Posts Tagged ‘Black Forest cuckoo clocks’
My older brother’s always been a bit of a prankster. He was behind the big senior prank at his high school and was always pulling ones over on me and the rest of my family. He loved pulling his biggest pranks when there were a lot of family members around, like when we’d visit our grandparents.
My grandfather was a cuckoo clock collector. When we were kids, he would set all the German Black Forest cuckoo clocks in my grandfather’s house to go off at the same time; it wouldn’t be on the hour or anything, it’d be a random time and suddenly the whole house would erupt with noise and the only thing you could hear other than the cuckoo clocks was the sound of my brother’s wild laughter generated from how amused he was with himself.
My grandmother was a collector of Black Forest cuckoo clocks. When she passed away she had her clock collection divvied up among the grandchildren. I was very pleased with the clock I received because it was one I had always admired as a little girl.
The intricate wood carvings on the clock served as an inspiration for my living room. I found art pieces that reflected the same wood tones and shapes to complement the clock. I also picked a color scheme that I thought properly invoked the Black Forest without seeming too dark.
This past summer my fiancé and I visited a friend of ours in Colorado. He’s a bachelor and his home overwhelmingly reflects his single status. By that I mean he has little art on the walls and very little furniture. He joked that other than a bed, a place to eat, and a desk for his computer he didn’t need much else. Plus, he didn’t want to put in the time or effort to make it homey.
Always the busybody/den mother, I told him that if he gave me free reign I would happily add some nice touches. He said have at it – he didn’t mind his place being decorated so long as he didn’t have to do the work. While he and my fiancé went out to do some sport fishing, I took the liberty of going through his belongings for pieces to go on the walls. I made some surprisingly nice finds, including a Black Forest cuckoo clock and some posters that I had framed at a local store. There was more I wanted to accomplish, but hanging those few pieces on the walls was a good start that even my friend agreed made an impact.
Did you know that the proper term for a grandfather clock is actually longcase clock? The story of how the term grandfather clock became popular dates back to the 19th century. Two brothers named Jenkins were managers at the George Hotel in Piercebridge, England. When one of the brothers died the longcase clock in the hotel began to lose time. No repairs made by the staff or local clockmakers remedied the problem. When the other brother died at age 90, the clock ceased to work altogether and was not repaired out of respect for the brothers.
In 1876, Henry Clay Work, an American composer and songwriter, inspired by the story of the brothers Jenkins wrote and composed “My Grandfather’s Clock.” The song is sung from the perspective of the grandson who details the life of the clock, a life that mirrors that of the grandfather from the clock’s purchase on the day of the grandfather’s birth to its refusal to work when the grandfather dies 90 years later. It is said that this song is the reason longcase clocks are now commonly referred to as grandfather clocks. The song continued to inspire well into the 20th and 21st centuries. The song was the basis for a 1963 episode of the Twilight Zone and has been covered by many recording artists, including Boyz II Men.
As the largest importer of authentic Black Forest cuckoo clocks in the North America, River City Cuckoo Clocks supplies over 100 unique styles of these idiosyncratic timepieces. The company gets all of their cuckoo clocks directly from Germany’s Black Forest, ensuring the highest level of quality and craftsmanship. Some of the finishing touches are made once the clocks have been shipped, but all of the various parts and components come straight from the source.
These cuckoo clocks are typically constructed with pine, spruce or linden wood which has been dried for several years. Each cuckoo clock is unique, but certain features like chimes, houses and the iconic cuckoo birds are common on most designs. Styles of cuckoo clocks vary greatly, with economic models starting for less than $100 and extravagant units going for more than $10,000.
Although cuckoo clocks are obviously the first things that come to mind when you think of birds and timepieces, these two seemingly dissimilar things have been connected for thousands of years. Around 250 BC, Ctesibius, a Greek mathematician, developed a timekeeping device that used a Rube Goldberg-esque model to make an owl move. Later, in the Middle Ages, there’s evidence of a mechanical clock which used a bird to sound the hours. Additionally, the Heritage Museum in St. Petersburg is home to a famous golden peacock standing over six feet tall.
Nobody knows for certain how or why bird began being used in clocks, but some breeds obviously make more since than others. Understandably, roosters have often been associated with timekeeping mechanisms for their habit of meeting the dawn with crowing.
You may have heard that the cuckoo clock traces its origins to Germany’s Black Forest, where clockmakers carved intricate designs in the 17th century. But you might be surprised to learn that the inner mechanisms of these clocks have remained remarkably consistent through the years. While wooden gears have largely been replaced with metal and plastic, the design schemes are virtually identical.
If these pendulum-driven clocks haven’t changed much on the inside, their elaborate exterior designs have only become more decadent. Some handmade cuckoo clocks implement a light sensor that keeps the cuckoo from sounding at all hours of the night. If you’re looking to add a touch of class and elegance to your living space, you could certainly do worse.
Cuckoo clocks originated in the Black Forest region of Germany. The first cuckoo clock was built by Triberg native Franz Anton Ketterer. The clocks made by Ketterer soon became popular and many other people in the Black Forest region also learned how to make them. In the early 1800s there were more than 600 cuckoo-clock makers in the region.
Farmers were prevalent in the Black Forest region and they became the main manufacturers of German Black Forest cuckoo clocks. The winter months were the best time to make the clocks since farmers were not as busy during this time. In the summer months the farmers would sell the clocks to peddlers, who would then take them to Europe to sell them. Later on the clocks became valuable as art pieces.
Most cuckoo clocks today are made in the “traditional style” to hang on a wall in your home or office. In the long history of clock making and time keeping, cuckoo clocks play a large role in the appreciation of art in clocks. The traditional style of the cuckoo clock is a wooden case decorated with carved leaves and animals and an automation of a bird that appears through a small door while the clock is striking. A cuckoo clock is typically pendulum driven, striking the hour and half hour, using bellows and pipes that imitate the cuckoo call. Today’s cuckoo clocks are almost always driven by weights. The weights are made of cast iron in a pine cone shape.
As early as 1650, the call of the cuckoo bird in a clock was being heard in parts of East Germany and a region of the Czech Republic. It took nearly a century for the cuckoo clock to find its way to the Black Forest. The Black Forest cuckoo clock, as we know it, comes from the region in southwest Germany, where a tradition of clock making started late in the 17th century. The cuckoo clock is a favorite souvenir of travelers in Germany, where there are several different firms making the whole clock or parts of it. The people who make cuckoo clocks are dedicated craftsmen whose products are works of art. Black Forest cuckoo clocks and German cuckoo clocks command big prices and are highly sought after in antique stores, flea markets and retail shops. They are valuable because of their elaborate hand carvings and unique artistry.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at “Striking the Hour”
How do you spell relief ?
Is it CUCKOO or COO COO or COO KOO or COOCOO ?
America’s love for the black forest cuckoo clock goes back a long way. People have hung Black Forest cuckoo clocks on their walls for years, often as a reminder of their family’s heritage or their travels to Germany, home of the fanciful clocks. Or maybe they just like the unique sound made by the little bird for which the clocks are named, as it pops out to announce the time of day. Whatever the reason, cuckoo clocks have been a popular item since the first one was built by Franz Anton Ketterer in the mid-1700s in Germany.
Cuckoo clocks are from the largest importer and distributor of German Cuckoo Clocks in North America since 1988. Each decorative wall clock is imported from the Black Forest of Germany, and displays outstanding quality, originality and attention to detail. Hand-crafted from Black Forest linden wood, the movements are authentic brass Regula German Movement, and the weights are iron.