5 Reasons Why a Cuckoo Clock is a German Icon

by Gregory Burton


If you have a cuckoo clock that you’ve been admiring for years, you might find yourself asking why is it such a German icon? Here are 5 reasons below.

The Founding Father of the Cuckoo Clock Was German

Franz Anton Ketterer was born in a small village called Schonwald, located in the Black Forest region of Germany. He is believed to have been the founding father of the cuckoo clock, donning the first hand-carved clock sometime around the 18th century. 

It Put the Black Forest Region on the Map

The Black Forest Region was once considered among the most significant areas for mining in Europe. However, once the war started, mining operations grounded to a halt and residents had to find alternative ways to make an income. Woodcarving soon became a staple industry, with cuckoo clocks taking center stage as locals turned to this newfound skill. Today, it is still renowned for producing the most stunning, hand-carved clocks in the world, donning certificates of authenticity with each piece that’s produced. 

Wood Carving is Passed Down from Generation to Generation

As locals refined and developed these meticulous wood carving skills, it quickly became one of the main industries of this region, with merchants purchasing and selling cuckoo clocks all across Europe and even as far as Russia. The skillful clock making process has and continues to be passed down from generation to generation in the Black Forest region. It keeps the tradition alive so these unique works of art can be appreciated and loved throughout the world.

Carvings Represent Germany Culture

When residents turned to clock making, they used their own culture as a means for artistic inspiration which is another reason why the cuckoo clock is a German icon. From the railway stations that first emerged in the region, to the colourful farmhouses, steeple and bells, popular chalet styles, to the joyous beer drinkers clinking their glasses – these clocks embody German culture through and through. 

German Melodies 

Beyond the origin and design, even the melodies that play on the hour are based on German culture. Most cuckoo clocks play one of two songs – Edelweiss and Der Fröhliche Wanderer, which are renowned folk songs throughout the country. Certain clocks also play Trink Bruderlein Trink and In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus, which highlights the specific Bavarian roots in the southeastern area of Germany.

Frankenmuth has you covered for all of your clock related needs, including authentic German cuckoo clocks. Browse our selection online or get in touch to learn more.