Cuckoo Clocks - A Description - Styles and Types of Cuckoo Clocks

Cuckoo Clocks

The Chalet Style Cuckoo Clock

The word “Chalet” originates in Switzerland and describes a type of Alpine wooden hut that has been used for many years by sheep and goat herders. At the end of the nineteenth century the Chalet style Cuckoo Clocks became very popular in Switzerland ,and they were highly prized by tourists who loved the Clocks as Swiss souvenirs. Actually there are three basic chalet styles of Cuckoo Clocks, and two of them originate in the Swiss Alps. One is from the village of Brienz which is in the Canton of Bern, Switzerland. The other shape of chalet is Emmental which has a steep roof which has a large overhang that almost reaches to the ground. Yet another type of the chalet style is Bavarian and also has the steep roof and an overhang. The Bavarian Chalet is the most popular model for the addition of a Swiss music box which plays melodies. Often the wooden case of the clock is decorated with carved leaves, birds and animal heads. On most Cuckoo Clocks the dial displays Roman numerals.

Hunter Clocks

The Deerhead or Hunter Clock is a squarish shaped box which displays a traditional hunting scene. In the center at the top of the clock is the head of a buck deer complete with carved antlers. Often there are crossed shotguns and dead game animals arrayed around the the dial of the clock. As with the other cuckoo clocks the Hunter Clock has a pendulum along with weights beneath the clock.

Grandfather Cuckoos

Not all Cuckoo Clocks are small and hang on the wall. There are many beautifully carved Grandfather Cuckoos that are made in the Black Forest, and depict forest scenes.

One Day Cuckoo Clocks

One Day Cuckoos are pendulum driven and depend being wound every 30 hours. Every hour a small door in the clock opens to reveal the cuckoo bird which announces the hour with the appropriate number of Cuckoo calls. On the half hour the cuckoo bird pops out and calls only one time. Under the clock are two hanging weights suspended by chains. Usually the weights are made of cast iron in the shape pine cones. One weight winds the clock by pulling on the correct chain, and the other weight is adjusted for the sound of the cuckoo bird. Cuckoo calls are replicated using small bellows and pipes to emulate the sound of the cuckoo in addition to the sound of a gong being struck. The Cuckoo bird sometimes is designed to move while the clock strikes. The mechanism to do this is by means of an arm which lifts the back of the carved bird.

Eight Day Cuckoo Clocks

Eight Day Cuckoo Clocks work completely the same as the one day clocks. The only difference is in the in the size of the weights which are much heavier in the eight day clock, and this clock only needs only to be wound every eight days.

One Day Musicals

One Day Musical Cuckoo Clocks features the same quality mechanics as the the one day Cuckoo clocks, except there is a third weight added under the clock. The extra weight is for the tunes played by the clock. On the hour the cuckoo bird will announce the hour with the correct number of calls, and then a melody plays. Two tunes are offered with the aid of a Swiss music box where the notes are plucked on a rotating drum. On the half hour the bird will “Cuckoo” one time only and then a second melody will play. Most often the melodies produced in the clock are “The Happy Wanderer”, or “Edelweis”

Eight Day Musicals

Again the Eight Day Musical Cuckoo Clocks are almost exactly the same as the one Day Musical Cuckoo Clocks. The difference here is the size of the weights under the clock which are much heavier in the eight day clock. Also the melody only sounds on the hour in an eight day clock, and not on the half hour. Musical cuckoo clocks often have animated figures which move when the music box plays. The moving figures can include people dancing, sawing wood, drinking beer or even a water wheel turning.

Quartz Cuckoo Clock

The Quartz Cuckoo clocks uses a regular clock mechanism, which draws power from batteries. Depending on what type of battery used these cuckoo clocks will run for approximately for one year on one set of batteries. More animation will draw more power from the batteries, and may decrease the length of time the batteries will last. clock. Because of the use of batteries the Quartz Cuckoo Clock is not an authentic Cuckoo Clock. Also missing ain the Quartz Cuckoo Clocks are the genuine bellows and reeds from the authentic clock which generate the sound of the Cuckoo bird, and which generate the sound of the striking clock. On the hour the cuckoo bird pops out, and even flaps it’s wings, but in the Quartz clock the call of a real cuckoo is recorded along with other sounds from the woods such as a running stream. At that time other animated figures will also move. A volume control is added to the Quartz Clock to increase or diminish the sound along with a shut off switch which will conserve the battery power. The Quartz Cuckoo has the added advantage of having a photo-cell light sensor inserted. When the light is turned off in the evening the cuckoo call may also turned off.

Cuckoo Clocks

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