039347. Cunard Line officials were able to trace the man’s identity by contacting Dueber-Hampden in Canton, who were able to tell them who purchased the watch. The serial number indicated that the watch was purchased new that year. 
By 1922 the writing was on the wall for domestic American watch manufacturing. Evidence of the state of US manufacture and the move toward imports is evident in the transcript of the 1922 Tariff hearings before the Senate Committee on Finance.

Albert went to the trouble of hiring a brief to give evidence to the committee in favor of tariffs. He chose Roscoe Conklin McCulloch a lawyer and Republican politician who, at one time or another, represented Ohio in both the House and the Senate.

Here are some excerpts from the digest report (the full text is available on-line)...
The result of the deliberations, following the hearings, failed to protect domestic production and the watchmakers of Canton would soon perish despite the evidence of Mr. McCulloch. Another view is that the watch industry was outdated, un-competitive and that the man in the street was better served by the ready availability of good quality, reasonably priced, imported watches.

Whilst some manufacturers would gradually switch to imported movements, such as Hamilton, there is no evidence Albert Dueber intended to follow suit.

Right: R. C. McCulloch
A post 1923 photo as the name on the building also says Dueber Hampden Watch Company. 
Photo source 
A year after the 1922 hearings he merged the case making and watch companies as The Dueber-Hampden Watch Co., with a capital of $1,000,000. He continued as President and Treasurer of the merged organization, John Miller was the Works Superintenden, he had started with the company in 1889 when he was only 14-years-old and spent 40 years working there, moving up through the ranks.

The re-organization may have been a strategic precursor to finding a buyer as the company’s fortunes would continue a decline. In September 1925 the Dueber family did sell it's interest in the Dueber-Hampden Watch Co., to a group of Cleveland businessmen, fronted by Walter Vretman who had made his money in the Real Estate business.

Perhaps we could introduce some of the key workers at the factory during the latter period. Details of the large workforce are scant but we know some of the foremen, job bosses and supervisors who were chosen by the factory superintendent, John C. Miller, to go to Moscow to set-up the equipment and train staff. They were: Collins Wilcox foreman of the Flat Steel and Screw Department: Charles Hammer forman Automatic Linemen: Sue Killen head of the Department of Semi-Automatic Machines: William Goodenberger Master Mechanic: Alfred Fravel foreman of Tool Making shop: Isaac Jackson was the foreman of the Escapement Dept.: Theo Freymark a Machine Shop foreman: Joe Snyder was the Balance Dept. foreman: Ira Aungst job boss of the Model Makers.: G. Woolston was a Master Watchmaker: Louis Ryman was the Screw Dept. foreman: Karl Krumm headed the Motion Dept.: Victor Roust worked as job boss of the Escapement Dept.: H. Gebhart in charge of Finishing. Herman London was the job boss of the Leaf Cutting dept.

Vretman, bancruptcy and the sale to Amtorg.
The sale of Hampden by the Dueber family was the end of a era but I'm not going to make a separate chapter for the Vretman period; in effect the company only changed it's officers. Vretman became President; Fred G. Gatch, Vice-President; L. W. Wickham, Secretary; R. E. Rhyan Treasurer. The purchase price was $1,551,000.00. A price equal to the debts less $65,000 which was set as the commission for the sale. The assets were written up on the company’s books at $2,338,298 and offset by 8,000 new shares of non-par stock issued to the promoters in addition to 2,000 shares issued to the selling company. No new capital was invested.

With neither Vretman nor his associates having any experience in the watch business and insufficient working capital the company’s prospects were grim. Hardly any new raw materials were bought and many of the watches not shipped out on a consignment basis, were given to banks as collateral for loans. Difficulties in making payroll would see some employees being given watches in lieu of pay. these they were forced to offer door to door at a nominal price of $10 a piece.
A 1927 advert that shows the end of the range of watches offered.
The company does seem to have introduced the idea of using Swiss movements in Dueber cases. I have a watch with a "Dueber-Hampden Watch Co." stamped movement (see below) that was made in Switzerland. Henrick & Arnold (Hampden Watch Co. NAWCC 1997) catalog the ladies 21/0 size model ES358 with an imported movement made by the Venus Watch Co. of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland and sold as the "Lady Grace" and I believe mine matches their description all-be-it with a different dial graphic. There is no reference to the date of production but Grace was the name of Walter Vretman's wife, as evidenced by her share certificate below, so it's reasonable to assume 1926/7.
The tiny one inch long case was designed and built in house by Dueber-Hampden employee William Woesner for which he is recorded as having received a bonus.

My Dueber-Hampden "Lady Grace" with a Woesner case and Swiss movement.
A copy of Grace Vretman's share certificate.
In the end the company's reputation within the retail trade was severely damaged, which had repercussion for trade. This coupled with poor financing inevitably led to receivership and in 1927, that is precisely what happened, as evidenced by the receiver in his bankruptcy statement (below).

Vretman had a poor financial history as can be seen by Goggling the transcript of "Carr v. Savings Loan Co., 147 N.E. 641 (Ohio 1925)", if anyone is interested. It would seem his business dealings continued to decline as evidenced by a court report 10 years on: Harry F. Payer v. Commissioner. United States Tax Court. Entered October 8, 1946....
"In October 1938, petitioner lent the sum of $250 to Walter Vretman and obtained a demand note dated October 4, 1938 from the latter. Vretman, once a very wealthy man, was a well-known citizen of Cleveland who had engaged in the real estate business. Petitioner had had business dealings with him and had used him a number of times as an expert real estate witness in cases tried by petitioner. In requesting the loan, Vretman represented himself as being temporarily in need of funds. In 1940, Vretman had a heart attack from which he never recovered."
Raymond W. Loichot, of the First National Bank, Canton OH., was appointed Receiver by the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division. After working out the inventory and selling the assets, all operations ceased in 1930, 53 years after Hampden was first incorporated in Springfield and 42 years since the Canton factories got going.

For two years Loichot sought to sell the factory as a going concern but all his efforts were in vain. Indeed, all of the other American watch manufacturers were undergoing their own transitions.

And then chance intervened from the opposite side of the world - the machinery and tools would eventually be sold to the Amtorg Trading Corporation (see footnote), one of Soviet Russia’s buying agencies in the US, for $329.000. This amount was within $65,000 of the appraised value of the equipment, which would eventually fill 28 rail cars. For the record the 1st State Watch Factory archives (later Poljot) have it that two contract were signed on the 26th April 1929. The first was for factory equipment at $325,000 and the second for spares parts and part-finished timepieces at $125,000.
This letter from Loichot to Bodrov(ff) was found in the Russian State Archives and I'm grateful to Dmitry Pruss for his help retrieving it. Interestingly, it shows that Albert Dueber was still involved in the negotiations between Amtorg and the Receiver; possibly because Loichot was friendly with Dueber and relied on his assistance; probably as a creditor the other creditors chose him as their representative. What ever the truth is there is no doubt that his knowledge of the company was unparalleled.
Raymond Loichot would have relied heavily on the Factory Superintendent John C. Miller for technical help. Miller would lead the party of Canton watchmakers to Russia to train the new workers. On the Soviet side the chief Commissioner was Mr A. Vladiminsky, he was destined to become the Director of the new watch factory in Moscow. A. M. Bodrov was the official in overall charge of establishing the watch industry in the USSR. He was a political appointee and not a watchmaker or engineer. During his career he also established Ball Bearing factories and Remote Control experimental workshops.
Vladimirsky would have been told that four model, from the extensive Hampden range, had been chosen for production in Moscow and then worked with John Miller to identify what equipment was needed and also what spares could be utilised. Additionally, which ex-employees would be needed to train the new factory workers. Equipment and spares not associated with these four models would have been left in-situ and as we will see in the next paragraph, they would have been acquired by Albert Dueber.
Just click on any of this text to continue the story that tells of the twenty three former Dueber-Hampden watchmakers, engravers and various other technicians, who lost their jobs when the company went bust, were re-hired, on a years contract, to help train the Russian workers in the art of watchmaking. 
The party, including Sue Killen the only female watchmaker, left Canton on the 25th of February 1930 and spent several days in New York before setting sail aboard the RMS Aquitania on March 1st. The 8 day sea voyage was reportedly rough and ended in Cherbourg. The party reached Moscow on the 16th of March via Berlin and Warsaw. A band and a large crowd greeted them before they were taken to their allotted accommodation throughout the city. 
One worker was prevented from returning. He and his family remained in the USSR until his death in 1974 aged 81.
The land assets were appraised at $528,886.00 and buildings at $483,388.00. At a public sale the mortgagee, Albert Dueber, was the sole bidder.

The factory building were owned by the Dueber-Hampden Watch Company. But exactly who owned the freehold of the land is not so clear. The Meyers' heirs had donated the initial 20 acres and a further 5 acres had been bought by the Canton Chamber of Commerce. I have not seen any evidence that the land was given to Dueber along with the $100,000 "Gift money". Albert Dueber, in purchasing "Land & Buildings", may have been purchasing the freehold of the 5 additional acres, if they had indeed been gifted to the Company(s).

That paragraph dovetails with a report written in 1949 (see below) that the site was divided between the Dueber heirs & the Cally-Wyl Co., (A. B. Cable, E. C. Smally and H. Wyles) so I presume the Cally-Wyl Co., were the successor to the the Meyers' heirs and as such the freeholders of the initial 20 acres.
"Today (1949) the great former watch factory plant is divided between the Dueber heirs and the Cally-Wyl Co., which latter is a word coined from the recent owners, Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Cable and E. C. Smalley of Canton, and Howard Wyles of Berea, Ohio. Mr. Wyles withdrew from the company about a year ago. Extension of Garfield Avenue is the dividing line north and south; west of that line the Dueber heirs retain 9.22 acres, and east of it the Cally-Wyl owners for the past three years have owned 15 acres, which include the main buildings. In the buildings and along W. Tuscarawas St. the Laundromat, Boardman's Floral office, Motor Mart for used cars, and Studebaker's Service Station are on the Cally-Wyl property, while Kroger's, Kestel's Canfield Service and the Dueber Movie Theatre are on the property of the Dueber heirs. The latter include Mrs. A. L. Joliet, Mrs. John Ferrall and Mrs. Robert Vail. The latter two were Mary and Josephine Dueber, daughters of A. M. Dueber."
The Hampden factory, south plant, was used in the 40's by the 'Old King Cole Inc.' company who were best known for making the papier-mache models of the RCA (HMV) dog 'Nipper'. Another model was 'Laughing Sal' and an example is displayed in Canton's McKinley Museumn and Library. The company moved into the building to meet it's wartime expansion producing papier-mache forms used in the manufacture of self-sealing rubber aircraft fuel tanks.

QuickDraft Inc., of Perry Drive S.W., Canton was founded in 1953 as Basic Improvements, Inc. in the Dueber-Hampden Watch Works building. When it was founded, the company focused solely on manufacturing draft control equipment.

Eventually the construction of Interstate 77 led to the demolition of the Hampden building and later developments would swallow-up the Dueber building and complete the eradication of what John C. Dueber billed as the largest watch factory in the world.


As the twentieth century got under way and wristwatches became more prominent, owners of ladies pocket watches, like the Hampden size 3/0 models, were offered conversion kits by enterprising companies (The advert below is for the Keystone Co.). These kits had many benefits like; the practical conversion to a wristwatch, re-cycling a family heirloom; the chance to sell the original gold, or silver, case for cash; when combined with the re-dial option it made them suitable for a man.
These were not factory options and were made for other manufacturers as well as Hampden.  The criteria is that the winding stem is at the 3 O'clock position.
These watches simply demonstrate the stages. One conversions has an original dial the other (far right) had a replacement.
AMTORG (Амторг)
Amtorg Trading Corporation was based at 165 Broadway, New York City, and after 1929 at 261 Fifth Avenue. Amtorg is an acronym of Американская торговая - American Trading. It was formed by the amalgamation of the Products Exchange Corp. (1919), Armand Hammer’s Alamerico and Arcos-America Inc. (1923). The latter was the US office of the UK based All Russian Co-operative Society (ACROS).

It became the first Soviet trade delegation in the US when in May 1924 it was established to assist the USSR’s import and export companies seeking to conduct legitimate trade. It would continue in this role throughout the Soviet era.

The FBI tracked Amtorg’s operations throughout the Soviet period. According to Rachel Verdon’s book “Murder by Madness”. In 1985 Robert Hannson was given the job of overseeing “Project Pocketwatch” the FBI’s monitoring program for Amtorg. There is no reason given for the choice of “pocketwatch”. Hannson was later convicted for being a Soviet spy.

The Armand Hammer myth.
However much it would enhance the Dueber-Hampden story, Dr. Hammer was not a protagonist in the negotiations for Dueber-Hampden. He served to facilitate Amtorg's creation in 1924 and to benefit from it's concessions but he was never an active participant in the organisation.
Any references to either an Amtorg Watch Company or Hammer Watch Company have no foundation.

  • The sale of Dueber-Hampden ended 53 years of Hampden as a “Manufacture d'horlogerie”. From now on the name would be used on assembled watches and movements mainly from Switzerland. 
  • Canton is in Stark County, Ohio, which was so named after the American revolutionary hero General John Stark: John Stark's wife was Elizabeth "Molly" Stark. Hence Molly Stark movements.
  • William McKinley was the Canton Congressman, later to be the Governor of Ohio and eventually the 25th US President. McKinley's signature was engraved on the plating of movements bearing his name. 
  • On July 10, 1905, the Fort Wayne Railroaders baseball team relocated to Canton for the remainder of their season to form the Canton Red Stockings of the Central League. The team remained in the Central League for the next two seasons and were renamed the Canton Chinamen, in a name play on Canton, China. The city returned to the Ohio–Pennsylvania League as the Canton Watchmakers. In 1910 and 1911, the club was renamed the Canton Deubers. The team name changed once again as the club rejoined the Central League in 1912 to the Canton Statesmen. 
  • Since its existence as the the New York Watch Co., Dueber-Hampden had long used the grade name "Railway" on its watches. With Ball promoting its Railway Queen grade, Dueber-Hampden brought suit against both Ball and Waltham (who had begun to mark its movements with the word "Railroad") for interference in December 1899. The suit was decided in Dueber-Hampden's favor seven months later.  Extract from NAWCC showwiki.

Continuing the HAMPDEN story.
fully illustrated and documented history
of an industry that would rival the Swiss.

There is no reason why "Made in the USSR" is chapter 3 and "Manheimer" is chapter 4, it's just they way I wrote it. Imagine the two chapters running along side each other in chronological terms.
In 1930 with Amtorg’s agreement, use of the Dueber-Hampden name was assigned to the Receiver. He transferred it to some former employees who set up The Dueber-Hampden Service Department in Canton. Part of the agreement with Amtorg had been for the Soviets to export parts back to Canton, but this did not become a reality. The Service Department was owned by the Anderson Bros., two former Dueber-Hampden employees and was operating out of the Zinninger Building until the early 1940's.

Registration of the Hampden name was abandoned, in effect it ceased to be used in 1923 when the Hampden and Dueber companies were amalgamated. The best explanation of how the name came back into use is found in James W. Gibbs book. When Gibbs compiled the original Hampden Story in the very early 1950's, he wrote to the Hampden Watch Company of Chicago IL,.
"We were put in touch with the Hampden Watch Company of Chicago, Illinois. Mr Arthur E. Manheimer, the President, wrote to me that when the machinery, equipment, inventory and materials were sold to Russia in 1930, good-will and trade marks were not sold. The trade name Hampden having been abandoned by the Dueber-Hampden Company, three companies, including his own, applied for registration of the name or a similar sounding name for jewellery items. His company subsequently made contact with the other two companies and acquired all of their right, title and interest in the name Hampden, which his company has been using since 1939. Their application for registration of the name in connection with watches was perfected in 1940".

What Manheimer's letter did not explain was the reasons why he had become the President of the Hampden Watch Co., when he had previously been involved with the Manheimer Watch Co., a successful business operating out of 31 North State Street, Chicago, with a similar inventory. It took the discovery of an obscure court transcript to unravel the mystery. The case in question is 'Lowenthal v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue' and the transcript provides a definitive account of the circumstance behind the resurrection of the Hampden name.

Early1941 advertisement from a Soden's publication. 
Note that all the watches have sub second hands. 

Arthur Manheimer Patent 1932
Arthur E. Manheimer was born in Kansas City on the 14th of April 1888; he graduated from Harvard College in 1909 and gained a Law Degree from the Harvard Law School in 1912, after which he practiced in Chicago. In 1917 he was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Signals Reserve Corps and served in France, during WWI, as Supply Officer for the 415th Railway Telegraph Battalion. After the war he returned to Chicago and practice law for a few years before purchasing part of the family business, the Manheimer Watch Co. As previously stated he formed the Hampden Watch Company in 1940 and ran it for some 17 years. He died in December 1957 after a short illness.

Arthur Manheimer was past President of the National Wholesale Jewellers Association. On Dec. 18th 1934 there is a newspaper report about trade tariffs on imports from Switzerland. These were said by American chemists, watch, clock and lace makers to be "ruinous" to business in those fields in this country. The watch makers' attitude was expressed by Arthur E. Manheimer. president of the Manheimer Watch Company of Chicago and President of the National Wholesale Jewelers Association in testimony before the committee on reciprocity trade agreements he said. "The Swiss have 50 per cent of the American watch industry" he said. "They also have Canada, Mexico, South America and practically every other country in the world. "We can't compete with them in other markets. Our manufacturers do all their business right here in America. Why don't the Swiss leave us alone?".
He was also an active member of the Alliance Française and a supporter of the World Federation for World Government.

The Manheimer era watches are difficult to distinguish from later Clinton era watches, as in effect the method of manufacture changed very little.

Continuity - The top set are 1952 (Manheimer era) the lower set are 1957 after the Clinton purchase.
Note that 10 years after the previous advert sweep second hands are on most of the watches & 16 years on they dominate.
In my opinion many Hampden wristwatches from the Manheimer and Clinton period between 1940 and 1980 are classically stylish, utilise quality components and as such were accurate and reliable. They were amongst the ones I first purchased to start my small collection; which coincidentally, includes one circa 1960s model with a Soviet First Moscow Watch Factory 2414 movement.

Either just before, or just after, the time of Manheimer's death the business was sold to a Mr. John Alder. However, his tenure ended abruptly, according to the Chicago Tribune report below... On March 25th 1958 he jumped to his death from the 18th floor of his office block. One of his employees, Melvin Dicker, the company's assistant treasurer, said Alder had been depressed about the business and had contemplated selling it.
That same year Hampden would be purchased by Hyman Wein owner & founder of the Clinton Watch Company, also of Chicago. Mel Dicker carried on working for the Wein family for many years.
I'm grateful to Joseph Wein for drawing my attention to this article.

Hyman Wein.
The Wein family, formally Weinzieher, originally emigrated to the US from Russia but it’s a little unclear how many of the family travelled with the head of the family, Hersh Wein, and how many arrived later. Hersh Wein had a large family that would diverge and go on to form important branches of the North American watch industry. Nevertheless, the foundations were established in 1904 with the incorporation of Weinstrum Watches, who became the authorised dealership of “Abra Swiss Watches” and were situated at 93 Nassau Street, New York City. Later the concern would be known as Wein Brothers. Hersh (or Hirsch) left a number of his sons and sons-in-law in the business. Family lore had it that the larger family enterprise broke up due to fighting among the wives.

Hersh Wein and family
Monya Wein moved to Switzerland and during WWII helped to keep the family businesses alive by scrounging enough movements and parts to send back to the families in the US and Canada. Monya’s son is Boris Vansier the artist.

Rose Wenger, nee Weinzieher, and her husband went to Montreal and in 1923 started Wenger Ltd. owners of the Cardinal Watch brand. The current President is Myer Wenger the great-grandson of Hersh.
The Canadian Wenger Watch Company (Wenger Ltd.) are not affiliated with Wenger Switzerland or their sister company Victorinox. Wenger Switzerland did not start producing watches until the late 1980s.

Morris Wein (seen above sitting on his father’s knee) would become the founder of Marathon Watch in Montreal Canada in 1939, which is run today by his grandson Mitchell Wein (family pronunciation ‘ween’).

One brother moved in New York and another went to live in Los Angeles.
Hyman Wein
Photo by permission of Joseph Wein

Last but by no means least there was Hyman Wein, pictured right, (family pronunciation ‘wine’), born in 1888 in the city of Kiev, then a part of the Imperial Russia Empire, today the capital of the Ukraine. He was 34 years old when he emigrated to the US with his wife Susan, also known as Sasha. He had formerly been an officer in the Russian Army and had witnessed the horrors of the pogroms following the revolution.
Between 1920 and 1922 as many as 30,000 Russian soldiers, aristocrats, professionals and intellectuals left"white émigré", so named for their opposition to the Bolsheviks (Marxist, Leninist faction of Communism).
They settled in Chicago Illinois where he founded the Clinton Watch Company in 1922 at 29 East Madison Avenue. Clinton is the name of both an Illinois county and an area in Chicago. The company were like many others of that time ‘watch designers and compilers’ bringing-in movements, dials and cases and assembling them in their workshops.

Involvement in community projects runs through the three generations of the Wein family who figure in the chapter. The Wein Family Foundation, set up by Hyman in memory of his wife Susan in 1946, remains in place today and makes charitable donations to a wide variety of good causes (approx. $250,000 in 2009).

Hyman Wein began a watch repair school for immigrants. Alfred Blum, who worked at Clinton and was well known in Chicago as “The German Watchmaker” taught there on a voluntary basis for two years in the late 1930’s. After finishing his regular job with Clinton at 5 p.m., he would teach from 6 to 9 at night. The school catered for the disabled and for war veterans.

Irving L. Wein.
Hyman’s son Irving L. Wein, born 1925, grew up in Hyde Park on Chicago's South Side and at age 16 enrolled in the University of Chicago. He spent two years in the U.S. Army in Europe, as a member of the 8th Armoured Division. He also studied at the Sorbonne in France and the University of Geneva in Switzerland; afterwards he returned to Chicago to finish his degree and join the family business.
Irving Wein
Photo by permission of Joseph Wein

One of his earliest ventures was to set up the Josan SA company in Neuchatel, Switzerland in the 1960s (about the time the company moved it's Chicago offices to 1104 South Wabash Avenue). He assembled watches there for the next 20 years. Following on from this in the 80s he opened a watch factory in St. Croix, in the US Virgin Isles (the name St. Croix became a Hampden Corp., brand). Irving Wein was a leading lobbyist to the US Federal Trade Commission in connection with watch movement assembly in the US Virgin Isles. He sought markings clarification, arguing that it would improve the domestic industry.

A loophole in US tariff law, in the late 1950's, ment many American firms turned to watch assembling in the Virgin Islands. The loophole had stipulations. Watches could be imported duty free into the United States from there provided they did not contained foreign materials valued at more than 50% of the total value. Labour being a high proportion of manufacturing costs meant it was not difficult to meet this stipulation.
Watches assembled in the Virgin Islands started to flow into the United States in 1959. Within a decade 15 different companies had assembly plants there. Approx. half the parts, by value, used in the Virgin Islands operations came from Japan. With a further quarter came Germany. The Swiss were restricted by law from exporting parts until 1971.
By 1968 almost 15% of total American watch imports came into this country via the Virgin Islands. But then watches also started to come in from Guam and in order to limit this blossoming circumvention of tariff duties, the U.S. Government put a quota on imports limiting them to one-ninth of US consumption from the previous year. Several firms, citing the quota as one reason for their decision, shut down their Virgin Islands Plants. Hampden closed their factory there in 2008, leaving just one other company still operating.

The introduction of LED/LCD Quartz Watches.
There is another phase of the Virgin Islands story which was recently relayed to me by Neal Tenhulzen. Neal had read this blog and contacted me, we exchanged emails and this is what he was able to tell me.

"Irving hired me in late 1974 after hearing about me from one of his vendors. I had just finished setting up a digital watch manufacturing plant in Korea (Handok) and was back in California working for a semiconductor company making CMOS watch chips. Irving made me an offer and I moved to Chicago to become a key member of staff alongside Len Carson, Mel Dicker, Morrie Draft and Stan Kriz, all under Irving's leadership.
Digital products were taking off and Irving wanted Hampden to get involved. We purchased the equipment and set up manufacturing at the Hampden factory in St. Croix. Gerard Karsenti was the manager there and along with about 50 girls was already assembling mechanical movements. Things went well and by 1975 we were in production making LED digital modules from kits supplied by Nortec in California. In mid 1975 we received a huge order for our LED tank watches and had to buy assembled modules from Nortec to meet the demand. We also bought Suncrux LCD modules to add a LCD watch series to our line. In my opinion the Suncrux LCD module was one of the best. By late 1976 to mid 1977 the price of digital modules had dropped dramatically. We ceased production of digital modules in St. Croix and purchased assembled modules from various suppliers.
I left Hampden in late 1978 for work back in the semiconductor biz but continued as a consultant to Irving for a few more years. I really enjoyed my days there and considered Irving a good friend. "

In 1981 Irving acquired Benrus after that venerable old American brand had gone through some troubles. The company had been sold in 1967 to Victor Kiam, of Remington Razors fame. His attempt to consolidate various manufacturing enterprises under one roof proved to be a much more expensive move than anyone calculated and was the final blow to the company which subsequently filed as bankrupt in 1977. The company passed through several hands before it came under the ownership of the Wells Benrus Corporation; it to ultimately ended in bankruptcy (Victor Kiam being the largest shareholder and creditor)and was purchased by Clinton in 1981.
1968 advert - clearly implying a link with the original Hampden company.
The Benrus watch brand was sold to catalogue showrooms and mass merchants until the sale of the business in 1995 to Bernie Mermelstein of M.Z. Berger & Company, with headquarters in Long Island City, NY,. M.Z. Berger also, separately, acquired the Trade Marks of three other old American watch companies, Elgin, Waltham and Gruen.

Clinton had changed its name to Benrus in 1981 but following the sale in 1995, the name was changed again, this time to it's current one, Hampden Corporation. In light of the subsequent Monica Lewinsky scandal, this choice proved to have been an astute one; for a long time the name Clinton may not have immediately evoked thoughts of fine timekeeping. Pity in a way because a President William Clinton model would have been in keeping with the Dueber-Hampden President William McKinley model.

It was during the Benrus era, 1989, that the company move to their current location in West Carroll Avenue.

I was interested to know what wristwatch Irving wore. His son Joe said that his father wore a variety of watches, “Oddly, (or perhaps not) he never fell in love with any particular watch. He’d wear one of our newer models, or whatever was lying around”. I asked Joe what watch he wore "Haha – right now I’m wearing one of Mitchell’s watches... a Marathon" he told me.

Electric watches

My collecting interest finishes with the demise of the mechanical watch and what more apt way to finishing than to draw your attention to Electric Watches. I am lucky enough to have three, two Hampden & one Clinton in my collection. Electric watches should not be mistaken for Quartz watches, whilst both are battery powered, electric watches have jeweled mechanical movements. These watches only lasted for a short period between the development of the cell battery and the advent of quartz movements which were cheaper to produce. I am grateful to top enthusiast Paul Wirdnam who provides details of the watch movements on his website at Electric Watches. In addition to containing excellent information generally he also catalogues his own Clinton and all but identical Baylor (the latter has no connection to Clinton or Hampden) models.

Joseph H. Wein & Hampden today.
The third generation, Joseph H. Wein, took over the business when his father died in 2002, continuing his family’s ownership of the Hampden name. An association that has lasted for nearly 60 years, greatly exceeding the 40 years it was owned by the Dueber family.

Joe Wein was born on January 5, 1961 in Chicago, he grew up in the family business and learned all the traditions that had guided it throughout its long history. When it was his turn to take the reins, he is said to have questioned everything. He applied modern economic principles and forward-thinking process innovation, an approach that has ensured Hampden continues to be successful.

Joe & his wife Dr. Michele Sackheim Wein (right), also carry on the family tradition of supporting community organisations and have won awards for their work.

And so my story ends.
From the start in 1877 to my electric watch circa 1977. But that of Hampden continues and their current watches can be seen on the company's web site. My story is non-commercial and not sponsored in any way, but I have included their banner for the following reason. My URL "" could easily deflect searchers seeking their information and yet they have not objected. On the contrary they have been most helpful in making archive information available to me.


My watches are neither pristine nor rare, some have been repaired, some altered. Apologies to my watch collecting friends who will be appalled by my lack of photographic skills. 
The lower watch is a size 18 "Dueber" movement has been re-cased in the Ukraine. Bought it from a Pawnbroker in the UK.

"Dueber Hampden" salesman's sample. 1883/4 movement made before the Dueber purchase, so probably an early re-case.

Hampden (Clinton/Douglas/Wolbrook) Watches Circa 1940 - 80 

Thank you; To all those who gave permission for me to use their material including Rober F. Vail, Lee Horrisberger, Dave Miller, Dimitry Pruss and Greg Farino. (As a policy I always persue copyright owners to seek permission to republish material. Where contact could not be made I welcome such release.) To the collectors of Dueber-Hampden and Hampden watches who inspired and encourage me. Finally, a special thanks to Joe Wein for his material help and patience.

These links are either the sources of material or just great horology (alphabetically)...

 Books in my collection (alphabetically)...
  • Arnold, Robert F. & Hernick, James L. Hampden Watch Co.
  • Blair, Harry. Mr Horology - The Life & Times of Henry B. Fried.
  • Gibbs, James W. From Springfield to Moscow.
  • Harrold, Michael C. American Watchmaking. 
  • Sterling, Ronald E. Canton, Ohio (Images of America).
  • Watkins Richard & Jacques, David American and Swiss Watchmaking in 1876.



© Author: Alan F. Garratt. 2008 - 2019 all rights reserved. 
All brands, trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. 
You may copy content to individual third parties for their personal use, but only if you acknowledge
this website as the source of the material.

Search This Blog

The number of visitors is both unexpected and pleasing - Thank you one and all.