Left, early (1987-2006) & right, modern (post 2006) VDS seals on clocks originating from a manufacturer in the Black Forest Region registered with the syndicate. In 1987 a syndicate was set up to protect traditional mechanical cuckoo clock making in the Black Forest region.
The "Verein die Schwarzwalduhr" (VDS) issues authenticity certification (echtheitszertifikat) to members of the association.
” Most people do not collect antique clocks per se, but end up with one or two clocks that were handed down from family members.
Some people will see a clock at an antique store that would look good in a certain room of their house, and end up with it that way.
On the hour, every hour, a door on the clock opens and a figurine pops out as a "cuckoo" sound is made.
This noise is produced by wind rushing through two pipes, each creating a different syllable.
Musical clocks include a melody after the "cuckoos" and feature a third weight (non-musical clocks only have two).
Some musical variations feature dancers or other figurines that spin to the melody.
Even German cuckoo clock manufacturers registered with VDS certification also produce battery powered quartz movement cuckoo clocks.
Since then, the Black Forest has been synonymous with cuckoo clocks. The weights, which usually hang below the clock, are often made to appear as part of the design—they are frequently shaped like pinecones, for example.
Some antique cuckoo clocks need to be wound daily; others can go eight days between windings.
One "cuckoo" is made for each hour that has passed (one call at one o’clock, two calls at two o’clock, etc.).
There are actually two distinct types of cuckoo clocks, musical and non-musical.
” The best place to start is always with the manufacturer.
If the clock origin cannot be determined, then a local clock repairman is often your best bet.
I have concentrated on the American clock companies for my collection, so there is much for me to learn about clocks from outside the US.
The question I get most from the comment form on this web site is: “What can you tell me about this clock?
Feel free to ask your cuckoo questions on any page of the site.
If you need to show a picture, you can post to our Facebook page or find me on Twitter @German Cuckoo.