It is unknown who invented it and where the first one was made. It is thought that much of its development and evolution was made in the Black Forest area in southwestern Germany (State of Baden-Württemberg), the region where the cuckoo clock was popularized. The cuckoo clocks were exported to the rest of the world from the mid 1850s on. Today, the cuckoo clock is one of the favorite souvenirs of travelers in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. It has become a cultural icon of Germany.
The cuckoo clock should always originate from the Black Forest, but it can be beneficial to buy from a cuckoo expert located in your home country. If there is ever a warranty issue or repair necessary, shipping the clock to Germany may not be ideal.
The cuckoo noise is created when a pair of bellows are pumped as the cuckoo bird pops out. If those bellows are bigger or smaller they will produce a varying cuckoo sound. Bigger bellows will make deeper call and smaller bellows a higher call. Different clocks also have different actions. Sometimes the cuckoo is very fast, sometimes slower. Hand carved means infinite variety.
If the clock is very old or a rare style, it can be worth quite a bit. This would need to be determined by a reputable antique dealer, preferably one who specializes in clocks. Something to consider though – unless it is a rare style, newer clocks are generally worth more than older ones. The reason, is that although the clock is still hand carved with the old world methods, the interior improves as clock technology improves. A new clock will often have a more precise mechanism than an old cuckoo clock. For most people, the greatest value is handing the clock down and keeping it in the family for generations.
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