Why Doesn’t My Cuckoo Bird Cuckoo?


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.

Clocks For Christmas – Your Timely Holiday Shopping Guide


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!


Photo Credit/ Wreath: www.frontgate.com

The Long-Lived Cuckoo


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


The Clock Peddlers


Anton-Shneider-2-clock-peddler I can remember the mid 60′s in New York City…

when door to door peddlers still made their rounds. I didn’t know then that I’d be writing this now with a nostalgic feeling for the simplicity and warmth those peddlers brought to our lives. At that time their numbers were dwindling, but they hadn’t yet disappeared completely. A well-rounded variety of them still came around selling brushes, soap, encyclopedias, vacuum cleaners and other household items that we all needed. One kind of peddler that I know I’d remember would be a clock peddler. But I never saw one. If I had lived in the Black Forest region of mid-nineteenth century Germany, I would have.

If you roll history back far enough, there was a time when clock peddlers sported their goods through hills, forests and countryside, and that happened on their regular routes through the region. On foot they carried all sorts of clocks tied with rope to large backpacks. These hardy entrepreneurs of old were called “Ührschleppers” in German.

Here’s where it gets really interesting…

There is a fable* told by Father Franz Steyrer in his book, “History of Clock Making in the Black Forest,” written in 1796. It was about two peddlers from a town called Furtwangen in the Black Forest of Germany who met a traveling Bohemian clock merchant. BLOG-Kleiser_ClockThe peddlers were so enthused that they purchased one, brought it home, and made copies, then showed them to other clock merchants. The clock caught on in the region and more and more clock makers started to build them. It turned out to be a seasonal business: during the long harsh winters the artisans crafted the clocks, and then in the spring went about the countrysides and beyond to far away places selling the cuckoos. The fable has it that those clock peddlers played an important role in launching the popularity of Black Forest clocks. Today, the image of the clock peddler is a prominent symbol of the Black Forest clock industry.



In modern times we no longer have…

any clock peddlers.  But if I get nostalgic, I can always look at the clock peddlers preserved as wood carved figurines on some of our beloved cuckoo clocks. On the left is a sample of one. 


In case you’re curious about the below photograph…

it’s a rare (yes, it’s worth thousands) and very collectible table clock, a Black Forest clock peddler timepiece from 1850 to 1860. Peddler2-Justin-685x1024The small clock he’s holding is a working clock with a porcelain dial. The figure is made of formed sheet tin and is hand painted. Don’t you just love the peddler’s old-world attire?

One last thought…

Although I’ve never been eyewitness to a real live door to door clock peddler standing at my threshold, if by some chance you’ve ever had a visit from one, we’d like to hear from you. Please leave a comment and let us know the details.


1. Schneider Cuckoo Clocks

2. German clock shop street sign

3.  North Coast Imports

4. BlackForestClocks.org