What Are Antique German Wall Clocks?


Quick Answer

Cuckoo clocks are the best-known, antique German wall clocks. These clocks originated in the Black Forest of Germany in 1730 when Franz Anton Ketterer constructed the first ever cuckoo clock.

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Cuckoo clocks are famous for the high-pitched noise that rings out every hour on the hour. The noise is accompanied by a figurine, which pops out of a door at the front of the clock. The noise is created when wind moves through pipes housed inside the clock. Cuckoo clocks are finely honed mechanisms. They have weight-driven movements, and these weights are often disguised, so they look like design elements rather than utilitarian elements.

Cuckoo clocks are often constructed as little houses. This trend began in the 1850s when Friedrich Eisenlohr, an architect, created a clock in the shape of a tiny building. Other noted cuckoo clock makers from this time period include Helmut Kammerer, Gordian Hettich and Hubert Herr. The clocks were made to exacting standards, and the tradition has continued: the Lime wood used to construct the clocks is hand-cut and engraved by hand to this day.

German wall clocks became less whimsical in the 1950s when renowned German watch manufacturer Junghans Uhren GmbH partnered with Swiss architect Max Bill on wall clocks. These clocks were noted for their clean, deceptively simple designs and can today be found in museums across the world.

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