The history of the German Cuckoo Clock:
• The very first German Cuckoo Clock was made by Franz Anton Ketterer in 1737, in the village Schonwald.
• The name “Cuckoo Clock” was derived by the coo-coo sound that was made by the twin bellows that sent air through small pipes. This same mechanism is still being used today.
• The manufacturing of the Cuckoo Clocks was completed by more than one person. Some would specialize in the mechanical aspect of making the gears and woodcarvers would make the casing and the detailed woodcarvings.
• Years later the woodcarvers started designing the Cuckoo Clocks according to specific themes, such as the hunter’s theme. These were known as the German cuckoo clock.
• At present, the German cuckoo clock is made by either using the same weight-driven mechanism or by the use of small quartz batteries.
The Black Forest Clock Association:
• In order to preserve the art and authenticity of the cuckoo clock, the Verein die Schwarzwalduhr (VdS) was formed. Also known as The Black Forest Clock Association.
• A certification process was developed in order to protect the specific Black Forest crafting traditions and the authenticity of the Black Forest cuckoo clocks.
• Newly-developed quartz cuckoo clocks do not qualify for the VdS certification, as they consist of non-mechanical battery-powered movements.
• All original Black Forest cuckoo clocks are marked with the VdS seal and are delivered with a certification of authenticity.
Different types of Cuckoo Clocks:
• 8-day movement:
This type of clock requires winding only once a week, as it uses heavier weights than the 1-day movement clock. It is generally a higher quality clock, thus more expensive than the 1-day movement clock.
• 1-day movement:
This type of clock requires daily winding and rarely includes automatic night shut-off. It is not as expensive as the 8-day movement clock.
Different styles of Cuckoo Clocks:
1. Traditional style cuckoo clock:
• These clocks are also known as the “Classic” or “Carved” cuckoo clocks.
• This specific design is well-known for its deep carvings and rich stains and represents their Black Forest origin by two well-known themes.
• The hunting theme consists of carvings of hunters, rifles, game and often a stag (male deer).
• The Black Forest theme consists of carvings of nature scenes, including animals and foliage.
• This style of cuckoo clocks is well-known for its finely carved details, including hand-painted figurines. These figurines consist of bell ringers ringing, woodchoppers chopping wood or happy couples dancing to the music.
• The Chalet clocks do not always include music.
• The Chalet clock themes include a Black Forest House, a Bavarian Beer Garden or a Swiss Alpine House.
3. Railroad house clock:
• This design consists a station house facade and a pitched roof covered in grape vines.
• There are two style variations consisting of a hand-painted clock face with an enamel dial, and one with elaborate carvings in the Bahnhäusle style.
4. Many other styles have developed during the evolution of the cuckoo clock, which also includes styles such as the Antique reproduction (also known as the Vintage reproduction), the Shield style and the modern style.
Where can you purchase these Cuckoo Clocks?
• Authentic cuckoo clocks can be bought in stores or on the internet. Companies that specialize in the manufacturing of these authentic cuckoo clocks are Hekas, Romba, Anton Schneider, August Schwer, Rombach & Haas and Robert Herr.