History of German Cuckoo Clock
最初の鳩時計は黒い森地方にある小さな村に住む時計技術者フランツ A. ケトラー氏よって発案されたと言われています。
Ref: Association of VdS Germany
The first Black Forest Cuckoo Clock was designed and made by Franz A. Ketterer in the small village of Schonwald near Triberg, Germany, in the depths of the Black Forest. Ketterer managed to reproduce the cuckoo's call by the clever use of bellows producing two different sounds.
Over the following years, the clock industry developed rapidly in the Black Forest. With their inventive genius, cleverness and dexterity, the inhabitants of the region employed the long winter months in making cuckoo clocks with richly hand carved decorations from various woods. In 1808 there were already 688 clockmakers and 582 clock peddlars in the districts of Triberg and Neustadt.
During the long winter months, the farms were snowed-in and the people had a lot of time to create finely handcrafted cuckoo clocks of many styles with rich and varied carvings.
The clocks that were made in winter were sold by the clock peddlars in the summer months during long journeys throughout Europe. The clocks were secured on a frame and carried on the back. They were works of art, sought after luxuries that conquered the hearts of people all over the world.
This ancient craft continued to develop, becoming soon a flourishing industry. The poorly lit "cabinets" on attic floors where watchmakers worked in the past have become light and well-equipped workshops where clock movements and cases are manufactured by up-to-date methods. But the woodcarvings are still handmade by skilled masters as they were 200 years ago. Old clocks, original drawings of the first clocks etc. are still used and modified as patterns for new models, but the cuckoo clock in its basic form is 200 years old and has survived until now. The cuckoo clock symbolizes the past, present and the future.
The actual date, when the first clocks were built in the Black Forest an not be clearly determined and is still in the dark. The date of 1640 is often found on follow ups, although it is by no means historically guaranteed. The first production period was approximately between 1670 and 1720, which is without any great significance since around 1700 the high region of the Black Forest had to endure war conflicts between Austria and France.
The actual start was after 1720. Soon after that the clock trade was widely spread in the high region of the Black Forest.
The region of the clock makers in the 18th century stretched from St. Georgen in the north to Neustadt in the south. Though the main region of the early clock production was the area around Furtwangen.
It is gladly assumed that the inherent aptitudes of the "forest artists" in connection with a distinct specialized knowledge in woodwork, indispensable for life in the mountains, has automatically led to the growing clock production. However, the decisive and advising involvement of the early monastery clergy in the Black Forest and their physical and mathematical capabilities should also be considered.
At the beginning, the Black Forest clocks had a similarity with the then known simple iron watch- or tower-clocks. The clockwork consisted of two types of material – wood and iron wire. Wheel waves made of wood were running on wooden carrier plates. and the running period was 12 hours at most. As drive served a rock on a string with a small counter balance. The wooden parts were eventually replaced with metal ones. There was one exception however, the cases with wooden carrier plates remained. They are still characteristic for the newly built fabrication clock of the 20th century.
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