clock design

clock   design

Contrary to popular belief, cuckoo clocks  clock design  were not of Swiss origin, but came from the 'Schwartzwald', the Black Forest district of Germany. Hereabouts, the peasant communities had developed skills in woodworking. 

Wood supplies were very plentiful and included lime, oak, and mahogany. Beech was especially useful because its qualities provided suitably hard- wearing material for carving the gear wheels used in the clock mechanisms. The wild animals hunted locally also provided a source of bone and horn to make the clock faces, hands, and also to add decoration.

clock design
The idea that cuckoo clocks came from Switzerland resulted from conditions that followed the 1914-18 War with Germany. Anti-German feelings at the time led to a drop in demand for German-produced goods. 

This seriously affected the business of the Black Forest people and, in an attempt to maintain sales of the clocks, they were exported via Switzerland. The ploy evidently worked, with so many people in the UK still certain that cuckoo clocks were Swiss made! Some examples, however, besides announcing the hours by the cuckoo call, play music from mechanisms that may well have been made in Switzerland. 

However, musical box mechanisms were also bought from German and Czechoslovakian manufacturers.

Traditionally the    clock design   were of two sorts, the bracket clocks  in polished cases, and the more familiar type within highly carved cases. The former usually had painted human faces behind a glass-panelled door, some faces had eyes that moved from side to side with every move of the hidden pendulum. 

clock  design
The latter sort, the more familiar type, was usually carved with figures of the forest, from deer, rabbits, quails, and capercaillies to the cuckoo itself, perhaps including a chalet scene. 

The intricate carving of the clock cases provided an unfortunate dust trap, the bane of many a tidy housewife!

Above the mechanism and the clock face is the trap door behind which the cuckoo hides until the appointed time for it to spring forward to 'cuckoo' the hour. 

The clock also triggers off a bellows mechanism that blows air through two little pipes tuned I to imitate the cuckoo call. Also made, but not so popular, were i 'quail clocks' which had a little quail call to mark the passing hours. 

clock design

The mechanism for clock design bird needed only one tuned pipe! Some of the cuckoo clocks were accompanied by a trumpeter    figure who emerges from a door below the clock face. He would usually be attired in military uniform and join the cuckoo in announcing the hours and maybe play on the quarters. 

This was a clock worth switching off at bedtime! All these clocks appeared to be accompanied by a gong sound and they could really kick up a fuss when the time came for their appearance!

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