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Who Invented the Cuckoo Clock?

Posted by Gregory Burton on

Who Invented the Cuckoo Clock?

The cuckoo clock has become a German icon that can be found in homes worldwide. Many of us know where it came from, but few know how it came to be. If you’re curious about who created the first one, learn everything you need to know about the invention of the cuckoo clock below. 

Who Invented the Cuckoo Clock?

The founding father of the cuckoo clock was named Franz Anton Ketterer. It’s believed that Franz invented the cuckoo clock in the early 1700s. After passing, his family carried on the business and his German descendants continue to make weather instruments even today. 

Where Did Franz Live?

Franz lived in the small German village of Schonwald located in the Black Forest Region. The Black Forest Region is well known for its clock making and woodcarving industry. Historically, it was one of the most important mining regions in Europe. But after the war, many locals started woodcarving and producing clocks in the mid-17th century to earn an income as the mines closed up. To date, the region is still famous for its cuckoo clocks, watchmaking, and tourism.

What Made His Clock Different?

The clocks that were made before the cuckoo clock had characters and moving parts including dancers, cows, and skeletons. At each hour, these characters would perform an action that would indicate the change of the hour. Franz’s cuckoo clock was the first to integrate both an action and a sound. He also was the first to use the rooster and the coo-coo sound. By using twin bellows, air could be sent through small pipes to create the coo-coo at the precise time that the rooster moved.

Are Cuckoo Clocks Still Made in Germany?

Yes, cuckoo clocks are still made by companies that are located in the Black Forest valley in Germany, including the Anton Schneider Sohne, Hekas and Romba clock companies. They are also still hand-carved from wood using ancient techniques mastered in Germany in the 1800s and passed down through generations. They use the same weight-driven mechanisms used in the past as well, but some are also made with small quartz batteries. The main difference between the clocks made today and the ones in the past is the tools that are used. Clockmakers now have access to far more advanced tools that greatly speed up the process.  

Where Can I Buy an Authentic Black Forest Cuckoo Clock?

We offer a range of antique and new Black Forest cuckoo clocks at Frankenmuth Clock Company. We are America’s leading provider of German clocks and other genuine, high-quality souvenirs. We have the largest selection of clocks in the entire mid-west USA, and a massive selection of Bavarian traditional Christmas items.

Come visit us today in Frankenmuth, Michigan or browse our clock selection online.


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