Archive for the ‘Chalet Cuckoo Clocks’ Category
My mother is very proud of her Swiss heritage. She learned all sorts of traditional Swiss recipes from my grandmother who learned them from her mother, and so on. Switzerland is known for its decadent cheeses like gruyere, vacherin, and appenzeller. Fondue and raclette are also popular.
For Mother’s Day last year I bought my mother and grandmother chalet cuckoo clocks. Wouldn’t you know that they both hung the clocks in their respective kitchens? My mom says that she likes looking up at the clock when she’s preparing traditional Swiss foods. If it keeps the rosti coming, then maybe I should buy her even more chalet clocks!
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.
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.
The word “Chalet” originates in Switzerland and describes a type of Alpine wooden hut that has been used for many years by sheep and goat herders. At the end of the nineteenth century the style of Chalet Cuckoo Clocks became very popular in Switzerland ,and they were highly prized by tourists who loved the Clocks as Swiss souvenirs.
Actually there are three basic chalet styles of Cuckoo Clocks, and two of them originate in the Swiss Alps. One is from the village of Brienz which is in the Canton of Bern, Switzerland. The other shape of chalet is Emmental which has a steep roof which has a large overhang that almost reaches to the ground. Yet another type of the chalet style is Bavarian and also has the steep roof and an overhang. The Bavarian Chalet is my favorite and by far the most popular model for the addition of a music box which plays melodies. Often the wooden case of the clock is decorated with carved leaves, birds and animal heads. On most Cuckoo Clocks the dial displays Roman numerals. Musical cuckoo clocks can be found with both one day movements and eight day movements.
More on eight day movements in my next article.
Actually, it’s both my wife’s and my birthday. Isn’t that neat, married and able to celebrate our birthday together? I sure don’t have any excuse for forgetting Mona’s birthday! Normally we go away and celebrate by exploring new territory. Not today, but later this month we will be celebrating in Barcelona Spain. Previously we celebrated in Hawaii, Germany, Austria and most of the 50 United States. We love to travel. Today, being Wednesday, I will continue my “How To:” articles. Today, “How to buy Cuckoo Clocks”, one of my loves (besides by wife).
Cuckoo clocks are an enjoyable accessory to have in your home. Features to look for when buying a cuckoo clock include the style, movement and music. Once you have an idea of the type of cuckoo clock you’re looking for, then finding one for your home will be a cinch.
First – Decide on the style that you’re looking for in a cuckoo clock. If you’re looking for a clock that looks like a house, then you’ll want to purchase a chalet style clock. Traditional clocks include built in nature scenes with flowers, animals or leaves. Novelty clocks include more unique colorful features and contemporary themes. Second - Consider the type of movement that you would like your clock to have. Cuckoo clocks have two movements: one-day and eight-day movement. One day movements will sound on every half hour and on the hour. 8 day cuckoo clocks sound on each hour of the day. Third – Determine whether you want your cuckoo clock to play music. Some coo coo clocks come with music and figures that dance while others do not. Some traditional clocks play Swiss music at either every half hour or by the hour. The music will depend on the type of movement and clock style you choose. Lastly - Browse shops that offer the types of cuckoo clocks that you’re looking for. Cuckoo clocks can be purchased online, at retail stores, auctions, and antique or thrift shops.
Happy shopping, and “thanks” for celebrating with us.
In order for a clock to earn a certificate of authenticity from the Black Forest Clock Association, it must operate mechanically, be handmade in the Black Forest and all of its major parts must be from the Black Forest. My love for cuckoo or coo coo clocks dates back over 50 years, spending time with my grandfather, a collector, hobby builder and fellow lover of clocks. He must have had over a hundred clocks throughout his home, most all accurately keeping time. I remember he purposely had them set at slightly different times so that when the chimes and music played, it took about 15 minutes for them all to complete their announcements and animation.
My son also brought me a simple traditional German cuckoo clock home when he was performing with “Up With People” some years ago (pictured above). Musical chalet cuckoo clocks however are still my favorite. Their charm and beauty always give me a warm feeling inside. Each one is so unique.
What’s your favorite style?
There are several types of cuckoo clocks. The least expensive is the non musical one day clock, which requires winding once a day. The weights hang by chains, and descend as the clock “unwinds.” To wind it, pull the end of the chain to bring the weights back up and keep the pendulum swinging. The pendulum drives the mechanical gears of the brass movement inside the clock, which in turn drives the hands on the face. Each tick of the pendulum advances the hands a fraction of the circumference of the clock face and drops the weight a tiny bit.
One day cuckoo clocks can be both carved and chalet. Carved clocks have nature-inspired themes carved out of wood attached to the case. Chalet-style clocks look like alpine houses and have moving figures. These are my favorite, especially the ones that play music and have moving animation. Musical cuckoo clocks have two movements instead of just the one regulating time. The third weight drives the second movement, which produces a series of notes when the clock strikes. Usually the melodies played are different for the hour and the half-hour, the most popular being “Edelweiss” and “The Happy Wanderer.”
Beginning in the 17th century, German clockmakers began crafting cuckoo clocks in the Black Forest region. Over time, those clocks began to bear a distinctive resemblance to the exterior of Alpine homes. These chalet cuckoo clocks displayed more innovation as the years passed, but their inner mechanisms have remained stunningly consistent. While wooden gears have largely been replaced with metal and plastic, the design schemes are virtually identical.
If these pendulum clocks haven’t changed much on the inside, their exteriors are now hubs of activity. Some cuckoo clocks feature a tiny man chopping wood with an ax or a group of villagers dancing joyously in a circle. Perhaps most importantly, all of these happenings are timed impeccably to correspond with certain hours of the day. Many clocks feature a light sensor that silences the cuckoo at night.