Hampden Watch Company
The Hampden Watch Company was an important employer in Canton, Ohio during the late 1800s and the early 1900s.
The Hampden Watch Company was originally known as the Mozart Watch Company. In 1866, Donald J. Mozart founded the company in Providence, Rhode Island. The firm manufactured time pieces. Unfortunately for Mozart, this company soon failed, but in 1867, he reorganized the firm as the New York Watch Company, with production facilities in Springfield, Massachusetts. Three years later, the company's factory burnt to the ground. Finally, in 1877, the company reopened, now doing business as the Hampden Watch Company.
In 1886, John Dueber purchased a controlling interest in the Hampden Watch Company. Dueber owned the Dueber Watch Case Company in Newport, Kentucky. This firm manufactured cases that held the internal workings of watches. In 1888, Dueber relocated the Dueber Watch Case Company from Newport and the Hampden Watch Company from Springfield to Canton, Ohio. In this new location, the two companies shared manufacturing facilities. The Dueber Watch Case Company produced the cases for the watches that the Hampden Watch Company manufactured. In 1923, the two companies formally united together, becoming known as the Dueber-Hampden Watch Company.
The Dueber Watch Case Company and the Hampden Watch Company quickly became two of Canton's largest employers. In 1888, the companies' first year in Canton, the firms employed 2,300 Canton residents. In 1890, Canton's population was 26,337 people. Thanks to these two companies, Canton became an important center for watch manufacturing in the United States of America. Unfortunately for Canton residents, in 1927 the company went bankrupt, finally ceasing operations in the city in 1930. The machinery and tools were sold to the Amtorg Trading Corporation, one of Soviet Russia’s buying agencies in the US, for $329.000. 23 former Dueber-Hampden watchmakers, engravers and various other technicians were hired, for one year, to help train the Russian workers in the art of watch making at The First State Watch Factory, Moscow.
- Howe, Henry. Historical Collections of Ohio. Columbus, OH: Henry Howe & Son, 1891.
- Garratt, Alan. Beyond Springfield and Moscow: The remarkable story of Hampden watches. 2014. Web. 2 October 2014. <www.hampdenwatches.com/>.
- Gibbs, James W. The Dueber-Hampden Story. Exeter, NH : Adams Brown, 1954.
- "The Watch Trade War." The New York Times. 10 April 1895.