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The Clock Route Of The Black Forest

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What if you knew there was a vacation spot that combined your love of clocks with breathtaking scenery, German tradition, delicious cuisine and historic sites? Well, there is such a place. Up high on the mountain range in the southwest region of Blog-Black#3-Forest-germany.travel-en-index-htmlGermany, bordering the Rhine River, sits an expansive carpet of trees known as the Black Forest. It’s a  place filled with myths and fairy tale settings, where if you were ever to cross paths with a hobbit or a team of dwarfs, that’s where it could happen.

Easy Exploration

You can be one of the millions of visitors who stroll through the Forest each year. When you’re there, you’ll find a series of travel routes throughout the region that make it easy to explore at your own pace. A-Black#2-Forest-MAP-black-forestEach route journeys through places that are linked by a common theme; among the most popular routes are the Romantic Route along the Rhine River, the Schwäbisch Baroque Route and the circular shaped Clock Route known in German as “Deutsche Uhrenstrasse.”

Sites, Sounds and Smells

The path of the Clock Route is a circular, so any town along the way is a proper starting point. The route road is a packed tour of discovery and runs about about 320 kilometers through an immense variety of sites, sounds, smells, culture and history. You’ll encounter picturesque towns and A-black#2-forest-myfamouscastles-blogspot-comquaint villages with shop signs of wrought iron, hotels, inns, guest houses and restaurants that serve local specialties like smoked ham and streamed trout… and of course Wild Cherry German Schnapps. The route takes you through many scenic charms of the Black Forest – half-timbered farmhouses with wooden shingles, crystal clear streams, lakes and waterfalls, lush meadows, winding valleys and thick forests of dark green. Then there are the ancient castles, monasteries and Roman baths, skiing in the winter,  hiking in the summer, and a diverse selection of health and wellness resorts. The more you know about this remarkable place, the better it sounds.

A-Black3-Forest-cuckoo-sample-rh4571Yet, with its amazing lineup of impressive attractions, one of the biggest reasons tourists head to the Black Forest is the allure of the humble cuckoo clock. In fact, the charm of the cuckoo clock has played such an important role in shaping region’s history, that the clock has long standing been a symbol of the Black Forest and it’s 300 years old tradition of clock making. What better introduction to that tradition could there be than a jaunt down the German Clock Route?

As you journey the route you’ll find small clock making workshops, state of the art factories like Rombach and Haas and Anton Schneider, and clock painting studios. You’ll be able to observe, first hand style, clock smiths working their craft, from beginning to end; and by the time you’re done you’ll have a greater insight into the art and science A-Clock-Paintingof German clock making.

World’s Largest Collection

Along the entire stretch of the Clock Route,  you’ll also encounter so many fascinating places, rich in tradition with a story to tell. One of those places is Furtwangen. Your camera will be busy in this small picturesque city, which for a long time, has been the largest clock production center in the region. It’s also the home of the world famous German Clock Museum (“Deutsches-Uhrenmuseum”.) A-Black#2-Forest-antique-deutsches-uhrenmuseum.deBut get ready, because they have the world’s largest collection of A-black-antique-wrought-museum-furtenwagen-ironGerman clocks – over 4,000 of them. So, you might want to set aside some extra time to Frühe Kuckucksuhr, Schwarzwald (?), 2. Hälfte 18. Jahrhundert.take it  all in. The museum began as an idea of Robert Gerwig, the headmaster of the first clock maker’s school founded there. That was in the mid nineteenth century. In his foresight, he urged the people to keep and collect the old hand-carved wooden clocks that would eventually become the beginning of the German Clock Museum. And if you want to behold the landscape from a high vantage point, take a climb up the Furtwangen’s observation tower for a magnificent view.

Where The Cuckoo Clock Was Born

Not far from Furtwangen is the beautiful holiday retreat spot of Schonwald, the place where by popular and traditional belief, clock master Franz Kellerer devised a clever mechanical system using two small bellows and wooden whistles, much like the pipe organ, to reproduce the familiar two-note call of the cuckoo. The year was about 1740, and that was the birth of the world’s very  first cuckoo clock.

A-#2Black=Forest-domenico1974.wordpress.com-schiltach-4Continuing on the route, you’ll come to Schwenningen, formerly the biggest clock-making town in the world. There you’ll find the Museum of Clock Industry housed in an old factory building. It’s well worth your visiting time, especially if you’re interested in the history of the alarm clock and industrial clock. There is also a health spa, clock workshops, an ice skating rink and the International Aircraft Museum. It’s a town with plenty of character.

When you come to the beautiful town of Schonach, you’ll see and hear the largest cuckoo clock in the world. And if you’re a hobby clock maker or looking for replacement parts for old clocks, you’ll find Trossingen to be a paradise with over 10,000 clock building items. But let’s not forget about grandfather clocks – in the towns of  Lenzkirch and Lauterbach you can take in some excellent exhibits featuring a number of stately grandfather clocks and their German history. And in the village of Simonswald, known for its cuckoo clock production, you can also experience its folklore evenings,  jewelry making, old world mills and its many restaurants dating back to the 15th and 16th century.

Ketterer devised a clever mechanical system using two small bellows and wooden whistles, much like the pipe organ, to reproduce the distinctive two-note call of the cuckoo. – See more at: https://www.thewellmadeclock.com/the-little-pipe-organ-history-of-the-cuckoo-clock.aspx#sthash.utit90hg.dpufWhen you come to the beautiful town of Schonach, you’ll see and hear two of the largest cuckoo clocks in the world. And if you’re a hobby clock maker or looking for replacement parts for old clocks, you’ll find Trossingen to be a paradise with over 10,000 clock building items. But let’s not forget about grandfather clocks – in the towns of  Lenzkirch and Lauterbach you can take in some excellent exhibits featuring a number of grand (stately) grandfather clocks and their German history. And in the village of Simonswald, known for its cuckoo clock production, you can also experience its folklore evenings,  jewelry making, old world mills and its many restaurants dating back to the 15th and 16th century.

Want to see an  A-Black#2-Forest-travel-Triberg-waterfallsimpressive collection of antique Black Forest clocks and  barrel organs? You can at the Black Forest Museum (“Schwarzwaldmuseum”)  It has the largest collection of barrel organs in Europe. The museum is located above the entrance to the beautiful Triberg waterfalls, the highest in Germany.  A-Black#2-liveauctioneers-organWhen you arrive at the entrance to the falls in the morning bring a bag of peanuts with you –  you’ll find a whole lot of squirrels waiting for a second breakfast.

So if you’ve been thinking of a new place to visit on your next vacation, Germany’s Black Forest could be just for you. We’ve touched on just some of the attractions; there are so many more.

In the meantime, you can take a “guided tour” of the Black Forest in just two minutes…

by watching this video of the Black Forest. One of its stops is Staufen, a charming medieval  town with cobblestone streets and colorful buildings, located along the southern trunk of the forest.  Enjoy!

 

 

Photo Credits:

Large Top Photo #1 – View Of Valley With Clouds – germany.travel/en/index.html

Photo #2 – View Of River Through The Trees – germany.travel/en/index.html

Photo #3 – Map Of Germany – mygermancity.com

Photo# 4 – Liechtenstein Castle – myfamouscastles.blogspot.com

Photo #5 – Rombach and Haas Cuckoo Clock -TheWellMadeclock.com

Photo# 6 – Artist Painting Clock Faces – germany.travel/en/index.html

Photo #7 – Antique German Shield Style Wall Clock – deutsches-uhrenmuseum.de

Photo #8 – Antique Wrought Iron Mantel Clock – deutsches-uhrenmuseum.de

Photo #9 – Antique German Cuckoo Clock – deutsches-uhrenmuseum.de

Photo #10 – Small Black Forest Town – domenico1974.wordpress.com

Photo #11 – Waterfall in Triberg – black-forest-travel.com

Photo #12 – Antique German Barrel Organ – liveauctioneers.com

Video Credit:

A Walk In The Woods – ricksteves.com

 

 

 

Why Doesn’t My Cuckoo Bird Cuckoo?

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If you’ve just unpacked your new cuckoo clock and your cuckoo bird isn’t singing…

you can be sure it’s not due to a sore throat or shyness. More likely it’s because he can’t get his little door to open, or that there’s something jamming the works down the line in the chains, or bellows or in a wire or two. Or maybe its from things that should be hanging from the clock, but are still sitting in the box.

Yes, your cuckoo is a little fellow, but small as he is, he still needs his array of mechanical backup gear to perform his simple concert. So if your cuckoo bird isn’t cuckooing, watch this short video; it will help you diagnose and fix the problem easily and quickly.

Do you have troubleshooting questions about clocks? Check our FAQ page for answers.

Decorating With Clocks

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 A  vase, a painting, a statue…

when we think of home decorating, these usually come to mind. But I wonder how often we consider a wall, mantel or floor clock instead? BLOG#2-hermle-Porcelain-22686000130-These may not leap out at first because we’re so used to clocks as functional things and we can overlook their aesthetic appeal. But thinking of a clock as a piece of art and as an expression of our personality, our approach to decorating will surely be different. A well chosen timepiece becomes part of the ensemble of the furnishings of a room. Traditionally, clocks have been used for centuries to beautify a home and imbue it with atmosphere and character. With so many shapes, textures, sizes and designs, their versatility works very well in any style of decor whether it’s traditional, contemporary, country, whimsical, vintage or ultra-modern.

BLOG-Hermle-Debden-Mantel-22864_070340Where do you begin when decorating with clocks…

and are there any general rules to follow? I asked Darsi Floersh, an award winning senior interior designer with O’Hara Interior Designs. She said “There is no fixed formula in the approach. But what I have found to work best in choosing a timepiece is to keep in mind these four aspects in relation to the elements of the room: color, shape, style and proportion. My experience in using clocks for various motifs is that they’re highly versatile and complimentary, and with so many to choose from, in the end the only real way to find what works is to try it. Use your eye and trust your artistic instincts. You might be very surprised. And if you get down to the final finishing touches in a room and you’re stumped about what to put there, a clock can often be the answer. Sometimes it’s those unplanned final finishing touches that become the most important element of the overall design.”

So take a look around your home. As you’re doing that…

think about color, shape, style and proportion. Then just choose a timepiece that you feel represents you, one that will enhance your decor…and sit back and enjoy the interest and beauty it adds to your room. Sometimes decorating with a clock can be as simple as hanging it in place of a painting, but there are many other ways to decorate with clocks as you’ll see below.

Clock Galleries

We’ve all seen photo and art galleries. But then there is a different kind of gallery, the clock gallery, where a grouping of clocks are arranged on a wall in a variety of ways. A-Blog-Clock-deco-grouping-PintClock galleries have become a trend in interior decorating and there are so many creative display possibilities. Here are a few ideas:

Design Feature Gallery

A-deco-mastenonlin.blogspot.com-gallery-oversizeHave you a wall or hallway that needs a new tempo? Create a gallery of clocks by arranging various sizes and shapes in an interesting pattern.  If you already have an art or photo gallery in your home, add a clock or two for variety and interest. In the photo on the right, a varied assortment of styles of large wall clocks creates a dramatic display that enhances the rustic exposed brick.

Time Zone Gallery

Here is a fun idea that keeps memories warm. If you have favorite vacation spots abroad, hang several wall clocks to display the different time zones. It’ll keep you connected to those places whenever you see the clock.

Bliss Image Gallery

A-time-zonegallery-houseofpenoched...etcLong-distance: If you have people you care about living far away you can set the clocks to their time zones and think about them whenever you check the hour. One loving mother who has three sons living abroad has hung three clocks all in a row showing the time in India, London and Chicago.

Children’s Birth Times: Want to celebrate important moments? Set the clock hands to display the exact time of the births of each of your children or grandchildren. Depending on the type of clock you have, battery operated or mechanical, stopping the time is easily done by removing the battery or by not winding the clock. You can also hang photographs above the clocks to create a clock-photo combination display.

Focal Point of a Room

A-#2Blog-focal-point-placesinthehome-Did you know that a clock doesn’t always have to “blend in” to the theme of a room? There are a variety of creative ways to give your clock “center stage”. Here are a few suggestions:

Location: some locations within a room are more obvious than others. Pick a prominent spot that frequently catches your eye and place your clock there. One way to do that is by putting it directly across from the entryway so that it’s the very first thing you see when you enter the room.

Size: Chic over-sized wall clocks like our 30″, 36″ and 49″ sizes are real attention-getters. Sometimes a large clock is all that’s needed to create a stunning effect on a room.

Color and Tone: Want to draw attention and stir up fun in rooms? Bright colored clocks are a great way to do that. Especially if you have mostly neutral colors. And in a room full of solids, a busy patterned clock can add texture and pop. A-deco-Hermle -orangesColor can also be used to tie a room together. For example, a maroon clock can bring out the maroon color in the pattern of an easy chair or sofa. And placing a dark colored clock on a white or light colored wall is an eye-catching option; or if your wall has a dark tone, place a light colored clock. Painters do it all the time. One dark spot of color put in an area of light can bring the needed emphasis and contrast to the painting. Play around with the color, shape or pattern of your clocks and see what a pleasing arrangement you can make.

Mixing It Up: The rules of keeping the decor of a room within a consistent time have become flexible. So you can use a traditional period clock as a focal point in a contemporary period room.BLOG-#2Rock-Powered 7640-rh7640webbig_289x433

 

BLOG#2-Hermle-Lester 70503000701 70503_000701Shy? Reluctant to take the plunge and put a bold or unusual clock in the middle of your living room? Then try it in a family room, den or home office.

Shelf It

A-#2deco-raisingmightyarrows.netMantel ClockOne good pointer to follow when placing a clock on a shelf is make sure that your clock is a different size  than other objects on the shelf.  That size variation will create more visual interest and flow.

Clocks and books make a great combination on a shelf, bookcase and of course a fireplace mantle. They can be used as bookends to hold a vertical row of books. Two or three clocks can also be positioned asymmetrically on top of horizontally stacked books. You can get pretty creative by selecting the size and color of the clock based on the size and color of the books. Antique clocks also look so good when mixed in with vintage books. And sometimes a table top clock or desk clock placed in just the right spot can be that perfect and needed finishing touch.

 

Large Wall Clocks

A-Blog-deco-big-fireplace-wall Do you have a high ceiling and a tall blank wall? A large wall clock not only fills the empty void but as I mentioned before it creates a center of attention. Oversize wall clocks can also be used for mantle displays when you have a sizable empty space above your fireplace. So instead of hanging the clock on the wall, just let it rest right on the top of the mantle. Make sure to securely stabilize the clock so that it doesn’t roll away. You can also hang it very low just above the mantle so that it appears to be resting on the top of the mantle.

Planning to place a wall clock on a large wall with no other wall hangings? Make sure you have a clock that is large enough so that it doesn’t look lost in the space, and be sure to hang the clock at the appropriate height (usually a little above eye level). Placing your clock too high or too low will spoil the effect in the same way that a painting loses it’s impact if it’s placed too high on a wall.

Stately Grandeur & More – Grandfather Clocks 

A-blog-deco-grand-archesWhen we think of a grandfather clock most of us picture it standing in a traditional location like a living room or an entryway or foyer. A-Blog-Deco-Grandf-near-stairBut there’s something about the design and presence of this magnificent timepiece that gives it so many decorating possibilities. It can add a touch of elegance in unlikely places such as a corner between two windows or a short span of wall space close to an open entryway. A grandfather clock A-blog-deco-grand-stair-landingcan stretch or shrink our visual perception of room by making ceilings appear higher or a large room more intimate and cozy. It’s been put to use as a room divider and as an unexpected oasis to greet us on the landing of a stairway.

 

 

Warming Up – Offices & Reception Areas

A tastefully decorated office or reception area can make that first impression a positive one. And for some professionals such as consultants  who meet  clients on a on-on-one basis, a fine timepiece on a shelf or desk adds an inviting cordiality and relaxed charm to the atmosphere.

Take Time Out For Patios and Gardens

A-blog-garden-clock-gardenornamentsdirect.comOutdoor wall clocks can lend elegance and a luxurious feel to just about any outdoor setting. Some multifunction models measure temperature and humidity as well.A-blog-deco-outdoor-garden-clock Pedestal clocks in a larger garden area can also be an unexpected addition. Brandie Morris of Electric Time Company recently told me about a pedestal clock, (better known as a “street clock”) that they have just designed for a homeowner. He plans to present the clock as a gift to his wife commemorating their wedding anniversary and the purchase of their home, both falling on the same date. The crown of the clock is inscribed with “Home Sweet Home” and the dial with the mutual date. How original!

Kinetic Sculpture

Kinetic art is as an art form that involves motion. Because that’s such a broad definition, it encompasses many different styles of art and endless possibilities. Are clocks included? Certainly! Any analog clock with a moving pendulum is a true kinetic sculpture; the most kinetic one of all being the cuckoo clock BLOG-#2Schneider-cuckoowith its ever busy cuckoo bird making its rounds in and out the door. And if the cuckoo clock features animated figurines that dance, eat, drink, chop wood and so on, then it’s that much more of a kinetic spectacle. Isn’t it good to know there’s no rule in decorating that says objects need to be perfectly still?

Not Seen But Felt

Clocks offer not just visible possibilities as decorative pieces, but something more. Get ready, because this is not the typical stuff you read in articles about decorating with clocks. So here goes. Clocks with their rhythmic ticking and swinging pendulums bring a certain universal character to a room in a way that is uniquely their own. Here’s why: rhythm is perhaps the most basic pattern in all of nature. And because the inner workings and outward movements and sounds of a clock are all based on rhythm, having a clock in a room can remind you of and connect you with that universal rhythm of nature.  How’s that for bringing some ambiance to a room?

There certainly are many more ways clocks can be used  than what’s discussed in this article.

Have you any ideas to add?  Please tell us about them!

 

Photo Credits:

Photo #1 –  Hermle Porcelain Mantel Clock with Flowers

Photo #2 – Hermle Mahogany Mantel Clock

Photo #3 – Four Clocks Over Fireplace -Pinterest.com

Photo #4- Clock Gallery On Brick Wall – mastenonline.blogspot.com

Photo #5 –Time Zone Gallery – houseofchicandpenoche.blogspot.ca

Photo # 6 – Dining Room – placesinthehome.com

Photo # 7 – Hermle Wall Clock with Oranges

Photo #8 – Hermle Wrought Iron Wall Clock

Photo #9 – Rombach and Haas Wall Clock with Rock Weight

Photo #10 – Mantel Clock Next To Books – raisingmightyarrows.net

Photo #11 – Large Wall Clock Over Fireplace – traditionalhome.com

3 Photos – Grandfather Clocks – traditional home.com

2 Photos – Garden Clocks – gardenornamentsdirect.com

Last Photo – Anton Schneider Cuckoo Clock

 

Clocks For Christmas – Your Timely Holiday Shopping Guide

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Clocks can make wonderful Christmas gifts for your family. In addition to their charming aesthetics and captivating movement, clocks can also represent the timelessness of family bonds.

If you’re looking for a gift that’s just right for Christmas, consider one of the following timepieces, selected to fit the personalities of your family.

For Mom or Grandma

blog-Hub-Her#2-1313Trying to find the perfect gift for the mothers and grandmothers in our lives takes special attention. Blog-Romba#2-ChristmasWe’ve selected two beautiful German clocks:  a Huber Herr (left) and a Rombach and Haas (right) that may be just right. Both clocks are in a hand painted chalet style that will help define any room they adorn.

 

For Dad

Anton-Schneider-Cuckoo-Clock-8TMT 2653-9Dad will love opening this traditionally styled Anton Schneider cuckoo clock on Christmas day. With scenes inspired by the German wilderness including hand-carved wooden bears and pine trees, this clock will add personality to dad’s office or study.

 

For GrampaBLOG-#2Amhurst-01153-I91161

BLOG-Hermle-Grandfather-01208_N91152_289x433It may seem too obvious, but we couldn’t resist suggesting a grandfather clock for grampa. And why not? A grandfather clock is traditional, powerful and a symbol of respect. Just like your grampa! This particular piece by Hermle is a dark cherry with many decorative flourishes. This clock will quickly become something your grandfather can be proud of.

 

For Daughters, Granddaughters & Nieces

BLOG-EngstlerThis brightly colored German clock by Engstler will be a delight to open on Christmas day! Featuring a swinging girl, and a friendly cuckoo call every hour, this clock will make a great Christmas gift for your daughter, granddaughter or niece.

 

For Sons, Grandsons & Nephews

BLOG-other-EngstlerThis Engstler carved cuckoo clock is a fun and affordable gift for your son, grandson or nephew this Christmas. With the movement and charm expected from a German cuckoo, the overall design remains muted and earthy. A great addition to a boy’s bedroom.

 

We hope this guide will help you select the perfect Christmas gifts for your loved ones. You can also view more timepieces on our website.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

BLOG-#2wreath-frontgate-firstone

Photo Credit/ Wreath: www.frontgate.com

The Long-Lived Cuckoo

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BLOG#2-rh8264webbig_289x433Three centuries is a long time, long enough for things to come in and out of style many times over. But if I were to tell you that there’s a unique product, that after three centuries is still going strong, could you guess what that was? If you know your clock history then you may know that it’s none other than the beloved Black Forest cuckoo clock. What’s the reason for its continual popularity?  It’s a combination of things: whimsical charm, kinetic experience and a relationship that can start from the very first day you bring the cuckoo into your home.

But there is one more reason: it’s the German clock making tradition of the Black Forest. For generations cuckoo clocks have been made by craftsmen of that region with a consistent high level of workmanship. These clock smiths are masters at what they do and they love their craft. The passion they put into their work shows in the long lived quality of their clocks and in the abundant variety of their designs.BLOG#2-Modern-Cuckoo-rhbb1111 In recent years a lot more choices in decorative styles have emerged, but the cuckoo clock has traveled through time in mostly an unchanged state. It’s anchored in tradition and keeps going strong.

To preserve this tradition of clock making the Black Forest Clock Association was founded in 2006. After I viewed their video (below), being an artist and technician myself,  I had so much more appreciation for the works of these craftsmen. This “bird’s eye” video tour takes you right into the heart of Black Forest cuckoo clock factories and workshops of Rombach & Haas and Christophe. There are lots of great closeup shots. You’ll see movements and clock cases being assembled, jig saws cutting templates, wood carvers carving their designs, painting, staining, varnishing and the making of pipes, clock dials and figurines.

So take the tour. I hope you enjoy it! Also, you can click here to find out about The Clock Route Of The Black Forest.

 

Photo and Video Credits:

Photo #1 – Rombach and Haas Filigree Cuckoo Clock

Photo #2 – Rombach and Haas Bamboo Cuckoo Clock

Video – Black Forest Clock Association