Archive for October, 2009
It’s always fun to explore new places and take in the local sights. You would think to see a cuckoo clock museum, you would have to go to Germany and Switzerland. I have found that not to be so. If you have a love for clocks and especially cuckoo clocks, visit this gem in England.
The Cuckooland Museum hosts one of the worlds largest collection of cuckoo clocks with thousands of assorted exhibits. Most of the clocks within the museum are rare and unique, and combine a number of ingenious methods of time telling. The museum also hosts a range of Cuckoo clocks, Trumpeter clocks and other associated musical movements, which will play at intervals throughout your visit, all of which are varying in age and history. The clock making craft evolved in the Black Forest region of Central Europe over 300 years ago. Natural materials, a product of the forests, were used and over the centuries the skills evolved from that of a cottage craft to those of a production industry.
The Museum hosts one of the worlds largest collection of cuckoo clocks with thousands of assorted exhibits.
The collection is ever changing and preservation is now a permanent commitment and aims to achieve the most comprehensive and complete assembly of fine clocks of their type anywhere. Many on display are working while others are awaiting repair and finish. As you enjoy the collection you will hear many of the old sounds of Europe, particularly as the associated musical movements begin to play in authentic tunes of that period.
Want to go? Cuckooland Cuckoo Clock Museum is located between Manchester and Chester in Cheshire, England
The Black Forest is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Wurttemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 meters (4,898 ft). The region is almost rectangular with a length of 200 km (120 mi) and breadth of 60 km (37 mi). Hence it has an area of approximately 12,000 km2 (4,600 sq mi).
It looks quite small, however, from the air.
The main industry is tourism. In addition to the towns and monuments, the Black Forest is crossed by numerous long distance footpaths. The clock peddler is a character that has all but disappeared from our lexicon of memories.
German Cuckoo Clock peddlers in the Black Forest used to carry their wares on a large backpack. After toiling the winter months away in a crowded workshop over his wares, a clock peddler greeted warmer months by wandering over the hills and through storybook forests hundreds of years ago, matching painted dials and interesting animated scenes to the customers’ choice of mechanisms. The cuckoo clock is much older than clock making in the Black Forest. As early as 1650 the coo coo bird with the distinctive call was part of the reference book knowledge recorded in handbooks. It took nearly a century for the cuckoo clock to find its way to the Black Forest, where for many decades it remained a tiny niche product.
You’ve heard – Daylight savings time 2009: fall back! Please don’t turn your grandfather and cuckoo clocks back. The time change happened in October last year, but the time change this year will happen in November in the United States, specifically the first Sunday (November 1). Those in the European Union have completed the Daylight Savings Time 2009 fall back on October 25. They still remained with the old standard fall back period on the last Sunday in October. In the United States, the time change occurs at 2 am local time, so the time change happens at a different time for each time zone.
What is the purpose of Daylight Savings Time? The 2009 fall back will make the sun rise one hour later in the morning, and then set one hour later in the evening. This makes the day feel longer, and gives everyone what seems to be an extra hour of daylight. The standard timekeeping system related to the arrangement of time zones was made official in the United States by an Act of Congress in March 1918, some 34 years following the agreement reached at an international conference. Given a 24 hour day and 360 degrees of longitude around the earth, the world’s 24 time zones have to be 15 degrees wide, on average. The individual zone boundaries are not straight, however, because they have been adjusted for the convenience and desires of local populations.
As I am about to cross many time zones, again please remember, you should not turn your grandfather and cuckoo clocks back one hour, instead either stop your timepiece for one hour and then restart, or carefully advance forward the minute hand of your clock until you reach the correct new time. Make sure you allow your clock to properly strike the correct number of times for each hour you advance. I prefer spring ahead, it’s a whole lot easier.
Keeping grandfather clocks clean is just as important as cleaning your car. The value of clean grandfather clocks will be much higher than grandfather clocks that sit in the corner collecting dust and grime.
Here are 5 easy steps to keep your long case clock running perfectly :
First : Pull your grandfather clock away from the wall without banging it on anything preventing marks and dings. I would suggest an extra person when moving grandfather clocks, to help assure security from falling or getting dings. Second : Use a soft cloth or feather duster when cleaning grandfather clocks to keep from causing scratches. I have found an ostrich feather duster allows minimum pressure to be put on the parts. Continue by dusting the grandfather clocks glass surface. Open the door to the pendulum. Very carefully, dust in the pendulum compartment area, ensuring not to bump the pendulum. Third : Apply the high-quality polish of your choice to a very soft cloth following the polish application guidelines. Starting from the grandfather clocks top, apply the wax to the grandfather clocks surface using small circular motions. Always start from the grandfather clocks top and work your way to the bottom. Fourth : Discard the first cloth used for applying the grandfather clocks polish. Take another clean soft cloth and remove the dried wax in small circular motions working from top to bottom. This process will ensure the beautiful shine for grandfather clocks. Fifth : Using a non-ammonia based glass cleaner, spray the cleaner on the cloth and then clean the grandfather clocks glass surface. Do not spray directly on the grandfather clocks glass ensuring there will not be any spotting on the grandfather clock wood surfaces
Cleaning and dusting your grandfather clock should be done weekly. Wax or polishing your treasure should be every two to three months. Call a professional to clean the clock every 6 to 8 years. Oil and dust buildup will happen within the gears and mechanisms inside the grandfather clock. It requires a professional to disassemble the inner workings, clean them and put them back together.
Cleaning grandfather clocks is not the easiest process, but definitely worth the time.
Originally known as floor clocks or long case clocks. A song written in 1875 called “The Grandfather’s Clock” told the story of an aging floor clock that stood in the George Hotel in North Yorkshire, England.
The clock began slowly losing time immediately upon the death of one of the two brothers that managed the hotel, and upon the death of the second brother, the floor clock stopped working altogether despite numerous attempts to have the clock repaired. Eventually new management gained control of the George Hotel, but the clock remained in place as a tribute to the two brothers who had faithfully managed the hotel for so many years.
The term grandfather clock caught on quickly after the song became widely known and since then, what were originally known as floor clocks are commonly called Grandfather Clocks and are a cherished part of our culture.
Today a grandfather clock is a statement of excellent taste and firmly rooted tradition. Grandfather clocks are commonly a family heirloom that is passed down through the generations.
If you’re a homeowner, it’s very likely that you take a great deal of pride in the appearance of your home. This is true of the exterior and the interior. One of the easiest ways to make the interior of a home more inviting is by eliminating some of the clutter that can accrue over the years. Make sure that your mantel is not overrun with knickknacks.
One single cuckoo clock will offer a more sophisticated, refined, and classic look. The chalet style is sure to add charm and beauty. Chalet cuckoo clocks look like alpine houses and have moving figures. They are available in both one day and eight day movements, with and without music and animation. The familiar chalet style clock began to appear after 1850, about the same time that these clocks became popular, especially in England. Speaking of England, there is a museum in Cheshire where my travel articles will begin later this week. See you there.
To many people the cuckoo symbolized the waking of time and the start of the spring season, the period that meant winter had finished and normal life could be resumed. But isn’t this Fall season you ask? There is a natural progression in anything that we create. In the mid 1700′s cuckoo clocks were first created in and around the Black Forest area of Germany. As I get ready for my journey next week to Europe, I can’t help but reflect on the cuckoo clock design from the Black Forest and the cuckoo bird which were an integral part of everyday life in the region at the time. The ornate carving of the clocks was reflective of the design of the Bavarian homes that everyone lived in. To have a mechanical cuckoo in your home that told you the time was the height of luxury.
Now I’m not financially rich by any means, but I do consider myself rich in the admiration for a masterful timepiece. I encourage you to add a unique design touch to your home that will amuse as well as fascinate all those people lucky enough to experience the cuckoo clock in first person. Next week, when I take my journey, I hope that you will join me. A cuckoo clock can add a real touch of interest to any home, I’m sure our journey next week together will be most enlightening.
The cuckoo clock was a timepiece that surpassed the standard ways of telling time in the seventeenth century — the sun dial and the hour glass. Intricately detailed, the cuckoo clock not only keeps time, it is also a work of art. You should care for your cuckoo clock to maintain its beauty and keep it in working order. Here are my suggestions on how to properly care for your masterpiece.
Step 1 Understand that some cuckoo clocks require you to wind them daily (one day movements); others require winding on a weekly (eight day movements) basis. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for how to wind your specific clock model.
Step 2 Clean and polish the solid hardwood case. Use products that contain natural oils or simply dry dust the cuckoo clock. That seems to work best for me. Use a cotton swab (also know as a q-tip) to clean the intricate details. Avoid furniture polish and wax as this leads to a build-up.
Step 3 Remove the outer wooden case to view the inside workings of the clock. Gently clean the inside pieces with mild soapy water and a cotton swab or other small utensil.
Step 4 Take your cuckoo clock to a reputable clockmaker if you would rather have a professional cleaning. Check the phone book or ask friends and family for a recommendation.
Step 5 Hang the clock on the wall as soon as you finish cleaning and polishing. Use a good wood screw to keep it firmly in place and make sure the wall is level and the clock is straight. (see my October 14 post on “How To” : Hang a Cuckoo Clock, in four easy steps).
If you have any suggestions and/or tricks you have experienced in caring for your cuckoo clock, be sure to share them.
There is one style of clock that hasn’t evolved much over the past few hundred years, and they are handcrafted cuckoo clocks. They still have the swinging pendulum, the pipes that count off the hour and sing the call of the little coo coo bird. The parts have changed a little, but the essence remains cemented in the style of the original clock made in the mid eighteenth century. There are two types of cuckoo clocks. One is an eight day clock that cuckoos every hour and the other is the one day cuckoo clocks which cuckoo every half hour.
Most handcrafted cuckoo clocks are made in the Black Forest of Germany. There are over a hundred clock makers there and many have been there since the beginning. The styles have changed to meet the trends of the time, but several of the manufacturers of the Black Forest cuckoo clock keep with the tradition of hard carved, ornate facades of the originals. There are other cuckoos from around the world and they include the Chalet cuckoo clocks from Switzerland. These are recognized by the deeply sloping roofs and figurines that move when the clock sounds. Most popular are the axe man and beer drinker. The coo coo is replaced by these figures and music plays instead of the cuckoo. Time marches on … but the cuckoo clocks continues to stand tall.
Do you have a favorite?
What originated in the Black Forest of Germany in the seventeenth century? German Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks of course! The cuckoo clock not only keeps time, it is also a work of art. Later in the week, I will share my ideas on how to properly care for a cuckoo clock.
German Black Forest cuckoo clocks are made mostly out of wood. Some internal parts are now made of brass so that they will hold up longer. Some clocks have two chains with acorn-shaped weights on the ends. One chain controls the clock, and one controls the cuckoo. Some clocks also feature music and will have a third chain and weight to control the music. Do you have a favorite? Cuckoo clocks originated in Furtwangen or Triberg in the Black Forest region of southwestern Germany.
The German Clock Route takes today’s tourists through the central and southern Black Forest where they can see enormous (house-sized) working cuckoo clocks, see traditional clocks being made, and also purchase these ever-popular souvenirs. I will talk more about that next week as I prepare a for a trip to Europe. I hope you will join me.