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This is not a conventional blog, I am using it as a platform to express my interest in the wonderful story and legacies wrapped around the companies who got involved with Hampden watches.
In a nutshell this story is aimed at people interested in, or 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 and 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 ranges in 
ideology from capitalism to communism in the space of a year.
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" from who's book my story gets its title.
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.
If you have more information about anything to do with this story, or you own the copyright over which I have imposed inappropriately, please let me know. Contact details are shown in the Appendix.
Whilst I'm always pleased to answer questions regarding this subject, I do not offer watch sales, repairs, or appraisals.




The Chapters
Chapter 1. Origins (Mozart Watch Co., New York Watch Co., Hampden Springfield) 
Chapter 2. Dueber (The move to Canton - Vretman - Liquidation - AMTORG) 
Chapter 3. Made in the USSR (Hampden technology starts the Soviet watch industry) 
NOTE: THIS CHAPTER IS NOW UPDATED AT IT'S OWN DEDICATED SITE AND I RECOMMEND THAT YOU GO THERE FOR THE LATEST VERSION OF Made in the USSR  - CLICK TO ENTER
Chapter 4. Manheimer Watch Co. (resurrecting the Hampden Watch Co. name) 
Chapter 5. Clinton & Hampden (the Wein family take the reins) 
Authors Watch Archive - Appendix



CHAPTER 1. ORIGINS
Compiled from a painting dated 1636 "Feld (sic) Marshal Hampden" 
It is necessary to start in 1864 to discover the origin of the Hampden Watch Co. The seed was sown by a man who, in the end, would not have any actual association with Hampden he was Donald Joaquin Mozart. He was born in 1818 in Italy and emigrated to the US with his parents aged three.

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

  Boston Harbor around 1827  
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. It 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".

  Stiles & Co., of West Meriden, Conn., wrote to Cushing on the 20th August 1866.  
  © 2012 Richard D. Dickerson.  
 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 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.

And so Don Mozart was dismissed from the company that bore his name.

In 1867 the company changed its name 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. 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 www.historicmapworks.com. 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 part of the material was saved. The company then cleared away the debris and moved the boarding house into the position previously occupied by the factory. It was re-modelled and in about three months the factory 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.


FOOTNOTES

HOW THE DON MOZART STORY ENDS
Following his dismissal and after moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan, he became the catalyst around which a new Mozart Watch Company was formed. Some of the 30 or so watches made at Ann Arbor have survived, as per Jon Hanson's example below.It's not clear if the Ann Arbor company used the name with or without the consent of the successors to 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.
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.
By 1870 Mozart was again unemployed and had trouble managing his affairs and had ceased his connection to this business by this time. He 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
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 CompanyRood made a fortune as it's President from 1891 to 1896 and from 1900 to 1910 but lost it trying to manufacture recording equipment.                      





CHAPTER 2. DUEBER

John Carl Dueber was born in Netphen (Öbernetphen) Germany in 1841 and emigrated to the United States at the age of 12. The Great Grandson of Philipp Klaus, who worked for Dueber at both Newport and Canton, researched into the Dueber family and unearthed documents showing Dueber arrived aboard the steamer Herder from Bremen, Germany, with his parents Johannes & Katharina (Schmitt) and his sister Pauline on October 20th 1853. He was listed on the ships records as Johannes Dueber, the same name as his father.

John Dueber became a naturalized US citizen on the 21st of July 1871.

The Dueber family eventually settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. After leaving school John Dueber became apprenticed to a watch case makers in the area. His training lasted for a period of five years. According to various reports he eventually raised enough capital from his father-in-law and from making wedding rings in his spare time to enabled him to start a watch case workshop, across the Ohio river in Newport, Kentucky. The Dueber Watch Case Company was incorporated in 1876, the same year the Gruen Watch Company was founded back across the river in Cincinnati.

John C. Dueber described himself as 5' 10½" tall, with a high and round forehead,  greenish brown eyes
slightly aquiline nose, round face, medium sized mouth. Photo similitude © Author

He married a local Cincinnati girl, Mary Daller. The Dueber's would have four children, Joseph, Albert, Estella and Pauline.

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 (1) Buy a watch company, to enable him to sell his cases as finished watches (2) Submit to the trust. In 1885 he bought a controlling share in the Hampden Watch Co.

Newport Kentucky.

By 1885 his watch case business annual turnover had grown to some $1.5M, despite facing opposition from the trust; but he had outgrown his Newport factory and had no opportunity to buy land to expand the plant 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.

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 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 Model Making department. He was also one of the 23 members of staff who would later go Russia.

Factory shots (note staff photo on chest, bottom left)

Two special trains brought the first contingent of 250 Hampden workers from Springfield, early in August 1888. A big banquet was organized for the workers and members of their families. On the program, addressing the 560 guests, was Dueber’s friend Congressman McKinley.

The Hampden Watch factory began operations in August 1888, a year earlier than the Dueber 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.

The company declared an 8 per cent dividend in February 1890. Net assets of the two companies were reported as $609,000 in January 1891, with liabilities of $612,000. John C. Dueber and his family were the majority shareholders of the Hampden company and the sole owners of the Dueber Watch Case company. Hampden watches enjoyed a trade reputation of being 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 Dueber-Hampden worked 10 hours a day, 59 hours a week and considered $15 good pay for a week according to a Canton Rep article.

A blip in the seemingly endless progression of the companies took place in 1891 when Charles Rood & Henry Cain decided to sell their shares and leave Hampden. Raising the capital to buy them out extended John Dueber financially and put such a strain on company cash-flow that it caused him to suspend operations for a week or two. Nevertheless, within 8 months he had achieved sole ownership of both companies.

Rood & Cain's departure may have also interfered with Dueber's business dealings with the Webb C. Ball Co. of Cleveland OH, 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 most likely had a personal relationship with Ball as he participated in their new Hamilton Watch Company. Indeed, Ball was a Vice President early in Hamilton's formation and had an exclusive agency for the western part of the US.

In August 1892 the beautiful landscaping about the buildings had been completed and the business was 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 (one of the 23 who later went to Russia) jewelled them all.

Despite the watch business flourishing John Dueber still had to operate in the face of the watch case trust, but 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 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)
When cycling became the rage, John Dueber added bicycles to his production in a special adjoining building next to The Watch Case Works in 1896, continuing about five years until the space was needed. His bicycles were reported as 'the best in town' with the Dueber Special costing $85.

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.

There were of course some other prominent Ohio citizens capitalizing 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 

John Dueber’s two sons 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 shown great promise as an executive and businessman and was being groomed to take over the business but sadly he fell ill and died suddenly on December 31st 1899, aged 28, a blow both to his father and to the future prospects of the company.


On September 6th 1901, John Dueber's friend President William McKinley was 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.

Image courtesy of the Peninsula Valley Historic & Education Foundation 
That same year* 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.

*There is evidence this was possibly in 1903: Greg Farino's research found a copy of Dueber's 1903 passport application.

In 1907 the Dueber-Hampden factories were at their peak of operations with 3,000 employees. This was near-capacity for the huge buildings, which at times ran four nights a week, making a beautiful sight, all lit up. In the same year the sudden death of John Dueber was reported.
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 company for another 18 years.

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.

By 1905 capital in the Dueber & Hampden companies had been reduced from $2,000,000 to $500,000. 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, capitalizing on many of the principles laid down by his father and to his credit he managed to kept the organizations afloat. Perhaps what we would today call downsizing, although judging from the staff photo (see factory collage above), taken in 1913, the organization was still a significant employer at that time.

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. 

Another major shift in the industry was the transition from pocket watches to wristwatches. Not easy for concerns that had built their 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 realized 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 capitalizing 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 incorporated) he reported his astonishment at the disparity of watch manufacturing technology then existing between US and Swiss companies. The American mechanized system was far in advance of Swiss ad-hoc methods, in that it brought together the entire production of watches under one roof, employing standardized 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.

I have a Dueber Hampden 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. There is no reference to the date of production and I would be very interested to hear from anyone who can say if these date from the Albert Dueber or the later Walter Vretman era. My guess is it was from the Vretman era as the name Grace coincides with that of Vretman's wife.

My Dueber-Hampden "Lady Grace" with a Swiss movement 
In 1923 Albert Dueber 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. Despite this the company’s fortunes continued to decline and eventually it was sold, in September 1925, to a group of Cleveland businessmen, fronted by Walter Vretman.

A post 1923 photo as the name on the building also says Dueber Hampden Watch Company.
Photo source http://dueber-hampden.blogspot.com 
A copy of Grace Vretman's share certificate - for sale at the last time of checking.

The end of a 40 year 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. Such methods of financing inevitably led to receivership and two years later, in 1927, that is precisely what happened, as evidenced by the receiver in his bankruptcy statement (below).


Raymond W. Loichot 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.

The machinery and tools were 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 Moscow Watch Factory (Poljot) history has 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.

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).

The above paragraph dovetails with a report written in 1949 (see Horological Library) 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.

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 HMV dog 'Nipper'.

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.

Left: I-77 under construction in the 50's slices through the Hampden building, leaving the Dueber building intact.
Right: A current Google map, with the site highlighted.
Today there is no evidence of the once great factories (but there is a McDonald's ).


FOOTNOTES

AMTORG
The 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.

Saul G. (Grigorievich) Bron, during his tenure as chairman of Amtorg Trading Corporation in 1927–1930, contracted with many leading American companies, to help build-up the Soviet's industrial infrastructure.  On May 31, 1929, after complicated negotiations and despite the absence of official relations between the two countries, the largest Soviet contract with an American firm was signed by Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company Vice-President Peter E. Martin, Saul G. Bron for Amtorg, and Valery I. Mezhlauk on behalf of VSNKh for assistance in building near Nizhny Novgorod a colossal automobile plant with a projected annual capacity of 70,000 trucks and 30,000 cars.
Bron became a victim of Stalin's Great Purge and was executed on 21 April 1938. He was posthumously rehabilitated in 1956.

Amtorgs chief commissioner for the purchase of the Dueber-Hampden factory was Mr A. Vladiminsky. Although based in New York, he would spend much time in Canton negociating with the Receiver Raymond Loichot.

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.

Dr. Armand Hammer was not an active participant in Amtorg and certainly not in the negociations for Dueber-Hampden. Any references to either an Amtorg Watch Company or Hammer Watch Company have no foundation, in the US or the USSR. His initial conection was through Lenin who his father had met many years before 1917. Hammer went to Moscow in 1921 to meet Lenin and negociate for money his company, Allied Drug, was owed for drugs they had smuggled to the Soviet Union during the US blockade. Lenin saw Hammer as a useful, sympathetic, friend of the Bolsheviks.
Left Hammer, centre Lenin who has written "To Comrade Armand Hammer from V. I. Ulyanov 10th Nov 1921
Right Saul G. Bron’s photo from NKVD file after his arrest. Lubyanka prison, Moscow, 25 October 1937.


  • 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.
  • Use Of The Word "Railway" On A Watch. 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.  Also see a definition of a "Railroad Watch" in the appendix.

CHAPTER 4. The MANHEIMER Watch Co.

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 Hampdem 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 jewelry 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 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

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 Jewelers Association. 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.
Either through Manheimer or later Clinton, Hampden watches have been produced from the 1940s up to the present day and distributed via their companies Chicago offices. Hampden branded watches, from both the Manheimer & Clinton era's, have been fitted with Swiss, German and French movements. Some of the Clinton era movements are stamped Clinton Watch Company some Hampden Watch Company. Clinton, Douglas and Wolbrook watches, also from the Clinton stable, are fitted with a mixture of these movements, the majority being 17 jewel Swiss ones.
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.



CHAPTER 5. CLINTON & HAMPDEN


Anecdote.
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.
© CHICAGO DAILY TRIBUNE. 

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 the Soviet Union and settled in New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago. These immigrants were known as "white émigré", so named for their opposition to the bolsheviks and 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. From the late 1950s watch companies got involved in watch assembly in the islands and it is a fascinating adjunct to the story of the US watch industry. Hampden closed their factory there in 2008, leaving just one other company still operating.

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 organizations 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 "hampdenwatches.blogspot" 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.

CLICK BANNER TO ENTER SITE

Watch Archive (my collection)
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. 

Hampden (Dueber) Watches Circa 1877 - 1927
Soviet Type-1 Watches/Clocks Circa 1930 - 80
Hampden (Clinton/Douglas/Wolbrook) Watches Circa 1940 - 80

Appendix
Thank you; To all those who gave permission for me to use their material including 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 & Soviet watches who inspired and encourage me. For the helpful and knowledgable input from members of the 'The Watch Forum", 'WUS f10', 'lynes' and other Russian watch forums. To Marco Stella for his understanding and translation of Russian documents. Mark A. Gordon who's catalog and collection is the backbone of USSR watch research. 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.



No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without permission in writing from alanfgarratt@gmail.com or other copyright owners noted.
© Alan F. Garratt 2008 - 2015 all rights reserved

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR ...

My Photo
I’m an Englishman born, like John Hampden, in Buckinghamshire. For many years I worked for a company also called Hampden, but with no connection to the watch concern. We were involved in the Rubber Industry, which inevitably led me to Ohio, the capital of the US Rubber Industry and I often visited the Canton, Akron, Cleveland and Cincinnati area. At this time I was unaware of the watch company but then one day, whilst visiting India, I had cause to put Hampden into Google, the results opened up a fascinating and completely new world to me. Now that I have more time on my hands I am enjoying gathering as much information about Hampden watches as I can. I also am forming a modest collection of watches from the Springfield, Dueber, Manheimer, Clinton and Soviet era’s, many of which are included. Anyone wishing to comment, ask questions, report DEAD LINKS or add to the story can contact me via… alanfgarratt@gmail.com

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