Home to the centuries-old tradition of cuckoo clock making, the Black Forest of Southwest Germany has a uniqueness that feels like, well, living in a world charmed with the magic of cuckoo clocks!
The Schneider company has been hand-crafting Kuckuckshuren, German for cuckoo clocks, since 1848 when Anton Schneider began making them in his farmhouse in the Black Forest. Cuckoo clock making continued to be a cottage industry for many years, with some parts still made at home even recently.
Don’t get the wrong impression. To many of us the word “factory” conjures up a highly automated series of conveyor belts, an impersonal atmosphere, and low skilled workers. Not so at the Schneider company. Many employees have been with the company for decades, honing their skills in carving the figures and woodsy carved trims and fronts of the clocks. This factory is more a workshop of artists creating wall pieces using indigenous materials to adorn our walls, delighting our eyes and ears!
Building a Schneider Cuckoo Clock
It seems silly to start by saying that it all starts with a piece of wood. But it does! A rarity these days, the clock making process begins by cutting the shape of the clock decoration, then hand carving it, sanding it, and finishing it to create the clock we hang on our wall.
Modern power tools are used for the first steps, but hand carving still rules when it comes to the detail.
Schneider Cuckoo Clock Movement
The movement of a cuckoo clock is the ingenious mechanism that not only keeps time, but also sends our little friend the cuckoo out of his door to sing to us every half our. In addition, in the case of a musical cuckoo clock, the mechanism delights us with music as well. Schneidrr uses Regula movements — the best in the industry and one reason I chose them to make my clocks — in all of their clocks.
Movements can also be classified as 1- or 8- day which refers to the length of time between windings. Large weights are the clue to the two different types.
Speaking of weights, the heavy metal pine cones hooked to chains on the clock power the cuckoo clock movement keeping both the time and setting off the cuckoo and the animation.
Yes, There is a Real Live Cuckoo!
My goodness! The cuckoo clock does in fact sound just like the real McCoy!
Check out this recording.