FAQs About The History Of Cuckoo Clocks

by Gregory Burton

Not many people know the true story behind the iconic cuckoo clock, as most people prefer to focus on her timeless beauty and unique features. But where was the cuckoo clock invented and what was the motivation behind its creation? Here we look into the history of cuckoo clocks and provide you with some interesting facts about these unique timepieces.

Faqs about the History of Cuckoo Clocks

Where was the cuckoo clock invented?

The person who first invented the cuckoo clock is a mystery to this day. It is, however, believed that the origins of the cuckoo clock date back to the early 1600’s, where the first known description was recorded in 1629.

Where do the clocks come from?

The development of the cuckoo clock was believed to have occurred in southwestern Germany, in an area called Black Forest. Farmers used logs from the forest to build the clocks to help pay their bills during the winter months. Even to this day, there are Black Forest cuckoo clock makers that preserve the history by continuing to craft and carve the clocks.

How are the clocks made today?

Cuckoo clock makers around the world continue to construct the clocks with the same mechanics and components that were mastered by the Black Forest company. However, there are a variety of Cuckoo clocks that use more non-traditional internal mechanisms nowadays.

Do all cuckoo clocks have carvings?

Many clocks are only painted with designs, but traditionally, clocks were carved. Once the clock’s shape is drawn and cut out from a block of wood, the crafter uses a series of carving knives to flesh out intricate designs into the wood.

How does the cuckoo clock work?

The cuckoo clock is pendulum-regulated and strikes at the hour by releasing a small toy cuckoo bird that makes an audible sound. The clock operates when a series of internal and external parts work together to eject the cuckoo. An elaborate system of brass gears inside the clock works together to operate the cuckoo function and hands, while the speed is regulated by chains and cast iron weights. Before each cuckoo, a small hammer on the end of a wire hits down onto a tiny gong.

How is the call of the cuckoo created?

The call of the cuckoo is created as air pumps in and out of two tiny bellows. The amount of cuckoo calls will indicate which hour it is. For example, three cuckoos indicate three o’clock in the morning.

Is the Black Forest style the only style?

The Black Forest clock is part of the traditional-style cuckoo clocks. These clocks are focused on nature, they often need to be wound frequently, and have weights that hang below the clock. There are other styles of cuckoo, but more commonly seen is the chalet-style cuckoo clock, which is a 20th century piece with more animated characters like the beer steins and mill wheels. There are now even battery powered cuckoo clocks that produce the song electronically known as quartz cuckoo clocks.

The cuckoo clock is a timeless masterpiece. To find out more or to see one in action in your own home, call or visit us at Frankenmuth Clock Company.