Aaron Lufkin Dennison (6 March 1812-9 January 1895) was an American watchmaker born in Freeport, Maine, USA. He was apprenticed to James Cary for three years, then worked as a journeyman watchmaker in Boston in 1833. During this time he identified inaccuracies in the workmanship and construction of even the best of hand-made watches, following the suggestion of fellow US watchmaker Tubal Hone. He predicted that the manufacture of watches would soon be systematized and perfected in much the same way as had firearms manufacture. Dennison was also involved in the jewellery business in Boston, which led him in another direction. He realised that he could make paper boxes better than the imported products. In 1844 he took supplies of box board and cover paper home to his family home in Brunswick, Maine, where his father, Col. Andrew Dennison, cut out boxes and his sisters covered them. The box business was soon growing, but after five years he decided to focus on watch manufacturing, and passed the box business onto his younger brother Eliphalet Whorf Dennison.

In 1850 Dennison partnered with the clockmaker Edward Howard, using capital from mirror manufacturer Samuel Curtis, to make interchangeable movement parts, to enhance quality and lower the price of watches. About ten years earlier Dennison had invented the 'Dennison Standard Gauge' and an 'Interchangeable System' for American watch manufacturing. The business grew, and in 1854 a new factory was built in Waltham, Massachusetts. The company was eventually renamed the Waltham Watch Company. Waltham was the first company to manufacture interchangeable movement parts, and make affordable, reliable watches, railroad chronometers, 8-day clocks and other time measurement devices in the United States.

Towards the end of his life Dennison moved to Europe, eventually founding a very successful watch case company. He died in 1895 in Birmingham.

Reprint of The American Jeweler, February 1888, by Greg R. Frauenhoff, January 2003.
"Seventy-Five Years" Company edited booklet, Dennison Manufacturing Co, Framingham, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
"Watch Case Makers of England; NAWCC Supplement 20", Philip T. Priestly, NAWCC, Spring 1994.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Lufkin_Dennison, accessed 20/9/06.

More Information