Cuckoo Clocks Today

by Always-Writing

My mother had a cuckoo clock, but most of the cuckoo clocks today are a totally different animal. Most are battery-operated, and some made of plastic, but they are still marvels!

I remember growing up with an old German cuckoo clock in our home. It belonged to my mother. I cannot say it belonged to my parents, because every single one of the statues, knickknacks, clocks and trinkets, belonged to my mother - and that should be in bold, underlined, and in capital letters!

Her beautiful German cuckoo clock was one of her prize possessions. No one but my mother was allowed to touch it. My dad was not allowed to touch it. If any of us even got close to it - simply to look at it - we would be apprehended by my mother, and we would be in trouble. My dad was in Germany during World War II, so that may be where it came from. I never did know. All that I do know, is that she dearly loved that cuckoo clock, and would have loved the ones featured here, too.

Photo credit for the oval introduction photo above

The oval introduction photo is from Wikimedia Commons. Click on the author's name to view it enlarged. He gave us quite a spectacular photo!

Author: herval

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

I Do Not Think I Could Handle The Noise!

Think about it - all of those whirrs, and chimes, and bells...

As much as I love cuckoo clocks, I do not think I would want an entire wall of them in my home. Can you imagine? Every 15 minutes, some cuckoo clock would ding, whirr, ring, or chime. The noise would be deafening, if not downright annoying.

Regardless of the sheer volume of noise, what if they did not all keep the correct time? One would no sooner breathe a sigh of relief that the "timely" din had ended, than a latecomer would start in on its routine.

Just think about how many hours out of a day would have to be spent winding them. The old cuckoo clocks did not run on batteries; they had to be wound! How many times could you actually do that, before you tired of it, and picked up the phone to see if someone would take them "off your hands"?

I suppose if they were all battery operated, it would not be so time-consuming to own them, but the sounding of the quarter hour, the half hour, and the hour would be enough to dissuade all but the most dedicated cuckoo lover.

We only had one, when I was a child. As an adult, I have none.

This Black Forest Cuckoo Clock cost more than my first home!

Authentic Eight Day Black Forest certified cuckoo clock
Original Eight Day Movement Musical Big Cuckoo Clock with 2 Songs and Dancers 55 Inch

Original eight day movement musical big cuckoo clock with 2 songs and dancers. The clocks are of superior German quality and have solid top clamps. The clock case is made of gen...

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How is this, for a traditional cuckoo clock?

My mother would have loved it!
Traditional Cuckoo Clock
Traditional Cuckoo Clock

A Brief History of Cuckoo Clocks

Accompanied by a photo from the Black Forest in Germany

Black Forest GermanyHundreds of years ago...there were no cuckoo clocks.The first mention of a clock that sounded like it was a cuckoo clock, was found in 1629. The clock was reputedly owned by a prince, but the whereabouts of that clock are unknown.

There are a few more historical references to clocks that operated with the mechanisms found in cuckoo clocks, today, but again - no clocks to accompany the descriptions. Some of the writings about the clocks even suggested ways to improve them, so there was evidently a bit of common knowledge about cuckoo clocks, even in the 1600's.

In the 1700's, a clock was referred to that was in a palace, in Berlin, Germany. The clock was said to play several different church hymns, and sound off every fifteen minutes. That clock also, has vanished in antiquity.

Sometime between 1740 and 1750, the first cuckoo clocks emerged from the Black Forest area of Germany. There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that they were not first manufactured there, but to this day, the most elaborate, elegant, and expensive cuckoo clocks come from the Black Forest area.

Many spectacular cuckoo clocks can be seen at the Cuckooland Museum, in Cheshire, England, at the Deutsches Uhrenmuseum in Germany, and in a private collection in Minneapolis, which can be seen by appointment only.

Despite the passage of hundreds of years, the mechanism that operates most of the cuckoo clocks today, has virtually been unchanged.

Another Beautiful Cuckoo Clock

From August Schwer
German Cuckoo Clock 8-day-movement Chalet-Style 22.00 inch - Authentic black forest cuckoo clock ...

36-58-87801P German Cuckoo Clock 8-day-movement Chalet-Style 55cm by August Schwer

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A Funny Cuckoo Clock

The wife strikes her husband with a rolling pin!
River City Clocks Eight Day Musical Cuckoo Clock, The Noodle Bruiser Wife Strikes Beer Drinker Hu...

This eight day musical Black forest cuckoo clock cottage shows what happens when you upset your old lady. This At the top of every hour the men raise their beer steins up and do...

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In Pennsylvania - Some Truly Beautiful Cuckoo Clocks

From traditional to modern

The six photos below, are from a place in Pennsylvania that offers cuckoo clocks to suit anyone's taste. They have the traditional Black Forest cuckoo clocks, stylish, modern cuckoo clocks, and some that appear to be old cuckoo clocks, but which are battery-operated.

They have graciously consented to allow us to showcase a few of them. Enjoy!

Oh, by the way, if you are in Pennsylvania, do try to see these impressive clocks "in person". They are located the village of Lahaska, in Bucks County, at the Peddler's Village. It is at the intersection of Route 202 and Route 263. If you are fortunate enough to have GPS navigation, use the address below, as the GPS system will not easily recognize the route address.

2400 Street Road, New Hope, PA 18938.

You can also contact them through the Peddler's Village website, and enjoy seeing their beautiful clocks, here: Fehrenbach Black Forest Clocks

More Information on the Gallery of Clocks below:

The first five cuckoo clocks below, are 8-day clocks. Why they are called "8-day" instead of "7-day", is a mystery, as it seems the best time to rewind an 8-day clock, is 7 days after you wound it the last time. There are also cuckoo clocks that are called 1-day clocks. That one is easy to figure out; it will need to be wound once every 24 hours. The 1-day cuckoo clocks will usually run for approximately 30 hours, but it is easier to remember to wind it up once a day, at the same time of day.

Often, you can tell the difference by looking at the weights that hang down from the chains below the clocks. The larger, heavier weights indicate that you are viewing an 8-day clock, and the smaller weights indicate the clock is a 1-day clock. If there are three weights, one of them will be appropriated to operate any musical mechanism, or moving figures on the clock.

If the weights remind you of pine cones, they are supposed to, and the weights are often referred to as pine cones, too!

The last clock in the gallery below, is a battery-operated cuckoo clock. That is a nice option we have today, so one is not constantly forgetting to rewind the clock, necessitating resetting the hands to the proper time.

We hope you have enjoyed seeing these six featured clocks, and we are most gracious to the people who allowed us to showcase them here for you to enjoy. If you like the clocks, take a few moments to read their interesting story, here:

About German Clocks and Gifts, and the Fehrenbach family


Fehrenbach Black Forest Clocks

Schneider Chalet Cuckoo Clock with men playing cards
Schneider Chalet Cuckoo Clock with men playing cards
Hönes Traditional Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks with bears
Hönes Traditional Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks with bears
Schneider Blue Butterfly Cuckoo Clock
Schneider Blue Butterfly Cuckoo Clock
Schneider Chalet Cuckoo Clock with organ player and balloons
Schneider Chalet Cuckoo Clock with organ player and balloons
Schneider Chalet Cuckoo Clock with fisherman
Schneider Chalet Cuckoo Clock with fisherman
Chalet Battery-Operated Cuckoo Clock with Accordian Player and Saint Bernard
Chalet Battery-Operated Cuckoo Clock with Accordian Player and Saint Bernard

Cuckoo Clocks in Our Time

Much has changed - much remains the same

Today, cuckoo clocks can be made of wood, plastic, metal, resin, or any combination of these. Instead of being painstakingly made one at a time, many are mass-produced in factories.

We have seen cuckoo clocks with:

  • goats
  • cats
  • bears
  • dogs
  • horses
  • deer,
  • dancers
  • lovebirds
  • beer drinkers
  • see saw riders
  • milkmaids
  • hunters
  • well, this list could go on for a long, long time!

Of course, all of the cuckoo clocks have a cuckoo bird, or another figure that pops out, or dances, or twirls to signal the time. Some of them only strike the hour, some strike the half hour and the hour, and some strike every 15 minutes, every half hour, and every hour. There are some cuckoo clocks that can easily be adjusted to strike only on the hour, too!

The cuckoo clocks of today are a far cry from the original ones that craftsmen took months, even years, to create - with the exception of some of the most elaborate and expensive ones. That fact notwithstanding, the public worldwide still has a passion for cuckoo clocks, and it is evident that they will be with us for a long, long, time! Pun intended.

Hunting Cuckoo Clock

Complete with deer head, crossed rifles and dancers to mark the time
Cuckoo Clock Hunting clock

Colour: Walnut Height: 67 cm/26.3 inch Width: 43 cm/17 inch Depth: 33 cm/13 inch Wooden dial, wooden hands, wooden bird, and night shut off 5 years product warranty The cuckoo c...

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Of Course, There Is A Disney Character Cuckoo Clock

Mickey and Minnie get into everything!
Disney Character Cuckoo Clock: Happiest Of Times by The Bradford Exchange

Disney Character Wooden Cuckoo Clock! With Images of Mickey, Minnie and 40 More of Your Disney Favorites! - Is it ever possible to pick a favorite story or character from the he...

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Eight beautiful cuckoo clocks

Cuckoo Clocks
Cuckoo Clocks

This is a terrific book about Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks

With over 700 "striking" images!
Rare and Unusual Black Forest Clocks

The creativity, innovation, and craftsmanship represented by the clocks from Germany's Black Forest region are well covered in this definitive guide. English-speaking horologist...

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Have you ever owned a cuckoo clock?

Cuckoo Clocks on eBay

You never know what you will find there
Updated: 04/06/2017, Always-Writing
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What do you know about Cuckoo Clocks?

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Always-Writing on 12/05/2014

That is definitely one issue with cuckoo clocks and Grandfather clocks. When they need repair, it is often costly. The battery-operated clocks are a bit easier to handle, though. Even if they need a complete new set of works, the repair is usually economically feasible!

Guest on 12/04/2014

@WriterArtist: 'the clock stopped, never to go again, when the old man died...' My Gramps clock is just like that. I need a month's salary to throw at an artisan to repair him for me.

Always-Writing on 12/04/2014

I grew up with my dad singing us that song, and I sang it to my children, also. Love the tune, and glad you reminded me about that song!

WriterArtist on 12/03/2014

I love cuckoo clocks of the old type and I love the song "My grandfather's clock was too large for the shelf so it stood 90 years on the floor".

Always-Writing on 11/30/2014

That might be easier to live with. I often wondered how people could stand the noisy cuckoo announcing the time, but I would imagine they get used to it. I still really like them, though!

kajohu on 11/29/2014

I remember wanting a cuckoo clock like my grandparents had. We have something simpler on our wall, with two weights (one to drive the hands, and one to drive the chimes, but alas, there's no cuckoo!

Always-Writing on 10/22/2014

I think the craftsmanship on them is spectacular. It is hard to imagine the work that goes into creating the clock cases for the cuckoo clocks! I can understand the mechanism much easier. If you get one, please send us a photo so we can display it here.

JoHarrington on 10/21/2014

I've never owned a cuckoo clock, but you've made me want one now!

Always-Writing on 10/21/2014

As much as I love their looks, I am not convinced I could easily bear the constant fifteen minute, half hour, and hourly reminders. Especially if I am reading something that is suspenseful or actually frightening. I would "jump out of my skin" when the cuckoo "cucked" the time!

Guest on 10/18/2014

I come from a family of striking clock owners. My parents have space for an antique Victorian grandfather clock in the hall and a grandmother clock in the dining room. We have two mantlepiece Westminster chimers here, one of which no longer goes (Gramps, he belonged to my grandfather) and Junior, who, rather contrarily, has stopped at ten to two, which means I shall have to wind him tomorrow unless I am awake at that hour this morning. Not felt the need for a cuckoo clock, as being in a fairly small house means that one striker can be heard throughout.

Those are beautiful clocks though, no doubt about it.

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