Everyone is familiar with the mechanical animation and joyful song of a cuckoo clock as it strikes the hour (or half hour depending on the movement). The intricately carved, complex timepieces have become somewhat synonymous with Germany, and many visitors to the country take home a cuckoo clock as a cultural souvenir of their trip.
But what is the story of the cuckoo clock?
While the exact origins of the cuckoo clock remain largely unclear, one factor of their history that is universally agreed upon is that their early production quickly became rooted in Germany’s Black Forest. It’s thought that the general idea of using an automated cuckoo bird to announce the passage of time may not have come from the Black Forest itself, but it was there that the cuckoo clock was developed and crafted into the art form that it is today.
The forest, located in the southwest of Germany, became home to several clockmakers workshops from as early as the middle of the 18th Century. The Black Forest has also produced one of the finest and most renowned clock making families. The Herr family.
The Herr Legacy
The story of the Herr family’s involvement with clock making can be traced back to brothers Andreas and Christian, who made cuckoo clocks out of their farmhouse in the Triberg area at the beginning of the 19th century.
Two generations later came Hubert Herr. Hubert bought additional land in Triberg and upscaled the workshop. Hubert Herr was a master craftsman, and his intricate, beautiful designs and precise movements cemented the Herr family as a world-renowned producer of quality cuckoo clocks.
Antique Hubert Herr cuckoo clocks are extremely sought after, and can be sold for thousands of dollars! It’s difficult to know exactly what kind of clock you may have on your hands however, so professional appraisal is always recommended.
Hubert’s workshop is still used by the Hubert Herr Clock Company to this day and is run by the fifth generation of the clock making family. They continue to produce fine, hand-made cuckoo clocks and now export their clocks to over 60 countries across the world.
Characteristics of a Hubert Herr Clock
All of the cuckoo clocks made by the Hubert Herr Clock Company share the following characteristics.
- Only manufacturer of Black Forest cuckoo clocks to make the carvings and casings of their clocks on the premises
- Guaranteed to be hand carved from linden and pine from the forest
- Traditional weight driven movements
- Beautifully designed