THE CUCKOO CLOCK STORY

HOW BLACKFOREST GERMAN CUCKOO CLOCKS ARE MADE

A cuckoo clock is a typically pendulum-regulated clock that strikes the hours with a sound like a common cuckoo’s call and has an automated cuckoo bird that moves with each note. Some move their wings and open/close their beaks while leaning forward, whereas in others, only the bird’s body leans forward. The mechanism to produce the cuckoo call has been in use since the middle of the 18th century and has remained almost without variation until the present.

The design of a cuckoo clock is made of Black forest Pine Wood in the “traditional style” or “chalet” to hang on a wall. In the “traditional style” the wooden case is decorated with carved leaves and animals. They have an automation of the bird that appears through a small trap door while the clock is striking.

“Verein die Schwarzwalduhr” Vds Certification from the Black Forest Clock association is awarded to the clocks made entirely of wood (except the movements), with all essential parts produced in the Black Forest and that meet quality controls set by the association.

Mechanical Cuckoo Clock

There are two kinds of movements: one-day and eight-day clockworks. Some have musical devices, and play a tune on a Swiss music box after striking the hours and half-hours. Musical cuckoo clocks frequently have other automation which moves when the music box plays. The weights are made of cast iron in a pine cone shape and the “cuc-koo” sound is created by two tiny bellows (pipes) in the clock, the clock’s movement activates the bellows to send a puff of air into each pipe alternately when the timekeeper strikes.

Quartz Cuckoo Clock
In recent years, quartz (battery-powered) cuckoo clocks have become available. As with their mechanical counterparts, the cuckoo bird emerges from its enclosure and moves up and down, but on the quartz timepieces it also flaps its wings and opens its beak while it sings. During the call the double doors open and the cuckoo emerges as usual, but only on the full

hour, and they do not have a gong wire chime. The movement of the cuckoo in such clocks is regulated by an electromagnet that pulses on and off, it is a digital recording of a cuckoo calling in the wild (with a corresponding echo). The cuckoo call is usually accompanied by the sound of a waterfall.

In musical quartz clocks, the hourly chime is followed by the replay of one of twelve popular melodies (one for each hour). Uniquely, quartz cuckoo clocks often include a sensor, so that when the lights are turned off at night they automatically silence the hourly chime, the function is referred to as a ‘night silence’ feature. On quartz clocks the weights are conventionally cast in the shape of Aleppo pine cones made of plastic /wood  as are  the cuckoo bird and clock hands. The pendulum bob is often hand carved. Here, the weights and pendulum are purely ornamental as the clock is driven by battery power. As with mechanical cuckoo clocks, the dial is usually small, and typically marked with Roman numerals. The benefits of Quartz Cuckoo Clocks are definitely appealing to some as the maintenance required is often quite minimal.